Barry Trotz has no patience for suggestions an asterisk comes with this year’s Stanley Cup champion, provided the NHL is able to resume play through the completion of the playoffs.
“That’s total bull,” the Islanders coach said on Tuesday night as he participated in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League roundtable series, conducted via a Zoom teleconference.
“This is going to be the hardest one to win.”
Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock, still at his Winnipeg residence, also participated. He and Trotz both grew up in Dauphin, Manitoba.
The NHL paused its season on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic with 189 regular-season games remaining.
The NHL plans to open formal training camps on July 10 for the 24 teams eligible to win the Cup. The Islanders, seeded seventh in the Eastern Conference, will face the 10th-seeded Florida Panthers in a best-of-five qualifying series for the 16-team playoff, with games expected to start on July 30.
Trotz said training camp would last two weeks, then the Islanders would fly to their assigned hub city and play one or two exhibition games.
Las Vegas, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver, Chicago and Los Angeles are the remaining candidates to be picked as the two hub cities.
“I don’t know how it’s going to play out,” Trotz said. “I think it will be exciting once we get to play. I think there will be a lot of surprises. Just like the start of every season, a team is going to come out of the box great and a team is going to struggle out of the box. The teams that get to their identity, their game, will have the best chance. It will also be goaltending related.
“We’re going to try to get our team to worry about us,” Trotz added. “We’ll look at the Florida Panthers and we’ll have a plan. But we have to work on our foundational game.”