For a coach, playoff hockey is one big chess match. You know the ins and outs of your opponent, as you will be playing the same damn team for 4-7 games in succession. It does not take long to find out when things aren’t working. The current standard is about three games. Before you know it, you’re down 3-0 and praying for the support of some remnants of an octagenarian group of Maple Leafs for divine inspiration.
It appears that they’ve answered Dave Tippett’s call.
If you watched Game 4 on Tuesday, you may have noticed enforcer Steve Ott sharing his shifts with the likes of Brendan Morrow. Apparently, Ott has been playing far beyond his ability as of late and has turned into an ideal line mate for Captain Star. Of course, with Ott getting the promotion, Tippett needed a strong arm to log a lofty 6-9 minutes of ice time on the fourth line.
Enter Krystofer Barch.
(Before we review the resume of Mr. Barch, let’s chastise his parents. You named your kid Krystofer? Look, the Hextall family has a kid and knows all the choices you’re making by assigning your child a name. You want to be original, of course. HOWEVER, try and stay away from substituting random letters for predictable ones. Your kid’s name shouldn’t look like the title of a Avril Lavigne single. That’s something Briere would do.)
Barch played in a little over half of the Stars’ games this year, enough to give him the silver medal on the PIM podium. He had yet to dress for a playoff match, so San Jose and Anaheim would have no idea who this guy was. (Maybe he’s allergic to Californians.) All this time, Coach Tippett was holding him back as a secret weapon. Not the kind that scores hat tricks and stops freight train breakaways – no, sir – the kind whose presence send a seismic shock underneath the ice of the AA Center and brings all hockey players wearing red and white to their knees. His stat line:
0 G, 0 A, Even, 0 PIM, 1:53 TOI
Great work, Krys. We look forward to seeing you play in Game 5. That or watching about 3 commercials. Either way, time well spent.