Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck is participating in his first All-Star Game (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 first entry from Los Angeles, Trocheck talks about traveling with some star power in teammate Jaromir Jagr, his game plan heading into the NHL Skills Challenge, and his big Italian family.
I got into LA around 3 or 4 o'clock, just been hanging out since. My whole family's here - they got here before I did, actually - and then we went to lunch and have been hanging out. All of the players are staying at the same hotel, so I've seen everybody lurking round the lobby. I've seen a few of the NHL 100 guys - I saw Mario Lemieux, I saw Wayne Gretzky, a few other guys. I came with [Jagr]. Everybody's just taking it all in.
I don't even know what to think. It's my first time being here, so I'm going into it with an open mind and just trying to have as much fun with it as I can.
I have my mom, dad, two sisters, uncles and aunts here, so I wanted to spend some time with them today because I haven't seen them for a while. When I was named to the All-Star team, I think they were more excited than I was. When I first found out and told them, they were giddy and instantly wanted to know all the information about how to get out here from Pittsburgh and tickets and everything like that.
I don't really know what to expect in the Skills Challenge. I just found out what I'm doing in the skills competition, so I thought about that for a little bit. Obviously I'm just trying to take it all in and make sure I'm having as much fun as I can. I really don't have a game plan. The two things I'm doing in the skills competition - one-timers in the NHL Skills Challenge Relay and the NHL Four Line Challenge - are not exactly things that I practice on a daily basis, so it'll just be fun to see what's going on. No practicing beforehand.
I really hadn't thought about making the All-Star Game at all. Most of the time whenever I'm setting goals for myself or for my team, it's all about thinking about winning the Stanley Cup or making it far into the playoffs. I didn't really think about going to the All-Star Game or making an individual accomplishment like that. I never thought about it. Even when I was told that I made the team, it was kind of a shock to me. I hadn't even thought about the possibility of going.
I'm going into it blind. Hopefully we can win a few things. It would be nice. Obviously we're hockey players, so we're still competitive and we want to win whatever we're doing, but I'm just trying to have as much fun as I can, take it all in.
Tonight, we have no plans, exactly. We're just going with the flow. I've got my whole big Italian family that are trying to take over the entire city right now, so I'm trying to make sure that nobody gets in trouble. It's very possible. There are 10 of them. Quite the entourage.