Trevor Zegras ‘not sure’ what he said to Troy Stecher in ‘standard trash talk’

Bruno Cooke

On Twitter and Reddit, NHL fans have been watching and re-watching footage of the exchange between Trevor Zegras and Troy Stecher that took place during the second period of the Arizona Coyotes’ Sunday night game against the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks ultimately triumphed, with Zegras scoring the game-winning goal in what the Orange County Register described as a “wild back-and-forth overtime.”

“It was great,” said Zegras after the game. “That’s how overtimes should be played.”

But it’s what he said before the game had concluded that has got so many netizens playing lipreader. Here’s what we know about the whole Trevor Zegras, Troy Stecher debacle.

Anaheim Ducks v Arizona Coyotes
Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images

Trevor Zegras responds to questions about what he said to Troy Stecher

Zegras said after the game that he was “not sure” what he said to Trevor Stecher that provoked his ire.

“It was pretty standard trash talk,” he said, however. “If he” – meaning Stecher – “wants to act like that, it’s totally fine.”

He received a 10-minute misconduct, but not for the remarks. Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins was similarly dismissive of the comments’ gravitas.

“Have at it,” he said, according to the OC Register. “This is a game, if you can throw the other team off-kilter, throw them off. I said it to Newell Brown on the bench” – Brown is the Ducks’ assistant coach – “he is right in their head.” He meant Zegras. “They’re all messed up and they’re going to be even madder when he scores the winner.”

Journalist ‘confirms’ that what Trevor Zegras said had nothing to do with Troy Stecher’s late father

Arizona Coyotes and NHL journalist Craig Morgan, who writes for The Athletic, tweeted after the game that he “can confirm” via the Coyotes that Trevor Zegras “did not say anything about Troy Stecher’s father.”

Citing a “team source,” he adds, Zegras reportedly “crossed the line with ‘some very inappropriate comments.’”

Stecher, meanwhile, declined to comment on the topic.

Morgan’s Muck Rack profile identifies him as the owner of AZ Coyotes Insider, a digital newsletter that claims to offer the “most complete, independent coverage of Arizona Coyotes.”

What happened to Troy Stecher’s father?

Troy’s father Peter died “suddenly,” per Sports Net, on June 21, 2020 at the age of 65. The outlet cites “complications of diabetes” as his cause of death.

He raised his three children in Richmond, British Columbia before settling in Surrey. Troy described his father’s passing as the “darkest nightmare you could ever imagine.”

“He was my first coach and my favourite coach,” Sports Net quotes Stecher as saying. Not only that, he was his “best friend.”

“My dad was always hard on me as a player. He wasn’t an a*****e or anything, but my dad expected me to work hard and he wasn’t going to sugar-coat anything. He was going to tell me the way it was, and I’m thankful for that.”

Anaheim Ducks v Buffalo Sabres
Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Critics slam ‘wannabe lip-reading experts’

After Troy Stecher became angry at Trevor Zegras, some social media users on Twitter, Reddit and elsewhere took it upon themselves to try to make out exactly what words Zegras said.

Some speculated that Zegras had said something about Stecher’s father. Others disagreed. The rumors – or theories – made headlines. Craig Morgan did his best to put them to bed, saying that while the comments were “very inappropriate,” they didn’t have anything to do with Troy’s father.

On Reddit, users called for a “lip reading expert” to investigate. And on Twitter, someone observing the social media furore wrote that it would be “very awkward” if it turned out (as it appears to have done) that Troy Zegras didn’t actually say anything about Troy Stecher’s father.

They said to do so seemed “very random,” and added that it would be strange for Stecher to have to defend Zegras (against such theories) and talk to the media about his recently deceased father “all because NHL Twitter is full of wannabe lip-reading experts.”