Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck participated in his first NHL All-Star Game on Sunday. Trocheck, 23, scored a goal and had three assists in the Atlantic Division's 10-6 loss to the Metropolitan Division in the semifinal. In his third entry from Los Angeles, Trocheck talks about the 2017 Honda NHL All-Star Game, growing up in Pittsburgh as a Mario Lemieux fan, and what a 2-on-0 looks like when nobody wants to score.
LOS ANGELES -- I was a lot less nervous today than I was yesterday, I think. I think I was a little bit settled in. Yesterday there was a lot more pressure -- when it's just you and everybody's watching you do one thing. Today was a little bit easier, I had some pretty good linemates to make it a little bit easier on me.
You rarely see me taking one-timers in a game. I'm not that guy. I enjoyed doing the Fastest Skater because I think that's one of my strengths, so that was fun for me, but a lot of that stuff -- that Four Line Challenge -- you never see guys shooting from the far blue line in a game into the corners. It's just fun for the fans; it's fun for us to make fun of each other for messing up.
Video: Vincent Trocheck discusses his experience at 2017 ASG
Today, it was just, go out there and play, the same way you do every time you're on the ice. Play hockey instead of goofing around.
The opening ceremony was a blast. It was awesome to see all those guys out on the ice with us, be able to shake their hands. I was lucky enough that I picked up Lemieux's puck when they did they puck drop. I was able to pick up Mario's and Chris Pronger's, two guys that I idolized growing up. Mario - being from Pittsburgh - is even a little bit more special.
My agency is the same agency he had when he was in the League, so I've been able to meet him a few times. He's the most humble, down-to-earth guy you'd ever meet. It's awesome to see guys like that who were so incredible on the ice be good people off the ice. To be able to meet him after watching him growing up, it's always a pleasure.
The game was fun. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov and defenseman Victor Hedman, my linemates, are both really skilled guys, so any time you get to play with guys as good as them, it makes it a little bit easier on me. I know them a little bit better than some others just because I play them so many times being cross-state rivals, so I guess we had a little bit of chemistry and obviously they have chemistry since they play on the same time.
Playing in an All-Star Game, you get to learn a lot about the guys off the ice, not too much about them on the ice. Obviously you play against so many guys in the League and you hate all of them just because you're competing against them, but then you meet them off the ice and all these guys are great guys, very easy to get along with. Makes it a little bit harder to hate them whenever you play them.
Video: MET@ATL: Trocheck one-times home Kucherov's nice dish
I had to get one point today. That was my goal. Just to get one, make sure you don't embarrass yourself and be minus-50 -- obviously there's a lot of goals scored in these games. I'd never been here before, so I didn't have too many expectations. It was just go out there and have fun. I did. I had a lot of fun.
I think I had like three 2-on-0s in the game. I was just trying to get away from 2-on-0s. Any time there was a 2-on-0, I wanted to turn back. The goalies are too good at them now. I would much rather have had a 2-on-1 or 1-on-0 rather than a 2-on-0. Nobody wants to shoot in these games. Everybody wants to just keep passing, so you make six passes and by the time you know it, you're behind the net.
I didn't even look at the net. I think I was just looking at Kucherov. Every time he gave it to me, I was giving it right back.
It was an honor to be here. Any time I can get back here -- I'd love to be here every year, obviously. I tried to take it all in because you never know, it could be my first and last. I was just glad I was able to have some fun with it and have family here to enjoy it with me.
Video: MET@ATL: Kucherov finishes give-and-go with Trocheck