While no one knows exactly when the NHL will resume play, Aleksander Barkov has an idea for how he'd like things to go when the puck finally does drop and things start to get back to normal.
Speaking on a conference call with fellow captains from around the Atlantic Division on Monday, the Florida Panthers superstar center said he'd like to "play as many games as possible" before any potential playoff series begin, with his preference being to hold a sort of larger tournament.
After all, at the time of the pause, the Panthers were looking like a team on the rise. Following a 2-1 win at St. Louis on March 9, they'd climbed to within three points of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand and 13 left to play on their schedule.
That being said, the humble Finn is glad no one is looking to him for solutions.
"Thank God I don't have to decide anything," Barkov said, sounding relieved.
So while others continue to ponder the bigger questions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Barkov has actually been spending his days much like the rest of us. Settled in with his mother at his home in Boca Raton, he's not only been keeping a low profile, but also keeping in shape.
"I have a little gym at my house," said Barkov, who had posted 62 points (20 goals, 42 assists) in 66 games before the NHL's regular season was put on hold. "It helps a lot. Obviously there's really good weather here so you can go outside and run. But I've stopped playing tennis since we have to be home all the time. I've been doing something almost every day. It helps a lot."
Video: Atlantic Division stars discuss NHL Pause
Barkov has also been spending some time working on his shot.
In a video posted to Instagram back on March 20, he could be seen going top-shelf with a roll of toiler paper on a shooter tutor in his garage as part of a recent challenge on social media. When asked who he envisioned as the goalie during the clip, Barkov took a moment before answering.
"Carey Price," he finally let slip.
Given that Barkov has 16 goals in 24 career games against Montreal, the pick make sense.
While he hasn't been able to hang out with any of his teammates or friends while observing social distancing, the 24-year-old has been keeping up with them through video games. And while you'd expect him to play NHL20, he said that Call of Duty is actually his game of choice.
"I'm not watching any [television]," he smiled. "I'm just playing video games."
Other than that, Barkov spent the remainder of the video conference going back and forth with the other three players that were on the call -- Buffalo's Jack Eichel, Montreal's Shea Weber and Tampa's Victor Hedman -- with the quartet of stars dishing on everything from music to hockey.
And although he professed how much he's been missing playing under the bright lights of BB&T Center before signing off, Barkov added that while everyone would love to be playing right now, there are much more important things going on in the world that need to be taken care of first.
"It's not best situation right now with all this happening in the world," Barkov said. "The main things is to get everybody healthy, as many guys as healthy as possible in the world. Then, when everything is fine, we'll get hockey back."