For Vincent Trocheck, the timing of the NHL’s pause amid the COVID-19 pandemic came at an awkward time.
Following a trade to the Canes from the Panthers, the center played just seven games before the league shut down. But now, coming off four months off and four days into a training camp to get to know his teammates better, he’s ready to get back at it. Here’s a full breakdown of Trocheck’s media Zoom call Thursday:
On if having a training camp feels more normal with a new team: I wouldn’t say that any of this feels normal, but I’ve had some time to get to know all the guys a little bit over this three, four-month period of just kind of hanging out. I’ve been in Raleigh the whole time. There’s been a few guys that have been here that I’ve been able to get to know a little bit better. It’s helped me ease into this a little bit better.
On what he’s noticed with camp: I think the first day, it kind of seemed like everybody was picking up where we left off. There wasn’t a whole lot of rust going on. I think the only part that took a little bit of getting used to was just going through the drills again and the timing of getting that down. But all in all, I think everybody looked like they were ready to go right from the jump.
On how weird it is to practice two weeks without games: It’s definitely different, but I think when you take four months off it’s pretty necessary just getting back into the rhythm of things and getting your lungs into you, your legs under you. You definitely need it, but I think we’ve been waiting around and wanting to play games for awhile now. So we’re all pretty anxious.
On preparing for something this unusual: It’s pretty simple. Everybody wants to win the Stanley Cup. I think Roddy made the analogy that if you were given 10 chances to win the Stanley Cup and of those 10 chances, somebody just took one away from you and you didn’t get a chance, you’d be pretty upset. I think that’s pretty spot-on. If we weren’t able to have the chance to win the Stanley Cup this year, that’s one less chance we get in our careers. I know I’ve been itching at the bit to get going here and I know all the guys in here really want to win the Stanley Cup, so that’s what we’re fighting for.
On a weird situation having the pandemic hit right after the trade: It’s obviously weird. I played seven games and then the league got suspended. I’ve just kind of been hanging out in Raleigh in a new city, not much to do since everything’s been shut down for the majority of the time here. So it’s been different, but at the same time, it’s been good. We’ve been able to get to know the city a little bit.
My family’s gotten acclimated here. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the guys more than I would have if it was just the end of the season going right into the playoffs. From that standpoint, I think that’s benefitted me. It’s being able to get healthy, being able to take some time off and not have any wear and tear on the body, get 100% healthy. I think all of that plays into a strength for some of us.
On everyone being healthy: I definitely think they could be. Like you said, we’re able to get back to 100% healthy as a squad, and the majority of teams have been able to. Four months off, right before the playoffs, everybody’s at 100% health individually, ready to go, just anxious to play. It’s been a full summer to get ready to play another playoffs. I think everybody’s ready to go, and I think it could be one of the best playoffs we see.
On the Rangers: They’re a good, young team. They have a lot of skill, they play fast. They’ve got great goaltending. It’s going to be a tough team, but I think the way we match up against them, we match up well. I know whatever happened in the regular season is behind us now. The playoffs are a completely different story. I like our chances, I like the team we have, I think we match up really well against them. I know we’re built for the playoffs.
On getting acclimated over his first seven games: I think this time off has actually helped me more than the time that I played, just being able to watch the video and learn the systems a little better. I think that’s kind of helped me the last few months to get more acclimated with a team’s style of play. The first seven games, obviously, coming from another team, you’re going to have a little bit of confusion, different systems, different styles of play. So it definitely took a little bit of adjusting, but I think now I’m 100% acclimated.
On doing homework ahead of the restart: I definitely didn’t do a whole four months. Right when this all started, nobody expected it to take that long. So we were just kind of waiting around, ready to get back on the ice, and then obviously everything got shut down and it was a little bit prolonged. So I decided to just get a little homework and try to figure some things out. I knew I was a little confused in the first seven games, so it couldn’t hurt to get a little bit more acclimated.