Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov is playing for Team Finland at the World Cup of Hockey 2016. The 21-year-old has agreed to keep a diary throughout the tournament, which began in Toronto on Saturday and runs through Oct. 1.
In his latest installment, Barkov talks about the fallout from a 4-1 loss to Team North America on Sunday to open the tournament, as well as the importance of the game Tuesday against traditional rival Sweden at Air Canada Centre (3 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports).
Sunday was not the game we wanted against Team North America.
But, now we have played one game and now we know what to expect.
Of course, Team North America and Team Sweden are different teams, but the game Tuesday against Team Sweden is not going to be easier than Sunday. We need to forget that game and try to concentrate on this game coming up because it is so important to us.
For me, it was surprising how much we struggled against Team North America because I thought we were ready and we were pumped up before the game. We tried everything. I think we had a few good shifts in the first part of the game. We had a lot of shots in the first few minutes, but then they scored on a power play. Then, in the second period, they took over and it was their game.
Now it is time to get ready for the game Tuesday. We had a very good practice Monday.
The rivalry between Finland and Sweden is always a good one. I know it is a big thing for Finnish people. They want to see Sweden lose and see us defeat Sweden. It's the same thing for them over there, they want to defeat us and see Sweden win. It's like the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens rivalry in the NHL.
Everybody knows in Europe that we don't like each other and we want win.
With our situation in the group, we need to win Tuesday. That is our last chance and we will give everything to get a positive result.
I'm not worried about what happened last game. We moved on.
We have good leaders on this team, a good coach. It happens, sometimes you lose like that. You never want to lose in a big tournament like this, but it happens and you need to forget it. The good thing about hockey is you can improve the next day or over the next two days. That's what we are trying to do.
Our game Tuesday is at 3 p.m., but for me the time of the game does not matter. We won't go on the ice before the game, so it is a question of preparing a little differently, but that is all.
We need to give everything against Team Sweden.