On a night when he was supposedly to be playing against the New York Islanders in pre-season action, veteran tough guy Krys Barch (@krysbarch) took to Twitter on Saturday night to voice his thoughts on the current NHL lockout.
"I feel the Wild West would be 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 me to do! All what my heart tells me to do far surpasses what my body has endured," said Barch, who signed a two-year, $1.5 million contract with the New Jersey Devils in July.
In 304 NHL games, Barch has scored 12 goals and added 19 assists for 31 points. He has also picked up 669 minutes in penalties and suffered numerous injuries over that stretch.
"I have played approx 5 1/2 years in the NHL and have worked for every second of it," said Barch. "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."
With all the physical sacrifices Barch has made over the years, he asked if the NHL owners have an appreciation for what players go through.
"I wonder how this work stoppage affects 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 there 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."
While the salaries of NHL players is considerably higher than that of the average hockey fan, Barch said many players face many years of work after their careers are over.
"One half to 3/4 of my peers will have to work for the next 50 years of their lives," tweeted Barch. "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 [with] most who do not!"
Following the lockout in 2004-05, the NHL and the Players' Association agreed they had formed a partnership to grow the game. But Barch now sees it as the owners taking from the players instead of investing in revenue-sharing to help the financially-strapped teams.
"If the NHL wants 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," suggested Barch. "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."
Ultimately, Barch would like to see a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that solves the financial issues long-term and lessens the possibility of any future labour unrest.
"The only way to stop the work stoppages long into the future is fix the root cause of the problems," said Barch. "The lockout is a procedure to take from the players to pay for the NHL mistakes. Let's not allow the NHL to make any more mistakes. Let the league and the players come together to fix the mistakes that have been made and make sure none are made in the future. Let's get a deal where the owners, players, and fans benefit.
"Like me or hate me, I speak what comes from my heart!"