Aleksander Barkov on what being Panthers’ captain means to him

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Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov chats with Randy Moller about what wearing the C means to him and how he views his career heading into his sixth NHL season.

- This is not a true pre-game show unless we get Randy on it. So Randy we were going to do whatever we could to make sure that you made an appearance. But you actually had a chance to talk to the new captain, Aleksander Barkov, earlier today, correct?

- Well good evening to you, Jessica. Yes, there was a lot of attention round number 16 for the Florida Panthers and Aleksander Barkov. Now this continues a trend around the NHL where a lot of teams are naming their best player, and usually their best young player, as the leader of this team. Earlier today I had a chance to catch up with Aleksander Barkov and ask him what it's like to be the Panthers' captain.


- Aleksander, 23 days ago Derek McKenzie presented you your new jersey. What does that C mean on your shoulder?

- I mean, it means a lot. It's probably the biggest honor ever had in my life. And to be a captain of this great organization that drafted me, and I've been here for five years. It's going to be my sixth season. And I don't want to be anywhere else but here, and we have a great group of guys, so it means a lot.

- Being so close to getting to the playoffs last year, what is the expectations? Where is this hockey club right now, going into the regular season?

- We're a really good team. We have a lot of talent in our locker room. We just need to take one more step. And where we're right there where we want to be, and we want to make playoffs, of course, this season. And that's our biggest goal. But it all starts tonight, and we just need to win the next game, and think about the next game. Don't look too forward.

- You mentioned this is your sixth year. It's hard to believe it's your sixth year in the National Hockey League. What has changed, in your mind, to the game in the National Hockey League?

- Probably the first years were like just to make the team, and not just look around, of course, try to play and win games. And it has been six years, but the couple first years I was opening my eyes to everything, and seeing different players, and different styles, and everything. But right now I just feel like us as a team, we have a job to do. We want to win something big. And I really feel like we can do it.

RANDY: Tonight it's going to be a loud building here in just a few hours. What's the expectations, and what's the most important thing that's on that blackboard for your team as a system tonight?

- Just play our game, and of course it's a road game. And we talk about it the whole training camp that we're not that good of a team on the road last season, and that probably cost us a playoff spot. And we just want to be a better team on the road, and it starts tonight. We want to play a smart game, don't do stupid things on the ice, play the right way, and just try to win the game.