Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck is participating in his first NHL All-Star Game on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports, NHL.TV). Trocheck, 23, has 18 goals and 16 assists in 50 games this season. In his second entry from Los Angeles, Trocheck talks about the 2017 Coors Light NHL All-Star Skills Competition and what it's like to have all eyes on him.
The Skills Competition was a blast. I had a lot of fun. I was just kind of being a spectator out there, a fan of everybody going. I had a lot of fun and I was able to go in a couple of events. I didn't fall or embarrass myself, so everything went all right.
That was the main goal for me: Don't fall.
I had some nerves. I was shaking a little bit going out there the first one I had, the one-timers in the Skills Challenge Relay. I didn't know if I was going to be able to hit the net. Ryan Suter made it a little bit easier on me whenever he didn't hit any of them. I was thinking, all right, I can't be too bad. I was able to do all right. I had fun.
It's the Skills Competition in the All-Star Game, so it's not too much pressure, but at the same time you don't want to be that guy that messes up or falls and is on the "Not Top 10" on ESPN for the next two weeks or anything like that.
It's different forming a team here. Usually coming to these type of things you've played with or against some guys in different tournaments. In this locker room I really haven't played with too many guys. I played with Auston Matthews at the World Cup, but other than that it's been only playing against these guys, so it was a little bit different coming in, but all the guys are really good guys so they've made it easy.
Video: Post-Skills Competition Interview: Vincent Trocheck
If I had to say there was any All-Star I'd like to meet, I would say Sidney Crosby. But I've met Sid in Pittsburgh a few times and over the summer and I've talked to him. He's a great guy, easy to talk to. Very approachable. Everybody in here is a great guy. We all have something in common. We're all out there having fun. We're all in the same situation: Everybody's just trying to go out there and have some fun with it. Hockey's a great sport to have that sort of connection with everybody. There's no jerks. So they make it easy to hang out and have fun.
I was being a fan the whole time. I think the most fun event is the accuracy one. That one's fun to watch just to see some stuff explode. But fastest skater, obviously, Connor McDavid, I figured he would break the record this year, so he was fun to watch.
Nobody in here is practicing any of these events. We just got told the day before we're doing it, so it's just jump in there and go. All this stuff, we know what we're doing. Pretty much everything except that Four Line Challenge we do on a regular basis, so we're pretty used to it. On that event, I figured Mike Smith was the one goalie who could make the shot. He's done it before, so I knew they would go and make that goalie switch out for him and that was pretty cool. I don't think I could have hit the net from there.
For the game tomorrow, there's been no strategy talk yet. But I'm sure we'll have a little game plan tomorrow. I'm going to make sure that we have some fun and maybe we can win the thing.