Barry Trotz doesn’t want to miss anything.
So as the Islanders patiently await their next playoff series, the coach is spending plenty of time — “hours” — watching his team’s potential opponents, the Capitals and Hurricanes, face each other in the first round. He’s watching the games live on television before delving deeper into the video breakdowns.
The Islanders, off for a second straight day on Thursday after completing a four-game sweep of the Penguins with a 3-1 win on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, will resume practicing on Friday in East Meadow.
“As coaches, we’re doing the practice planning because we know there will be probably four, five practices, potentially,” Trotz said on Thursday at Northwell Health Ice Center. “We’re making sure we’re doing our prep work and we’re making sure we get the right combination of practice, rhythm, rest ratio all balanced for scenario one or scenario two.”
The Washington-Carolina series is tied 2-2 after the Hurricanes’ 2-1 victory on Thursday night. Trotz led the Capitals to the Stanley Cup last season and obviously is more familiar with them than the Hurricanes.
“I’m weighted right now to watching Carolina a little bit more because I just don’t know them quite as well,” Trotz said. “I’m preparing for both. It’s double the work, but I think it’s actually a good exercise. It keeps you sharp on both sides.
“The prep work for an opponent in the playoffs, we spend a lot of hours on it,” he added. “As coaches, you don’t want to miss anything. You want any little edge.”
When Trotz watches the Capitals-Hurricanes on television, he jots down notes about which segments he wants his video coordinators to concentrate on, but he said he doesn’t go back and review plays during the broadcast.
“You look at it from 20,000 feet and then you dive into it and break down every segment of it,” he said. “Sometimes you see trends, you see them from 20,000 feet, and sometimes you see them from a specific incidence in the game, be it a faceoff or regroups.”
The Capitals-Hurricanes series could end as soon as Monday or extend until Wednesday. The Islanders likely wouldn’t resume playing until April 26 if that series goes to Game 7. But Trotz is not concerned about their resolve, even if rust might be an issue.
He said the Islanders certainly showed resiliency in sweeping the Penguins.
“What I liked is we didn’t get small in the moment,” Trotz said. “We didn’t get emotionally pushed one way or the other. We stayed very composed. They scored first, it didn’t bother us. They had power plays or calls we didn’t agree with, we didn’t go off the rails.
“I think it’s developed over the year,” Trotz added. “Early in the year, there were times we’d be playing well and the other team would get a goal or they’d get a call and get a power-play goal and our bench would lose focus for eight or 10 minutes. And you’re like, ‘What just happened? They just scored. We’re not playing bad. Stuff happens.’ ”
Trotz said he also paid attention to how the Islanders celebrated their Game 4 win and added that the businesslike manner in which the players did it said a lot.
“I think they’ve been pretty focused and businesslike all year,” Trotz said. “That’s what I took out of it. They didn’t climb the mountain, so they’re not acting like they climbed the mountain. They know the next task will get harder and harder.”
For now, the next task is just practicing. And waiting.