The first video clip runs for a few seconds. Florida Panthers coach Bob Boughner spots something already. "Back it up," he says in a conference room at their practice rink. "Right here. Watch." On the screen is center Aleksander Barkov, the 22-year-old whom general manager Dale Tallon calls the best 200-foot player in the game, a candidate to win the Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward and the Lady Byng Trophy for sportsmanship and excellence. We wanted to look through the Panthers' eyes to see the little things that set Barkov apart, so Ben Cooper, the assistant in charge of video, pulled clips of their 3-1 home win against the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 6. Barkov played 28 shifts. Cooper found 31 examples -- a highlight-reel goal and an empty-net goal, yes, but so many other plays that demonstrated his size, strength, speed, effort, discipline, technique, intelligence, creativity and, of course, skill. When you see the clips one after another, you appreciate how many things Barkov does, and how he does them over and over again. When you hear the comments, you understand why some things that might seem insignificant are not. When you break down plays in slow motion, frame by frame, you see things you never saw before, even on plays that dropped your jaw on first glance. "Stop it," Boughner says. Cooper freezes the clip. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad has the puck in the left-wing corner in the defensive zone. Barkov faces him above the left hash marks.
Barkov brings unique two-way game to Panthers, game film shows
NHL.com | Feb 18