CHICAGO — Barry Trotz wants Mathew Barzal to have fun and enjoy the time with his family as he participates in his first All-Star Game. But the Islanders coach also believes this will be a learning experience for the second-year center.
Barzal will be headed to San Jose for Friday’s skills competition and Saturday’s three-on-three play.
“The biggest thing for Mathew is the growth in terms of responsibility,” Trotz said before Tuesday night's 3-2 loss in a shootout to the Blackhawks. “Take note of the top, top players, how they interact not only with fans but with the other players and how prepared they are. Mathew has come a long way for. He wants to be the best.”
Trotz, who coached the Metropolitan Division squad in two of the previous three seasons, said his other advice was to book restaurants early and to make sure to “take care of the trainers.”
“I’m excited,” said Barzal, who scored his 14th goal Tuesday night. “I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Trotz had a hectic summer, between celebrating his Stanley Cup win with the Capitals and settling into his new job with the Islanders. So, he’s finally getting a chance to visit his parents over the NHL All-Star break.
“We’re going to go up to warm and balmy Dauphin, Manitoba,” said Trotz, adding some of his hometown buddies asked him to go ice fishing but he needs to buy a heavier jacket. “I think it was minus 35.”
Trotz would not specify whether rookie left wing Michael Dal Colle would be re-assigned to Bridgeport during the Islanders’ break through Jan. 31 to participate in Monday’s AHL All-Star Classic. “That would be a question for Lou (Lamoriello),” Trotz said. “We’ll do what’s best for the player, all the time. That’s priority No. 1. I’m sure we’ll have that discussion very shortly…” Defenseman Luca Sbisa and forwards Tom Kuhnhackl and Ross Johnston remained the healthy scratches.