4 More Years and Something to Prove – Tyson Barrie

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A weakness overcome is more powerful than a strength that persists. In the case of Tyson Barrie, he’s now fully aware of his strengths, and weaknesses after going through an arbitration hearing with the Colorado Avalanche. Or, at least he now has a better idea what his employer thinks his weaknesses are.

“We try to tell them (the arbitrators) how great I am and they (The Colorado Avalanche) try to tell them how bad I am. It’s pretty simple.” — Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie went the route of former Avalanche teammate Ryan O’Reilly and drug his contract negotiations right up to the last minute of arbitration. Like O’Reilly before him, Barrie managed to come to terms with Avalanche just before the arbitration decision came back. But, unlike O’Reilly, I don’t think the arbitration process has jaded Barrie or signals the end of his love for the Colorado Avalanche. Especially with Roy being replaced as head coach by Jared Bednar and his “upbeat, attacking style.” Tyson Barrie is a better fit than Ryan O’Reilly was, both on the ice and in the locker room. My bold albeit obvious prediction is that Barrie will thrive under coach Bednar and the “upbeat, attacking style.”

True, every coach says they want to play an “up-tempo, fast-paced, aggressive style,” but when it comes to Bednar, I believe him. As head coach of the Cleveland Monsters, Bednar led his team to their first ever Calder Cup Championship with his “fast-paced, up-tempo style.”

Every man has a history and Bednar’s history supports his claim that he want’s to bring that style of play to the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche and to the fans.

So for a player like Tyson Barrie who thrives in a fast-paced attacking style it’s almost like being traded to a brand new team, with a new style and system, but without all of the messy emotions of being traded. It’s a fresh start with a new coach and a new system, but right here in Colorado where he already knows the team, has buddies and adored by the fans. Honestly, I’m not sure there could have been a better scenario after getting the contract done for Tyson Barrie.

As for the process itself, how it affected Barrie’s loyalty to the organization and his moral. I don’t think it’s an issue at all. Barrie has been around tense business dealings his entire life as the son of Lynn Barrie and despite that innocent looking baby-face of his, I think he’s mentally tough and ready to thrive. Barrie and his agents tested the waters, got a benchmark for Barrie’s worth and at the end of the day, did good business. If anything, he’s shrewd.

On a recent call-in interview with the NHL Network Barrie spoke candidly about the arbitration process — all be it carefully — and what he’s able to take from it.

Barrie said of the Arbitration process:

“(It’s) something both side would have liked to avoid, but at that end of the day it’s a business —  both sides understand that.”

Again, I really do think this is water-under-the-bridge for Barrie. He’s got a world of opportunity at his feet, and I think he knows it. Kudos to Barrie and his management for doing their due-diligence, but frankly, I don’t think T-Bear was ever really all the interested in leaving the organization.

Reflecting on the toll that arbitration can take on a player, Barrie said:

“I wouldn’t  say that I’m happy I got to do it, but it’s behind me now and… no hard feelings”

Clearly, Barrie can make the separation between personal and business. I also think he has the ability and grit to use this experience as a catalyst to become a better player by focusing on his “weaknesses” and taking the feedback as a challenge.

When Asked what he’d like to work on and improve on this next year:

Barrie started by noting that:

  • He had another good year, last year
  • He’s proven that he can be a top offensive D-man in the NHL
  • He’s shown that he can be consistent

While I’ll agree with this as a blanket statement,  I for one have to say that I was expecting a bit more from Tyson Barrie in the 2015-2016 season. Even though he matched his point totals from the previous year, I expected him to exceed the previous numbers and show a bit more progression in his defensive game. Another point that Barrie addressed in the interview with this comment.

“I know there are knocks on the defensive side of my game and, that’s something I’ll have to deal with and something I’ll have to improve at still”

I haven’t seen a lot of interviews with Barrie being this candid and forthcoming before. He really seems to have come through the arbitration process with a professional mindset and perhaps a bit more of the maturity he alluded to.

As for the team: When asked what he thought would be better about this coming season vs. the previous two seasons — where the Avs didn’t make the playoffs, Barrie said:

“Everybody talks about what a good young team we are… I think now is the time for us to take that next step. For the younger guys to mature, myself included. We’ve got a younger team but, guys who’ve been in the league a long time.”

“We hate the feeling we’ve had in the last few years, we fell like we’ve let each other down and let the fans down. We’re going to be happy to get back into the playoffs this year.“

Amen to that T-Bear, we’ll all be excited to see you back in the playoffs again.

Barrie must be chomping at the bit to get the 2016 season going. While the rest of the Avalanche core players are playing for the respective countries in the World Cup of Hockey, Barrie’s back in Colorado, in training camp. If Tyson Barrie is as good as he thinks he is (I think he is) I fully expect to see him in the World Cup of Hockey in the very near future. But, the best he can do for now is get some quality time with his new coach, work on this weaknesses, and be 100% ready for awesomeness this coming season.

Here’s hoping we got a bargain in the Barrie deal.

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To hear the full interview with Tyson Barrie head over to the NHL Network.

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