I've resisted commenting on the lockout/strike/negotiations/holdout, but really the lunacy of the National Hockey League and its owners and players and commissioner. Until now. I'm not upset for me, I got to see the NHL at its finest--watching first Orr, Espo, then the great Habs teams, the Gretzky Oilers, the Red Wings, and then even the ultimate the B's Stanley Cup Run.
I live in Southern California now (lived in Boston as a kid) and to see even the long-time suffering Kings win the Cup was special for the league and for the course-base of fans who followed them from the Forum years to the Staples Center. Maybe it's fitting that the Kings don't get to raise the banner. Part of the suffering for the younger fans. The kids, the teens, the ones who still want to get autographs from Tyler Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. Maybe it was also fitting I bought a Tim Thomas jersey for my kid a year ago. Thomas is starting to look like the smartest guy in the league--he "retires" before the lockout. He probably knew what was about to happen to the league.
With all this said, I feel terrible for all the children who won't get to watch the NHL in action this season. Another lost season. Another series of marketing e-mails, interviews, and charity functions to "Bring back the Fans." I purchased and still have the NHL On Ice package through DirectTV, and I guess I didn't have to pay for it this year. No games, no charge. I'll say it--I do miss the game. This time of year especially, although I've put my interest in the Patriots more than ever now. I miss the Bruins, but I can live with it. Will the league bring the fans back after it solves its issues? Of course. There's enough fans out there who miss the game, want the game and love the action, and are also passionate about the Bruins--at least from a Boston perspective. The League should have surpassed NBA (in some respects it did last few years) and should be a solid No. 3 behind Baseball and the NFL. But it took a lot of marketing, and talented players and super playoff runs to bring the NHL to a great height from the media....and now it's back to being the rinky-dink league. The one that has 3 lockouts, 2 lost seasons (or 2 mini seasons if they solve it).
So, I hope the NHL is happy. I hope the players who feel wronged because it collected the 57 percent, the owners who demanded it be the other way around, I hope they are happy. They won. We, the fans, lose. No hockey in December, no New Year's Day Outdoor Classic. Nothing. The kids lose more than the adults. And that's the part that hurts the most.