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Krys Barch says players can deal with concussions because they’re not soldiers fighting war

Mar 13, 2012, 9:22 AM EDT

Krys Barch Getty Images

Florida Panthers tough guy Krys Barch may not be someone you know very well, but when it comes to one of the league’s hot-button topics he’s making sure he’s being heard.

With the NHL GMs meeting in Florida to discuss player safety, Barch let his thoughts be known about what he thinks about the league potentially tweaking the rules to help protect the players better from concussions. Rather than looking at things just in the context of the NHL, Barch gave Harvey Fialkov of the Sun-Sentinel more of a world view on matters.

“I don’t know why you try to correct what’s working. The hits are always part of the game,” Barch said. “I had a twitter account a few years ago and you look at guys going over to Iraq and Afghanistan and they’re doing it for their country and they’re not getting compensated near as much as we are so why do we have to take less risks than them? That’s part of the sport. We get paid huge money to do it and most of the time you get paid big money it comes with a lot of risks involved and we’re compensated.

“We know that risk when we step on the ice so you go along with it, so everybody just shut up! These guys are going overseas spending nine months away from their wives and kids and risk their lives and do it for X amount of dollars, and we’re going to sit here and cry because one guy’s making $5 million and he’s out with a concussion then shame on us,” Barch said. “Shame on us, that’s what I think.”

Well when you put it that way, it’s hard to not say Barch is right. Of course, you could say that any man or woman that enlists in the Armed Forces takes the same risks on themselves and knows full well what they’re getting into and why they’re doing it.

The jobs are totally different and Barch’s point is solid on the grand scale. For the job he’s doing playing hockey, however, not wanting the players to be better protected when the ability to do that is there comes off poorly.

  1. sportsfreak13 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:33 AM

    I think the point he is trying to make is that the game is fine the way it is and to just leave it alone. The league went through the process of making the game faster after the lockout and GMs then had to build their teams differently (less enforcers, puck moving d-man, faster skaters). Now with the refs letting more obstruction go (down 12% this year) it changes the game a bit and slows it down through the neutral zone. Players want consistency .Why go through the process of making the game faster if your just going to revert and go backwards again.

  2. babar61 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    I agree with him to a point. They are trying to make all sports safe which is great, but only if they don’t get carried away. Unless they drastically change rules and regulations (taking hitting out completely) people will always get hurt and/or concussed in contact sports no matter what little changes they make. Accidents happen and always will. Working as forest fire fighter the last five years I go nuts when I hear some government safty officer come along and say “no accident should ever happen, everything should always be safe”. It is impossible to make anything 100% safe in dangerous jobs or contact sports.

    As we learn more about concussions it is important to evolve the rules but it won’t take the risk of getting a concussion out completely.

  3. rwmilli - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Yeah its important, then don’t play if your afraid of concussions…I make however much a year because the risks at my job are low, they make millions, and they know the risks….not only that but my biggest problem with all this is the way the leagues going about fixing it, you always use an engineered solution first, if that fails then you look at changing the rules. Players come back
    Wearing helmets, same thing in NFL also, a helmet that’s created to help protect them from concussions, yet we change the rules of the game before implementing everyone to wear these helmets? Doesn’t seek to me like the league really cares.

    • kitshky - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      They get compensated the way they do because they’re revenue generating entertainers … not because of the risk involved.

  4. michiganhockey11 - Mar 13, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I have to agree with you Joe. As much as people might say Barch’s argument is incomparible to the troops, you really can’t argue it. People that tend to have jobs with more inherent risks/danger tend to get paid significantly higher (except for Barch’s example). They all have protective equipment that helps mitigate injury. You have to have your parents sign a waiver to even skate in mini-mites, so this isn’t any different. I do agree with him. They know the risk of playing a very physical, fast-paced game. If they wanted to play a sport less dangerous and boring, they should have gone into the NBA.

    The only way to take consussions 100% out of the game (or near 100%) would be to eliminate checking. And at that point, it’s no different than the beer league a lot of us play in a few times a week. Except a lot better level of play.

  5. michiganhockey11 - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    I always wonder about the argument regarding concussions and dirty hits before helmets were mandatory. They probably don’t have the data, but one could make an argument about more respect for each other (in regards to dirty hits, not getting hit in the head by a deflecting puck). Helmets do make the game safer, but players are bigger/faster/stronger now. What’s the solution?

  6. jpelle82 - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM

    the compensation is drastically different but then again its drastically harder to get in the nhl than it is to get in the army. we hear all the time about soldiers who find themselves in difficult living situations post war after suffering PTSD, life altering injuries, etc. i really dont like any kind of comparison between the two…when it comes down to it you’re left with a simple statement: hockey is a freaking game…the outcome of a trivial game doesnt leave people dead or maimed or lives ruined forever.

    • michiganhockey11 - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

      Not to get off topic, I do agree with your points, if the outcome of a game doesn’t leave people’s bodies or minds destroyed, their compensation should be drastically reduced. Again, not to get all philisophical or something.

      From the vets and current military personnel I know, it may be harder to get vets benefits than get into the nhl.

  7. bcisleman - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    So since the risks we face aren’t as great as that of the service personnel in Afghanistan, we shouldn’t worry about being safe? Let’s do away with seat belts, air bagsrush-proff passenger compartments, speed limits, stop signs, stop lights, etc.

    I am old enough to remember a time when there was an equal amount of resistance to wearing helmets. Then came the Bill Masterton tragedy and that all changed. I can still remember the horrific scene. I am afraid that the NHL will have to have another Masterton epiphany before the culture will change.

    • stakex - Mar 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

      But the point is the players KNOW the risks, and are more then happy to take said risks and collect their millions for it. The people pushing for changes in safty are mostly (but not totaly) people who don’t actually play the game, and who are they to push for the safty of people who don’t want it? I mean, who are you to say the NHL should focus more on safety if even the players don’t want it?

      Btw, speed limits, stop signs, and stop lights are awful comparisions to the situation. People driving on public roads are not professional athleats being paid to play a sport they know is dangerous. In fact, people are paying taxes to the government so said government can do things like keep them safe while driving with well regulated roads. How does that compare to a professional playing a sport they know is dangerous? I don’t get it.

      • bcisleman - Mar 13, 2012 at 8:39 PM

        Do they KNOW the risks? Do we really KNOW what all the risks are. Not nearly enough is known about the effects of head trauma in hockey–whether from high speed hits, punches, or hitting the ice in a fall as was the case with Masterton. And many players ARE concerned about safety and want changes. Ask Sid how he feels.

        Road safety is a perfect comparison. People have to be trained to drive and get various benefits from driving including a convenient way to get to work or other activities…to say nothing of the fact that many DO get paid to drive. And anybody with a brain knows that driving is dangerous. And players certainly count on the NHL to ensure that the game is safe. It just isn’t safe enough and likely will not be until there is another Bill Masterton.

  8. tmjm621 - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    I like barchy he seems like a down to earth dude

  9. kcredneck - Mar 13, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    If they keep trying to take the physical part of the game away then don’t use a hockey stick for a slapshot, use a PURSE!

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