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.