I've already got a problem and this is the first paragraph. Lockout blues implies that I'm lonely and in some way desperate for the NHL to return to my life.
Lockout blahs is more like it. As in, I don't really care when or if they get this thing settled. Plainly put, that is how I feel as a fan. Eight years ago I felt like I was dying a little every day of the lockout. Hanging on the media reports, believing that a settlement was right around the corner from the last meeting.
That settlement didn't come until the next summer and an entire season was lost. No playoffs, no trophy, no nothing. This is very likely the ground floor of my apathy regarding this lockout. But there is so much more.
The game came back and it was fun again. The Sabres were good, maybe even scratching at great, but after a pair of runs to the third round it was over. Drury and Briere left and the league started ignoring it's own rule changes and the entertainment level of the games dropped. Quite markedly in my opinion.
This is a massive problem for me. Over the years I have professed my love of hockey in a variety of ways on the airwaves. The speed, the skill, the violence, the teamwork and camaraderie exhibited by the good teams. The big hit, spirited fight or pretty play all work for me. These are all just words, of course.
You know what I've never done? Put my money where my mouth is. Sure I've bought the odd single game tickets. But remember, I love it, right? I've got a ten year old son who loves it. We're not rolling in Benjamin's at the Parker house but we're doing alright. I certainly could afford to get in a group and split some season tickets.
You know why I haven't? Because I think it's a ripoff, that's why. Look, I know not every game is a bad game and I've surely had some very memorable times, even over the last few seasons. Still, more often than not while I'm siting there in the arena in a seat I've landed through work, I think to myself how mad I'd be if a paid for this.
The games aren't that good often enough to justify the money they cost. Period. That's how I feel about this. Frankly, I have felt this way for along time. The only exceptions being those first two seasons out of the lockout.
The game now too often consists of five defenders crowded around their goal crease trying to block shots so the giant goalie doesn't have to. Random bounces account for too many of the goals. Listless players fatigued by a relentless schedule give the games a lets just get through this appearance.
Of course there are too many games because the NHL needs the gate revenue to pay the stupidest contracts in the history of pro sports. That cost, of course gets passed on to you. Screw that.
Gary Bettman shut down the league for half a season in an attempt to get a salary cap and failed. So he tried again ten years later and by all accounts took the players to the woodshed. Salary rollbacks and a hard cap and well at least it was worth it. Yet, here we are again, staring down the barrel of another lost season with players making fools of themselves by saying things like they feel they're treated like animals.
To be clear, I've got job related reasons for wanting hockey back. The business I'm in does better when there are games. I feel for the people who are losing out on hockey related income that they count on. But me personally, as a fan, I really don't care.
So go ahead and pick a crappy side if you want. In my opinion, all you need to know is this.
I love hockey and I don't think the games are worth what they cost. I don't even think it's close.
When the owners and players get around to doing something about that, they'll get my attention.