Rapid Fire: with Panthers center Aleksander Barkov

Aleksander Barkov talks about his first big purchase and interacting with fans in Finland.

What did you splurge on with your first NHL contract?

It was a car. A BMW 650 Gran Coupe. Grey. It’s fast. I like fast cars.

What was your “welcome to the NHL” moment?

On my first shift, when Jamie Benn ran over me. It didn’t hurt, but it was like…wow. He’s big, he hit me, I fell down, and I felt, “welcome to the NHL.”

What’s your strangest fan interaction?

There are a lot in Finland. A lot more there than here. There are so many young fans in Finland writing to me and Facebooking. Every day there’s something. I’ve heard a lot of crazy stuff from my friends. My friend told me once a fan said he’d jump off a cliff if I didn’t answer him. It’s pretty crazy.

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What’s the hardest thing about being in the NHL?

Sometimes when things don’t go well, you just think too much. Of course, you want to play well every game, but it doesn’t always happen, so you just need to forget that and be ready to play the next game.

What’s your favorite thing about being in the NHL?

Just being here and playing with those guys in this atmosphere. Of course, being in Florida, it’s a great team and we have great players. And just every minute, every second you spend with the team, you know you’re in the NHL and how you always dreamed about it, and you are here.

with Matt Larkin