SUNRISE — When it was learned the Florida Panthers would scrap the goal song used over the past few years for personal tunes chosen by individual players, many wondered what captain Sasha Barkov would use.
After all, with Barkov being the franchise’s all-time leader in goals scored, it is a song likely to be heard more than a few times.
It took Barkov until Florida’s ninth game to finally get his first goal of the 2022-23 season and his personal song caught some by surprise.
After Saturday’s 5-3 win over the Senators, he said he could have chosen an electronic dance mix or something a little more modern — but decided to go with a song which would make everyone feel good.
“What was it again?” asked Carter Verhaeghe.
‘I’m So Excited’ from The Pointer Sisters, he was reminded.
A grin drew across Verhaeghe’s face.
“Yeah,” Verhaeghe said, “that emulates Barky.”
Said Brandon Montour: “That was good. I liked it. I don’t know if he picked it or not, but I liked it.”
It's 😄's all around!!!@Barkovsasha95's first goal of the season!
— Bally Sports Florida: Panthers (@BallyPanthers) October 29, 2022
The song Barkov selected was released in 1982 — a full 13 years before he was born.
Which, is a little better than the 14 years between the release of Billy Joel’s It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me and Montour’s birth.
The Billy Joel classic is what Montour uses as his goal song, one that blared throughout FLA Live Arena on Saturday when he scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal against the Sens.
Like Barkov’s tune, it is one most people have heard at one point or another. And, it’s easy to sing along with.
“I like it, think it’s cool,” Montour said during the preseason when the song first played.
Hard to argue.
Barkov’s song is a classic in its own right although not one many would have thought a person his age would pick.
It never did hit No. 1 on the charts — but was used in the movie ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ although Barkov likely never heard it there since the song was replaced in newer versions of the film.
Still, a classic tune.
”I like it a lot, actually,” he said. “It’s a happy song that makes you feel happy. But I couldn’t hear it.
“Maybe next game. Hopefully.”
Regardless of what Barkov chose as his goal song, the Panthers — and Barkov — were just happy the in-house deejay finally got a chance to play it.
While Barkov went his first 12 games of the 2019-20 season without a goal, not scoring in his first eight in this campaign was getting a little worrisome.
Perhaps not to Barkov, his teammates or coaches — but some.
Over the past few games, Barkov has been shooting and shooting and shooting. Saturday, one went in. More will follow.
“I’m not thinking about it but when you get a scoring chance, you’re not that confident,” Barkov said after his first goal of the season gave Florida a 2-0 lead on Saturday.
“When you are scoring every game, it feels like everything is going in. It wasn’t the case. I wasn’t feeling like that. But I’m happy the monkey is off my back.”
Back to the point: Why The Pointer Sisters?
”I’m not a rap guy or anything,” he said. “I had a huge playlist to choose from and I stuck with this one. I like it.”
As Verhaeghe alluded to, Barkov choosing such a peppy, disco-esque number really does sum him up — if you know him.
Barkov’s dry, biting humor surprises new teammates because he is so quiet, when he does say something funny, it is pretty understated.
But he’ll make you laugh.
A few years ago, Shawn Thornton talked about sharing a seat in the room with Barkov and marveled at his wit.
“The first thing I noticed was how damn funny he was,’’ Thornton said.
“He always has a little one-liner or something subtle that leaves you walking away laughing. I don’t know if fans see that from him, but all of his teammates do. I couldn’t imagine having anyone else sitting beside me but him. It was a real treat.”
This song certainly matches his sense of humor.
It would have made perfect sense for him to choose a modern top 40 hit for his goal celebration, but something with a little schmaltz fits like his custom made gloves.
As for not scoring until Saturday, Barkov said it was something he was thinking about but not truly bothered by.
”It’s nice, I’m not going to lie,” he said.
Soon, we will find out what Sam Reinhart chose as his song of choice.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT ARIZONA COYOTES
- When: Tuesday, 10 p.m.
- Where: Arizona State Mullett Arena, Tempe
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Last season: Florida won 2-0
- All-time regular season series: Arizona leads 19-16-2, 3 ties