Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean posed a real interesting question on Twitter the other day.
"Is it just Twitter, or is there more anger all the way around this time about this lockout than last lockout?" he wondered.
That seems like it's something worth exploring. This is, after all, the second lockout in recent memory for the NHL, and the first to take place under the new internet reign of Social Media. Obviously the NFL and NBA went through their own lockouts of varying brevity last year, but the vitriol about them that swirled online was nothing compared to what's constantly being hurled at both the NHL and NHLPA.
The NFL, to its credit, was smart enough to get its issues worked out before anyone missed a single game, and the NBA put a torch to the first month or so of the season.
For comparison, people were mad last time the NHL was locked out, to be sure; but if I recall correctly, everyone was more or less just kind of depressed about it. It sucked that there was no hockey, but everyone kind of accepted that the previous CBA simply wasn't working for anyone. Losing the whole season wasn't ideal, but it was on some level inevitable.
This time, everyone more or less sees that the League and players alike are both doing well; and that, as a consequence, this is a largely avoidable and pointless ego-driven shoving match, and not a work stoppage that carries with it any necessity.
So yes, people are mad. Very mad.
But Twitter makes it seem worse than it probably is.
(Coming Up: Dan Boyle hates the lockout; Long Island Railroad preps for Brooklyn; Jagr puts fannies in seats; Nikolai Khabibulin's loophole; Tyler Seguin coming back to Boston; Dan Ellis rules the AHL; abuse of KHL officials; Damian Brunner gets the hell beat out of him; Jack Johnson calls out owners; and a trade to get Jeff Skinner to the Leafs.)
People who complain about hockey anywhere are likely to be the absolute diehards, and when you run in those circles online, of course you're going to see more vitriol.
However, there's something else to consider. We get the players' tweets and comments fed into our stream on a pretty regular basis; all of them, especially these last few days, seemingly designed to be as inflammatory as possible. "Can you believe that Gary Bettman would do this to us?" and so forth is a pretty good — and not wholly inaccurate — way to gin up support for the players' cause and get everyone all worked up at the same time.
But there has to, at some point, be a limit to the fury. Now that players are devolving into conspiracy theories about how the owners planned this all along, writing blog posts about how it's dishonorable to carry on doing this to the players who Just Want To Play, and even actively attacking the owners who signed them, you get the feeling that it all has to reach a logical conclusion at some point in the very near future.
Using the lockout as a tactic to get a more beneficial CBA is something I think most people believe the owners pursued, but now we're getting into conjecture that makes Joe Pesci's "turkey shoot" scene in JFK look at least semi-rational, and one wonders if the next round of intentionally inflammatory talk brings up the Umbrella Man's role in all this.
People were always going to be mad about the lockout to begin with, and the NHLPA's goal in all this is to keep that feeling of ill will bubbling right near the surface, though to what end is difficult to tell, since it's pretty obvious Bettman and the owners don't give a rat's ass about what anyone thinks.
So the answer to Cooper's original question is that it's both people are angrier, and now they have a place to vent about it.
Message boards were the way to complain about a lockout seven years ago, but unless you went to them, you didn't see the emotion. Now anyone can tweet at you to express their understandable disgust with the whole situation. The players they love and want desperately to be watching play the game right now poking them with a pointy stick every couple days just makes it worse.
What We Learned
Anaheim Ducks: Mathieu Carle got a two-game suspension from the KHL for abuse of officials. To be fair, though, I've seen the officiating in the KHL and he probably had a point.
Boston Bruins: Don't worry, ladies of Boston, Tyler Seguin is coming back to the city for a week in early November. Apparently his Swiss league team is just taking two weeks off in the middle of the season somehow.
Buffalo Sabres: The Rochester Americans are doing okay offensively. In their first eight games of the season, they've scored 39 goals. Perhaps not surprisingly, they've also taken nine of 10 points in the last five games.
Calgary Flames: Chris Butler on the lockout: "I was talking to one of my buddies the other day, just kind of joking around with him, and I said, 'I dropped out of college to chase my dream of playing in the NHL, and now I'm just a college dropout that doesn't have a job.'"
Chicago Blackhawks: That charity game in Chicago ended 16-15 in a shootout, so of course it was Dan Carcillo who netted the winner. Because why, in a game in which Patrick Kane had four goals, wouldn't it be Dan Carcillo?
Colorado Avalanche: Skip to about 1:45 in this video to watch Lake Erie's Bryan Lerg score a really nice shootout goal. Dang.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Vinny Prospal just signed with HC Mountfield of the Czech league, on the same day as Martin Hanzal and Milan Michalek. The team already has Andrew Ference and another Jacket, Radek Martinek, on the roster. Doesn't seem fair.
Dallas Stars: Jaromir Jagr's Czech team, meanwhile, is actually doing well for once. It's had exactly zero winning non-lockout seasons since 1997, but now they're doing great thanks to a top line of Jagr, Jiri Tlusty and Tomas Plekanec. Attendance, as you might imagine, is up 127 percent.
Detroit Red Wings presented by Amway: Here's Wings prospect Damian Brunner getting the absolute hell beat out of him by 39-year-old goaltender Ronnie Rueger.
Edmonton Oilers: Reminder that Nikolai Khabibulin still technically plays for the Oilers and because he's hurt they have to pay him during the lockout. Hilarious. What an awful contract.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers threw a Halloween party for season ticket holders on Saturday, but anyone who showed up dressed as Stanley C. Panther was thrown out immediately.
Los Angeles Kings: Nice feature from the Iowa Hawkeyes about Bob Miller, who graduated from U of I in the 70s. Here's something I didn't know: Dude has a lifetime contract with the team for even after he retires. That's great. He deserves it.
Minnesota Wild: Here's Niklas Backstrom scoring on a penalty shot in that Chicago charity game for some reason:
Montreal Canadiens: Francis Bouillon, Steve Begin and Max Lapierre played ball hockey for charity over the weekend to benefit the nonprofit that gives beginner and novice hockey players cheap equipment rentals for a whole season.
Nashville Predators: Should David Poile be the guy in charge of picking Team USA for the 2014 Olympics? I'm pretty sure Barry Trotz is Canadian so who would he get to coach? This will never work.
New Jersey Devils: Yeah, the Devils won't miss Ilya Kovalchuk if he stays in Russia. "There are spoiled athletes and then there is Ilya Kovalchuk, the $100 million kid who has yet to break the 100-point scoring barrier in a single season for the New Jersey Devils." Hahaha. In the two full seasons in which Kovalchuk has been with the Devils, two players total have scored 100 points. Get a clue.
New York Islanders: The Long Island Railroad is already prepping for upwards of a few thousand extra fans coming into Brooklyn when the Islanders move there. Can't imagine adding one train to the line takes that much work.
New York Rangers: Rookie FA signing Kyle Jean is still killing it for the Connecticut Whale. Four goals and seven points in his first five pro games. Not bad.
Ottawa Senators: Alexei Kaigorodov is still alive?
Philadelphia Flyers: A Flyers prospect getting suspended 10 games for targeting the head of an opponent? I don't believe it.
Phoenix Coyotes: Today is Day No. 80 since Jude LaCava of Fox 10 in Arizona said Greg Jamison would have the deal for the Coyotes sewn up within the next five days. Meanwhile, the city of Glendale could lose about $2.5 million if the lockout lasts the entire season. Of course, that's way better than the tens of millions they normally lose because they continue to stupidly subsidize the team.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Marc-Andre Fleury says he's starting to think about playing in Europe, but after that playoff performance, who would want him?
San Jose Sharks: Dan Boyle is another guy who says his time in the league is probably running out, and that's why he hates the lockout more than the lost money.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues hired Sergei Zubov to be a consultant, which basically means he'll keep an eye on their European prospects. Mainly Vladimir Tarasenko, one assumes.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa's power play wasn't great last season at just 15.2 percent, but the games in which they did score on the power play, they went 22-12-2. So maybe getting someone to help run it would be awesome and cool for them.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Toronto defense prospect Morgan Rielly is doing a lot to help fight cancer. His efforts have already raised $16,000, which will be donated to a Moose Jaw hospital to fund new equipment for breast cancer patients. What a kid.
Washington Capitals: Braden Holtby was finally healthy over the weekend, for the first time since opening night. He recorded a 35-save shutout in his first game back, which is pretty good.
Winnipeg Jets: The St. John's IceCaps might have the most impressive 50-50 raffle in hockey. Last season it topped $1.3 million in contributions despite the team's rink only seating 6,287. Highest jackpot seen since the team moved there from Manitoba was $23,500.
Play of the Weekend
What disastrous defending from Davos. Jeez.
Gold Star Awardcalling out the owners on the team website. Bet that post doesn't stay up long.
Minus of the Weekendsix points in one game. How is it possible, team playing Dale Weise?
Perfect HFBoards Trade Proposal of the Week
User "Westhotsauce" wants to bring Jeff Skinner home.
To Car: Jake Gardiner + Carter Ashton + Lupul
To Tor: Jeff Skinner + 2013 2nd
Stop fussing with my tail! Just make me a wig out of seaweed!
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