MIAMI (AP) — Even on a night off, Florida Panthers star Aleksander Barkov got hit.
No penalty was called.
No foul was called either.
Barkov had courtside seats to watch the Miami Heat on Sunday night — and got a closer view of Dwyane Wade than he expected. Wade was trying to steal a pass when he wound up diving about four rows into the stands with 3:04 remaining, and he wound up clipping Barkov on his way into the crowd.
The Panthers' captain wasn't hurt and didn't mind.
"D-Wade flying over you is really nice," Barkov said.
Wade tweeted an apology to Barkov on Monday. He didn't realize that he hit anyone on his way into the crowd, and it wasn't pointed out to him who was in that prime seat until Monday.
Barkov said getting tweeted at by Wade was "a big honor."
"Maybe I'll have the team send an icepack," Wade said. "I actually know him, I'm a fan of his and we've met before, but I didn't know I hit him."
It's not the first time Wade has dived into the stands after a ball. He's done it several times over the years, and his leap on Sunday was a product of not being able to stop as quickly as he once could, he said. Barkov saw him coming and got his hands up to cover his face just in time.
"I tried my best to clear people," Wade said. "That's the worst to have someone flying at you, some (size) 14½s and everything slinging at your face. But he took it. I'm sure he's been hit worse."
Barkov said he would like to see Wade at a Panthers game this season. The Panthers play about a 45-minute drive north of the arena where the Heat play.
Barkov predicted Wade would get a standing ovation from Panthers' fans and said he wouldn't let boards stop him from trying to see Wade during that game.
"I'll try my best to fly over him," Barkov said.