Matthew Barnaby made himself known as one of the toughest players of the 1990’s.
In 834 NHL games, he ended up with a total of 2,562 penalty minutes, playing for several teams mostly in the Eastern Conference. Also, he’s been doing time in every penalty box in the NHL, and even made great friends.
Actually, one of his best friends was Rob Ray, another real tough guy at the time. They spent several years together in Buffalo before Barnaby was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1999.
But even though they ended up on different teams, they would still fight each other on the ice.
“He’s a good friend; we fought even as best friends,” Barnaby told NHL.com back in 2007. “When you are playing on opposite teams, your allegiance is to your team and that’s exactly what it was for both of us. He is still my best friend. I see him every single day. I own two businesses with him.”
But the fighting between Barnaby and Ray wasn’t something staying on the ice.
In the book “Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins”, writer John Starkey explains how one brawl started while the two tough guys shared an apartment in Buffalo.
Ray wanted to watch the Discovery Channel, with Barnaby quickly grabbing the remote changing it back to MTV. It was a bad call.
“He ended up going through the Venetian blinds and the screen in the window,” Rob Ray says. “It got pretty rough.”
Barnaby lost a number of teeth during the friendly fight, if you might call it that. But it was all good.
“What would happen was, we should beat on each other for a while, then we’d go and buy each other beers,” Barnaby says in the book “Tales from the Pittsburgh Penguins”. “It was that kind of relationship, one of those brotherly type of things. We’d try to kill each other, but we still liked each other.”
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