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Barkov's Mailbag: Shootouts, NHL 18 & More!

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop /

Throughout the entire 2017-18 season, Florida Panthers star center Aleksander "Sasha" Barkov will be answering all of your questions about life on and off the ice in his monthly mailbag for

Have a question you want answered? Tweet them using #BarkysBag!

@hanlugao: How did you feel after being named an alternate captain?

BARKOV: It's one of the biggest honors I've ever had in my life. I'm still 22, but it's definitely one of the biggest honors of my life. I'm really happy to wear an "A" for these guys. I feel like all players here are leaders.

@eyezofnight: Do you ever play as yourself in EA Sports NHL games?

BARKOV: No. Well, if I have to be honest, maybe a couple of times. I don't really like to play as myself. I'm not that good in that game. Of course everyone cares about their rating [in NHL 18]. When I was younger I would create myself as a 99 overall. Right now I'm 85. It's not nice to play with an 85.

@Jeffroko8: Besides NHL, what is the video game you play the most?

BARKOV: There's a couple. I like FIFA. I don't know if I like the "Call of Duty" games anymore because you can fly now on those jetpacks and it's not fun anymore. I like FIFA, NHL. I don't know if I'm going to bring any games on the road [this season] because we don't have any good players here besides me.

@AndrewLevine5: Who has the best nickname on the team?

BARKOV: "Bjugy" [for Nick Bjugstad]. It's not the funniest one, but I like it.

@TeemuViikeri: How did you get so good in shootouts?

BARKOV: I have fun. I watch a lot of highlights on YouTube of guys like Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk. I also watch some of my teammates like Radim Vrbata, Jonathan Huberdeau and Vincent Trocheck. I try to learn from those and then try to do them on the ice. There are some moves, like Pavel Barber's things, that are too crazy. You can't do them in a game. If you lose the puck in the neutral zone it'd be too embarrassing. We have a lot of good shootout guys on this team.

Video: CBJ@FLA: Barkov uses quick hands to roof SO winner

@jmcfear: What do you miss most about Finland?

BARKOV: I miss the outdoor rinks. I used to skate a lot with my friends for a couple hours every day. Of course, I also miss friends, family, stuff like that.

@MisterBauer3: What do you love most about living in South Florida?

BARKOV: Everything. I like the weather. I like the people. I just love to be here. I love to play hockey here. I come here every day, spend time with the guys, play here, and then go back home to palm trees and good weather. I love everything. I'm just living the dream.

@tiggrmommi: What is your favorite meal?

BARKOV: Chicken wings. Hot, hot chicken wings.

@FanSidededTheRat: What's your second favorite sport?

BARKOV: Tennis. I used to play tennis when I was younger. My brother played a lot and was almost professional. I've been watching a lot of tennis lately and I play with my brother in the summertime. My favorite tennis player is Rafael Nadal.

@sun_puck: Who was your favorite hockey player growing up?

BARKOV: There are a lot. Jarmor Jagr is one. The players in Colorado, like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, are two others. I really liked watching Pavel Datsyuk and Evgeni Malkin, too. I like a lot of players.

@Superd316: Is there a better vibe in the locker room now compared to last season?

BAROKV: It's a little bit different because we have some new guys here. I think it's awesome. We have great coaches, great trainers. All the players are great guys. It's just a fun time to be here. It's fun to sit here and listen to those guys.

@BarryARothman: Who is the hardest player to go against in faceoffs?

BARKOV: Every team has one guy. I would say Patrice Bergeron is one. Mikko Koivu is also good. From our team, I would say Trocheck is pretty good in the practices. If I ever happen to win one faceoff against Troch, I'll be happy. The new faceoff rule has changed things a lot. The guys that like to cheat on the faceoff aren't good anymore because they usually put the skate in the circle and now they can't do that. Those guys have to figure out something else. Of course, when you go stick against stick it's easier for a bigger guy. I don't mind the rule.

@gzaidan72: What's your favorite type of music to listen to and who plays the music in the locker room?

BARKOV: To be honest, I don't like country that much. I like a couple of songs, but not enough to listen to it all the time. I don't like heavy metal or heavy rock or anything like that. I'm fine with everything else. I'm starting to like Kygo's music. It's like house music, tropical house music. You can listen to it all day. Trocheck usually controls the music in the locker room. When Bjugy controls music in the locker room, I'm not in the locker room [grins]. 

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