On Wednesday night at the NHL Awards show, Florida Panthers star center Aleksander Barkov received the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, given to the player who "exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability" the prior season. It should have been a great moment in the franchise's history. Instead, it turned into an embarrassing one, as Barkov decided it was a good time to burn his own fanbase.
Barkov wasted no time in doing so, either, making it all the more vicious of a dagger. As he stepped to the mic with the trophy in hand, a group of fans in the rafters could be heard screaming for him. The quick-witted Barkov knew exactly how to respond:
"We have more fans from Finland here than we have from Florida," said the 23-year-old who hails from Tampere, Finland.
To be fair, no one was expecting anyone from Florida at the NHL Awards in Vegas, but nobody was expecting anybody from Finland either, save for Barkov's immediate family. The irony of all of this is that he won the award for his gentlemanly conduct, then promptly destroyed his own fans. Do they deserve it? Probably. Should the franchise move somewhere else? Probably, though it sounds unlikely at this point. At the end of the day, nobody cares about hockey in Florida, and nobody really cares that they don't care. Hell, the Panther fan(s) might even laugh this one off.