Aleksander Barkov talks about starting season in first year of his Panthers captaincy

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Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov shares his thoughts on starting a new season.

REPORTER: We talked about it last week. But here we are getting ready for game one. How does it feel to have everything ready to go here and to be getting ready for a new season?

ALEKSANDER BARKOV: It's great. It's finally here. And the last couple days, we will just practice and get ready and get our team together and chemistry together. I know we already have great chemistry. But still, get it even better and just ready to play.

REPORTER: So many of you guys do know each other well. A lot of you guys were part of that big second half run last year. Do you feel like that really helped not only the motivation but the chemistry? Like you said, it doesn't seem like it's going to take much to get that going.

REPORTER: Yeah. Even for the new guys, it's easier to come in because you have a really good group of guys here. Everybody likes each other and likes to be here. So it's easy for the new guys to come here and just join the team and be around these guys.

It's awesome. I think everybody's excited.

REPORTER: You saw a pretty heavy dose of the Tampa Bay Lightning there over the last week or so. Anything that you picked up that you guys can use in this game coming up on Saturday?

ALEKSANDER BARKOV: Yeah, of course. I think they did, too. And we did, too. We played three games against them, and we all know what it takes to win.

It's going to be a tough game. And of course it's always nice to battle against Tampa. They're the closest team to us, so it's kind of a rivalry.

REPORTER: [INAUDIBLE] You got to see him play. What do you think he needs to work on as a young guy trying to make it in the NHL?

ALEKSANDER BARKOV: Probably just play against men. He's always been playing against juniors in Finland and in college. And right now, he's playing against men. So I think it will help him. I think overall he's ready.

REPORTER: I know you were playing in Liiga before you came over. How tough was that first season at 18 to go and play against the NHL and grown men? How much of an adjustment?

ALEKSANDER BARKOV: Yeah, it was tough. The game is faster and everybody is stronger. And the rink is smaller.

So you have to do everything fast and quick. When you go on the ice, you don't have time to think. And right now, it's even faster. So everything has to happen faster

It's tough. But once you get to know what it takes, it's not easy. But it gets easier.