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Columnist to Krys Barch — You’re rich, get some perspective

Oct 1, 2012, 12:57 PM EDT

Krys Barch Getty

If Krys Barch was looking for sympathy, he didn’t find any from the National Post’s Michael Traikos.

In a column posted on the newspaper’s website, Traikos lambasted Barch after the Devils’ tough guy took to Twitter late Saturday night with an emotional denunciation of NHL owners.

Specifically, Traikos took issue with Barch’s claim that most of his hockey-playing peers “will have to work for the next 50 years of their lives” after retiring from the game.

“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,” wrote Barch. “But I have played most who do not!”

To which Traikos argues:

Here is the thing: Barch is also “one of the lucky select few.” He is not a blue-collar worker. He earned US$850,000 last season to play hockey in the NHL. He flew in a chartered jet, stayed in five-star hotels, had his meals paid for, and was adored by thousands of fans while playing a boys’ game.

He might not have anything in common with Ilya Kovalchuk or the billionaire owners, but he also does not have anything in common with regular people.

Barch is filthy rich. He has made more in these last six years than most people will probably ever see in their lifetime. That is not to say that he is overpaid or deserves less (although he is both), but rather that he has no right in complaining about his problems even if he has suffered a “cut Achilles, broken hands, concussions, broken orbital bones, 8 teeth knocked out, etc, etc, etc.”

Maybe Barch, who signed a two-year contract worth US$1.5-million with the New Jersey Devils this summer, does not realize that the state’s unemployment rate recently rose to a new 35-year high of 9.9%. Or maybe he is too focused on superficial problems — will he be able to buy a new Ferrari? — to know that others are facing real problems.

On principle, it’s easy to empathize with a group of workers that’s fighting to keep its salary from being cut.

But when that group is comprised of workers that earn a minimum of $525,000 per year – plus all the other benefits that come with being a professional athlete – all of a sudden sympathy becomes a bit tougher to come by.

So maybe instead of trying to win the PR war, both sides should just focus on getting a deal done.

Wouldn’t want the fans to start getting cynical or anything.

  1. freneticgarfieldfan - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I couldn’t agree more with Michael Traikos.

    • hockeyflow33 - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:57 PM

      Traikos makes his living criticizing and complaining about athletes. He has no understanding of the actual costs of being an athlete. Sure he makes $850k less 35% for federal taxes, less an accountant because he’s taxed on his earnings for each state he played in, less 3-10% for his agent, less his offseason training costs to stay one of the top 540 players in the world, less nutrition costs to maintain his health, etc…

  2. elvispocomo - Oct 1, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    He had all the passion of a player who clearly wants to play, but when any of us would take a 20% rollback from his salary to play in the NHL for just one year (and still make more money than most people would see in 10 years) it’s a little hard to empathize.

    Heck, I’d be happy to take their escrow payments in a fully locked out season and only have to train in the event everyone finally agrees and I can actually go back to work (play hockey).

    • blitzthepig - Oct 1, 2012 at 6:41 PM

      Nobody wants to see your sorry ass on the ice. You and any other idiot who thinks they can cut it in the NHL wouldn’t make it 5 minutes beforecrapping in you pants. That also includes the dweeb who wrote the article.

      • elvispocomo - Oct 2, 2012 at 11:48 AM

        You have no idea who I am or how capable a player I can be. The only thing you know is I’m not making $525K in the NHL, so you generalize and fall back on the only defence you know, name calling like a 3rd grader.

        What would have been smart for you to do, is take the argument for what it implies, and who it could include. There are players of quality enough that could replace Barch for less. His spot in the NHL isn’t a guarantee so maybe he should think about saving his hundreds of millions of pennies just so he doesn’t have to work for the next 50 years.

  3. rsl22 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    I have to pay to play in my men’s league. That’s right, I pay. A lot. And I have to buy my own $150 synergies and $300 skates (saw a pair of RBK for $700 the other day, F that).

    If I pay to play the game at 10:30pm, Barch can deal with his $750k salary to play in front of 15,000 fans three days a week in a brand new arena with first-rate facilities, while hanging out with his buddies most of the day and only working 5 hours a day at most during the season. Oh, and yea, don’t forget getting the summer off.

    • eyeh8goodell - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM

      LOL at a beer leaguer comparing his once a week regimen playing non-contact hockey to that of a guy playing an 82 game season in the hardest hitting hockey league on Earth. Oh, and your understanding of a pro athlete’s workout regimen is so far off base it’s hilarious. There is no such thing as an offseason for these guys. They are working out hard year round.

      • rsl22 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:21 PM

        And what is hard? Two hours a day? I work 10-12 hours a day….I’d trade a morning skate and an hour in the gym for my job. I spent three years in post-grad school, and it’ll take quite a few years for me to make what Barch makes in one year.

        And Dustin Byfuglien disagrees with your off-season workout assessments.

        Moral of the story, you can feel bad for the players. I don’t. They get paid to play hockey. I’d be doing anything I could to make a deal.

    • hockeyflow33 - Oct 1, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      You’re an idiot. Continue to play in your learn-to-skate leagues because you clearly have no idea what it takes to play at high level

      • phillyphanatic76 - Oct 1, 2012 at 10:00 PM

        You guys arguing about whether or not you’d take an NHL players salary to play a game is really a moot point. All professional athletes are overpaid, and I would sell my soul to live their lives, but the majority of them really have exceptional natural talent mixed with an extreme workout regimen (Byfuglien and Penner excluded). There are tons of professions that are extremely overpaid, just like there are even more underpaid. I mean Barch is an idiot, but there are plenty of NHL players that grew up in less than ideal financial situations and can atleast understand the plight of the common man. The real issue isn’t whether players are ungrateful for what they have but rather to what ends should they go to protect it. The owners should be held accountable for the contracts they handed out, but at the same time the players union will have to concede some financial ground in order to play this season. Sadly the owners hold the cards.

  4. eyeh8goodell - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    That isn’t what i’d call “filthy rich”. I see Traikos gives a free pass to the guys who really are flilthy rich……….Gary Bettman and the owners. This whole thing where fans compare their own salaries to that of pro athletes is so apples and oranges it’s not even funny. You want their salaries? Then you should’ve been on the ice, on the field, and in the gym for most of your youth busting your ass like these guys were instead of sitting on your asses watching on TV. They earned it, you didn’t. And i’ll bet your professions won’t see you feeling 30 years older than you actually are the rest of your lives like these guys will because of the toll contact sports have taken on their bodies. These guys will be spending far more time visiting with physicians in their later years than you people will. Blaming the players is for the absolute lowest common denominator in the NHL fanbase. They didn’t start this lockout. And the NHL got everything wanted in the last one, and now want to act like the system they wanted doesn’t work……even though league profits have risen to over 3 billion.

    • rsl22 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:11 PM

      I don’t think it was meant to be a free pass. I think it was more….no, I don’t feel sorry for you.

    • ruddigervancity - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:26 PM

      The thing is, it wasn’t the fans who started by comparing themselves to the players. It was Barch claiming he was no different than ole “Joe Average”. He is different. Your point is that he earned it, and that is true. But he is different.

      He likely isn’t losing sleep over how he’s going to put food on the table like many a true Joe Average. I’m not saying that the owners get a free pass on this, but as the writer stated, this is billionaires arguing with millionaires, so none of them get to play the “poor me” sympathy card, including 4th liners. Oh, and profit is not the same as revenue, in case that wasn’t a mere typo.

    • stoneegratz - Oct 1, 2012 at 7:21 PM

      3 billion in revenue, not profit. Those are two very different numbers.

  5. barkar942 - Oct 1, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    I wonder if the NHLPA is going to fine him $250,000 like the NHL did to Detroit to make the players shut their yaps as to not look stupid and hurt negotiations?
    Sorry, pal! I love the sport, but without owners that can provide sustainability of franchises, there are no jobs for players.

  6. bjbeliever - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    If six years at 850,000 hasn’t put you in a position to do what you want for the rest of your life than my friend, you need a new financial planner…I understand it’s not a lot of money if you try to live like a rockstar, but that would be your lack of intelligence and foresight for not understanding your hockey days are limited. Sorry Barch, not a ton of sympathy from me.

    • stakex - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      Well he didn’t actually make $850k for six years… it was only one year actually. Still though hes made at least $575k for the last seven years, and your point is still very valid.

  7. stakex - Oct 1, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    I said the same damn thing when I saw Barch’s rant. Its one thing to try and push the NHLPAs agenda… its another to try and act like some average Joe. This guys made more money last year then your average person will make in 20 years. Remember that next time you feel bad for the poor poor millionair players.

  8. ray2013 - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:24 AM

    There’s an old comedy bit that goes something like this…”You know what we need? We need our elected politicians to be more like NASCAR drivers. They should have to wear jumpsuits, and the name of everyone that sponsors them should be clearly visible to anyone who wants to see”. I’d only add that this should go to columnists also.

    It’s absolutely hilarious to me that these talking heads try to pretend they’re speaking for the average fan, when most of the time they’re really just shilling for the owners. My case in point: Barch gets attacked for speaking up, but these talking heads go silent when it comes to the real problem with these owners. Since I live in Edmonton, I look at Darryl Katz threatening to move the Oilers to Seattle unless the City of Edmonton and the Government of Alberta give him (one of the richest men in Canada) over $300 million so that he can own a downtown arena and related properties. In his career, Barch is likely to make less than the spare change found in Katz’s sofa, but Barch is a bad guy? Even with Katz’s boneheaded threats, he wasn’t lambasted by the local media. They just said, probably not a realistic threat.

    • ray2013 - Oct 2, 2012 at 1:25 AM

      The NHL: is finally showing some growth, but rather than build on a great few years, they’re willing to risk it all so that they, the owners, can keep more. Pathetic.

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