Islanders head coach Barry Trotz watches the third period of...

Islanders head coach Barry Trotz watches the third period of a game against the Sabres on Monday in Buffalo N.Y. Credit: AP/Jeffrey T. Barnes

The singular focus for Barry Trotz is Thursday night’s game against the Blackhawks at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders coach’s resume is certainly in Hall of Fame company but that’s not something the unassuming Trotz has ever considered

“Me?” Trotz told Newsday. “Oh, no. No. No. I just keep trying to win a game. That’s why it feels awkward a lot of times when you’re passing some of these legendary guys. I’ve had longevity in the game but, no. I just think about the day to day stuff. I just grind it out.”

The Islanders did not practice on Tuesday, a day after Trotz, 56, in his 20th season as an NHL coach and first with the Islanders, earned his 783rd victory with a 3-1 win at Buffalo, moving him into sole possession of fourth place on the league’s all-time list. That’s one ahead of Islanders’ Hall of Famer Al Arbour.

Scotty Bowman, the all-time wins leader with 1,244 is a Hall of Famer. No. 2 Joel Quenneville (890) and No. 3 Ken Hitchcock (832) seem Hall of Fame bound as well.

Trotz strengthened his candidacy for the builders’ category by leading the Capitals to the Stanley Cup in June. His work guiding the Predators from their expansion infancy — literally helping to instruct the Nashville fans on the rules of the game  — into one of the NHL’s stronger franchises can’t be overlooked, either.

He’s less than half a season into his Islanders’ tenure and already the team, which allowed an NHL-worst 293 goals last season, while missing the playoffs the past two seasons and winning only one series since 1993, has allowed the fewest goals in the league (102). The Islanders (21-13-4) have won seven of eight by an aggregate 28-14 They are a point out of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.

“I started coaching because I always loved the game but I wasn’t good enough as a player,” Trotz said. “I’ve enjoyed the highs. No one enjoys the lows. But the thing I like about the game is you have an opportunity. If it’s not going good, you have an opportunity to make it better. I like the adrenaline and then, after the games, you get an adrenaline crash.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” Trotz added. “I’ve had people believe in what I bring to the table. I’ve worked for good organizations, all three of them. I’ve worked for good people as general managers. I just try to be myself as much as possible. I don’t deviate a whole lot. I am who I am. If you like me, you like me. If you don’t, sorry. I just enjoy what I do and it never seems like a job.”

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