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July 04, 2017

Hockey Heroes: Stu Barnes

Speedster Stu Barnes was an enthusiastic though undersized player who seemed to defy the odds and be a big time player in the NHL.

Barnes combined speed, a great work ethic and good anticipation skills to last in the NHL for 17 seasons. For me, anyways, he was the kind of guy I'd forget was even in the league still until the day his team came to town. Then he'd have a big game, make a big play or score a big goal, and you'd wonder why you hadn't heard more about him lately.

Barnes was versatile, playing either at center or on the wing. He wasn't big but he played with great heart and passion. He was the kind of player who could energize his team or his home rink with a gutsy, inspiring shift. He would forecheck hard, perhaps lay out a surprisingly loud hit, or force a turnover and create a scoring chance. By keeping his feet always kept motoring, often drawing penalties.

Barnes could be used on either specialty team unit. He had a big shot for the power play, though he was better known on the PK where his anticipation skills really came in handy.

Handy. If there is one word that could sum up Stu Barnes as a hockey player I think handy would be a very apt fit.

Stu Barnes played in 1136 regular season NHL games, scoring 261 goals, 336 assists and 597 points. In 116 playoff games he scored 30 goals and 32 assists. He never won a Stanley Cup, but was a big part of both Florida's (1996) and Buffalo's (1999) march to the  Cup finals.

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