But that's just it Joel. He didn't play like that ever again. He came up, impressed everyone with his reckless abandon, and then parlayed that into what seemed to be an indefinite roster spot no matter what he did. If Barch had continued to play the way he did when he first had to prove himself I doubt anyone would dislike him or his presence on the team. Of course he probably also would've been badly injured in short order. Then again he did get seriously injured eventually just from being a bad fighter so...
The bottom line is that if you're going to take the spot of someone who can actually play hockey, you'd damn well better be an above-average fighter.
Agreed on all counts...think crow told him to tone it down and be a grinder...not his role...and he isn't a good fighter...haven't had that since Bill Huard really.
I know I only unlurk once in a bue moon here, unlike the days on the original O and Un boards, but I take issue with the loathing going on here.
Barch is one of the stories you only get with hockey. A guy who had to adapt to move up. He could skate well but wasn't going to be any more than a CHL or ECHL forward until he concentrated on the fisticuffs part of the game. Once he committed he moved up the ladder to be signed as a FA by the Iowa Stars and then by the Dallas Stars. He's the kind of guy that gives you a little hope that someone can overcome the politics of saintly draft position and the genetic freaks of this world.
Who didn't have a bit of fun watching Barch's first few games in the league? Hit everything (on a team that had quit), fight everyone...play with teeth smashed out from a Chelios high-stick. There's something admirable about a player in the best league in the world who still never stops trying to earn his spot. A lot of the current, much more talented, players on the Stars could use a bit more of that giddy-up in their game.
Was he the best player on the team? Hell no. Are there better skaters, fighters, checkers both on the Stars and in the system...yes X3. Am I glad he's off to FL, yes...I think it opens room for others in the system like Vincour, Wathier, Gazdic, Goddard or others who have something more to give...But the hate and vitriol directed at a guy because he's not the best is over the top.
It's not Barch's fault coaches around here played him.
All of the things you said are true about his moving up in the hockey world but it's really not the once in a blue moon story you make it out to be. Virtually every enforcer started out as you know, an actual hockey player with good skills (relative to competition). In fact, off the top of my head I'd say Barch's journey to the NHL is more or less par for the course where enforcers are concerned.
The main thing that (rightly) got the fanbase's dander up is that he was a punching bag, not a fighter. Being a "fighter" implies you don't end up on the losing end 95% of the time. Then you add to the fact that he lacks the combination of hockey sense and technical skill to be a productive member of even a 4th line and you end up with the Fans vs Barch situation we've seen around here. I said it probably the first time I came to hate having him on my favorite team but it's worth repeating. One of the bare minimum requirements to being a productive NHL player who takes a (semi) regular shift is that you don't stop your more talented linemates from playing up to their level. Barch killed more forechecks and cycles than any player I've seen here over the last decade.
Does anyone seriously think anyone has anything personal against Barch, or any NHL player? I just think it's funny to make fun of how horrible he is at hockey. I wish him all the best in life and in the NHL, just as long as whatever he does isn't making my favorite hockey team worse.
Mr. Barch holds the unique distinction of being the only person I've ever been aware of to operate a slaughter house anal vacuum, which unfortunately was probably my favorite thing about him. If fights were merely measured by willingness to engage and stand up for teammates than Barch would have been awesome, however, he was rarely on the winning end of a fight and I like so many have already said am pleased he has moved on.
I wish him the best at his endeavor to get more of an opportunity and I respect Joe for doing his best to accommodate this request and bonus we got another magical 5th rounder!