Krys Barch played 304 games in the NHL for the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers before signing with the New Jersey Devils in July. He has 669 penalty minutes and 31 points. He is not one of those players fortunate enough to land million-dollar deals overseas during the NHL lockout; nor is he the type of player, at 32 years old, that would be handed a gig in a North American minor league.
On Saturday night, through his Twitter feed (@KrysBarch), Barch let out all of his frustrations. About his lot in life. About the owners. About the work stoppage, and what the uncertain future means for his family. Even about relocation to Canada.
We've cleaned up some of the grammar and punctuation, but the words are his. Check out what one blue-collar NHLer thinks of the state of the League:
"I sit here from Gand Bend, Ontario putting a pen to my heart and writing on paper what bleeds out. My name is Krys Barch. I have played approximately 5 1/2 years in the NHL and have worked for every second of it. I haven't been a 1st round pick, bonus baby or a son of a hall of famer. I have made it through sweating, bleeding, cut Achilles, broken hands, concussions, broken orbital bones, 8 teeth knocked out, etc, etc, etc.
"I sit in front of a fire, 8 OV deep and starting a bottle of Porte that will assist in the translations of my emotions to words! No different than a truck driver, farmer or line worker, I have a shot and a beer. Not to deal with the days ahead but to ease the nerves from what my body has endured the days before.
"I sit here with both my boys sleeping and my wife due with our 3rd. My thoughts racing on what I can conquer tomorrow to get our family ahead. Sometimes, wondering if I should have existed when a word and a gun solidified and solved all problems. I feel the Wild West would more simplified than the world we live in now when an employer who makes billions of dollars and a league with record revenues can tell me that I can't do the things that my heart tells my me to do!
"All what my heart tells me to do far surpasses what my body has endured. As I write this I dive deeper and deeper into my bottle of Porte giving wider views to the depths of my heart. As my pen warms from the fire, Neil Young and a fall Canadian night, I wonder how this work stoppage effects the owners?
"I wonder if the owners of Boston, New York, Washington, etc, etc, have endured any of the injuries that I or any other player in the NHL have endured. Still they probably sit their smoking the same brand of cigar, sipping the same cognac, and going on vacation. To one of five houses they own. While we sit here knowing they want to take 20% of our paychecks. One half to 3/4 of my peers will have to work for the next 50 years of their lives.
"Congratulations to the lucky select few that I have played with who have made salaries that they can choose to do whatever they want when they are done. But I have played most who do not!
"If the NHL wants to teams in the south or struggling markets than the players along with the financially well to do teams need to start working together. Or they need to start to move teams to the North where they will make money. The system allows the owners to continually take money from the players contract after contract where eventually over 40 some years the owners will have 80% of revenue. The only way to stop the work stoppages long into the future is fix the root cause of the problems.
"The lockout is a procedure to take from the players to pay for the NHL mistakes. Let not allow the NHL to make any more mistakes.
"Let the league and the players to come together to fix the mistakes that have been made and make sure non are made in the future. Let's get a deal where the owners, players, and fans benefit from. We're we can be sitting around in beautiful Canadian falls around a fire playing and watching the game we love.
"Here's to the truth and our next conversation. As always speaking from my heart! Goodnight! Like me or hate me I speak what comes from my heart!"
Ladies and gentlemen, Krys Barch. We're sure Lou Lamoriello is down with this unfiltered speech ...
[Nicholas J. Cotsonika: Collusion question goes to the heart of NHL lockout]
While his rant had some troubling moments — talks of guns and alcohol always give us pause in an emotional tirade — his agent Scott Norton said that Barch was "safe, just speaking his mind!"
Brandon Prust of the Montreal Canadiens was one of the first players to respond to Barch's "Jerry Maguire" moment on Twitter:
Hundreds of NHL players could likely write the same screed as Barch did, with the same concerns and worries. Some fans will sympathize with it; others are likely to see it as privileged athletes whining about their plight. (Barch hasn't exactly made a million a season, but he also hasn't exactly been washing dishes at an Applebees.)
Either way, it confirms one big difference between this lockout and the last: Social media is an undeniable, and uncontrollable, X-factor.
Especially for the "shot and a beer" crowd.
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