"Barkov texting Draisaitl this morning: 'I lived b**ch'": Top 5 funny memes as Aleksander Barkov returns to Panthers practice post Leon Draisaitl hit

NHL: Stanley Cup Final - Media Day
Best Aleksander Barkov memes after his return to practice

Aleksander Barkov was a full participant in the Florida Panthers' final practice day in Sunrise before the team left for a long journey to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4. Barkov took Leon Draisaitl's elbow directly to his face in the final period of Monday's Game 2 in Amerant Arena.

Barkov was pulled with just under 10 minutes left in the game and the Panthers leading 2-1. The Cats captain never returned to the game with rumors of him being placed in the NHL's concussion protocol. Despite their captain's absence, the Panthers pulled through and won Game 2, 4-1, taking a comfortable 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Panthers head coach Paul Maurice was visibly frustrated when asked about Leon Draisaitl's elbow hit on Barkov. Maurice's stern reply included an Oprah Winfrey Show reference. The next morning, Maurice reported that Barkov's status was better.

Following Aleksander Barkov's full participation in the Panthers' Wednesday morning practice, X (formerly Twitter) was flooded with memes surrounding the captain's return.

Here's a look at the best Aleksander Barkov memes after his return to practice.

The classic "Undertaker rises from the coffin" made rounds on X after news broke of Barkov's presence at practice.

Per THN's David Dwork, Barkov participated in multiple drills and played alongside his usual linemates Evan Rodrigues and Sam Reinhart. He skated in the usual white contact jersey, which indicated there were no limitations to physical contact on Barkov.

Barkov was not made available to the media at the Panthers' facility post training on Wednesday morning, but when Paul Maurice was asked about his status after practice, he said:

"Felt better today. Got through skate today as far as I know. He'll get checked after. Get him on a plane, get him off a plane, get him on the ice and we'll see where he's at tomorrow. He looked good today."

Leon Draisaitl was expected to be penalized for Aleksander Barkov hit

Edmonton Oilers star forward Leon Draisaitl was expected to be disciplined for his high hit on Aleksander Barkov. The German forward addressed the incident and denied claims of a dirty hit on the Panthers captain. Paul Maurice, and other Florida Panthers players, remained tight-lipped.

NHL fans chimed in on social media and demanded at least a game suspension for Draisaitl.

The NHL Department of Player Safety fined the Oilers' Sam Carrick $2,213.54 for slashing the Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov in the jewels toward the end of Game 2. That was the only discipline handed out, even though the Oilers' Warren Foegele was ejected earlier in the game for a knee hit on Eetu Luostarinen.

Also read: "Gary Bettman golden boy" "What a disgrace": NHL fans react as Oilers' Leon Draisaitl avoids suspension and fine for hit on Aleksander Barkov

With Aleksander Barkov avoiding a serious injury and Leon Draisaitl escaping any game suspension, both squads will be at full strength going into Game 3 on Thursday night at Edmonton's Rogers Place.

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Edited by Srihari Anand
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