Chatting with Henrik Lundqvist and Marc Staal at NHL All-Star Weekend

Hello from Raleigh, North Carolina Blueshirt Banter addicts! I am reporting live from 2011 NHL All-Star Weekend, where Rangers Henrik Lundqvist, Marc Staal and Derek Stepan participated in last night's SuperSkills Competition. I am on the trip as a member of the media, so I was fortunate enough to catch up with some of the Rangers on Saturday, and ask them a few questions that I know many of you have on your minds.

The first player I spoke to was goaltender Henrik Lundqvist on the red carpet before the Skills Competition. Here's what I asked followed by his responses....

Me: The Rangers are in playoff position as of right now. What are the team's goals moving forward into the final few months of the season?

Henrik Lundqvist: "We want to improve our game. The most important part will be the next two months, as that is going to decide whether we are satisfied with our season or not. We have a big couple of weeks ahead of us here, but I feel pretty strong about the team."

Me: Is the feeling in the [Ranger] locker room that you guys can go all the way, and that this could be the year?

Henrik Lundqvist: "Yeah, why not? The difference between the top team and the bottom team is not big anymore, it's more about consistency. I think we have a chance to do some damage in the playoffs, but we have to make it there first. I definitely think we can go all the way."

Lundqvist actually had to go against Ranger teammate Derek Stepan in the Elimination Shootout last night, and I asked him about that in the locker room afterwards...

"He almost had me there," the smirking Lundqvist said. "He knew I was down so I was in trouble. I managed to keep going and going and slide over to the post. Sort of got lucky there."

Also waited around for defenseman Marc Staal and got to ask him a few questions. The first was on playing with brother Eric for the first time today in the All-Star Game....

"It should be fun," said Marc. "I'm pretty excited about it. Obviously it's an All-Star Game, which is a little different than playing a regular game, but I've never played with him before so I am looking forward to it".

And lastly I asked him about the season he is having individually with New York....

"It's going well," said Staal. "Our team has started to play well, so that is always easier for individual success. I have a good partner in [Dan] Girardi and we've found success playing together, so it's been a lot of fun so far".

Hope you enjoyed what I had to share. For more live All-Star coverage, be sure to check out my stuff over on The Rangers Tribune.