Hockey from the Blind Side, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Yeah, perhaps a bad reference to the song, but here we are with the lockout now a very say reality. It is reminding me far too much of 2004, and I must confess that I don’t like it at all.

What is troubling me the most is that we have NHL players heading off to Europe to play hockey. This, as far as I am concerned, is not a good sign. It indicates a long dispute. The guys wouldn’t be heading elsewhere if they believed the agreement would be concluded within the next couple of weeks.

The question then is for how long will this last? I had a couple of discussions with a few different family members and friends, and there is a belief that the season will ultimately open with the Winter Classic on January 1. I have no idea why this seems to be the consensus, but I have had no less than three people say this to me. To them, it “just makes sense”.

I recall all too well 2004. How the lockout just dragged on with chunks of the season being canceled bit by bit with each passing month and rumors about an abbreviated schedule being used if games started at such and such date. However, the games didn’t restart and the entire season was eventually not played. This did severe damage to the NHL and credibility of the league that echoed and reverberated for a few years afterwards. It left a very bad taste in the mouths of many fans, and was felt with a drop in fan attendance certainly the following season.

My fear is that this is going to be a prolonged lockout again. As I said above, the fact that players are taking off to play overseas means that the “Christmas/New Years” scenario could very well be played out in the end. I recalled being completely disgusted when the NHL played their abbreviated season before, but, at the same time, relieved that the season did start. I am already disgusted at this point, and I just want a settlement and the resumption of games before it drags on for months and months.

One of my brothers feels there will be no 2012-2013 season. He thinks it will be 2004 all over again. I really don’t want to find myself believing that. I don’t know if I could take another full season without hockey. I’ve joined my usual fantasy hockey league with a group of friends, which only makes me sadder about the whole situation.

So, I’m going to be following the boys in Bridgeport more closely than I usually am able to do. I can’t go without any hockey, and it will help me get my fix. If the NHL can start its schedule around Christmas time, well, I’ll settle for that. The bottom line is that they cannot afford having this thing drag on for too long. Hopefully, reasonable and practical heads will prevail as quickly as possible to resolve the matter, but I am finding myself settling in for a long wait ….

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