Forward Krys Barch is filling the tough guy role for the New Jersey Devils during this shortened season.
Barch, the 106th overall pick by the Washington Capitals in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, may be better known for his twenty minutes of fame on Twitter after his lockout inspired tirade via the popular social media site in the fall than his hockey prowess.
“I sit here from Gand Bend, Ontario, putting a pen to my heart and writing on paper what bleeds out,” Barch tweeted. “I haven’t been a first round pick, bonus baby or son of a hall or famer.”
Barch goes on to lament about the lockout, the owners and many other issues. His rant inspired much debate among hockey fans online as well as a bit of controversy. However, it did bring to the forefront an often forgotten part of professional sports.
For every multi-million dollar signing like former Devil captain and Minnesota Wild bonus baby, Zach Parise, there are thousands like Barch, many of whom never get the opportunity to even pull on an NHL jersey.
Barch’s road to the big leagues was indeed a long one and one which was fraught with in his words, “blood, sweat and teeth,” literally.
He would have eight teeth knocked out by Detroit Red Wings great Chris Chelios on January 29th, 2009 even though he was wearing a mouth piece.
The thirty-two year old Canadian was never signed by the Capitals. After toiling in the minors for awhile, Barch finally made his NHL debut with the Dallas Stars who signed him as a free agent in the summer of 2006.
Eventually, Barch would be traded to the Florida Panthers in 2012 after playing steadily for the Stars and is known more for his grit and hard-nosed play than for his scoring touch.
In 41 games for the Panthers last year, he had two goals and three assists. Thus far this season, Barch is scoreless.
While Barch may not be pulling in the big bucks or racking up lengthy minutes on the ice, he fills an important and unglamorous position for the Devils.
The tough guy role is not an easy one and it won’t grab too many headlines, but at least Barch is able to do what he wanted, make a living playing the game he loves.