The clock struck midnight on Saturday, and the 2012 NHL Lockout began.
We're all hockey fans; sadly, we're used to this sort of thing by now. Fortunately, there are tons of other levels of hockey to support around your community and the world. While men in suits argue about money, we're left to wait and wonder when we'll see our favorite NHL team play again.
In the meantime, your friends at Puck Daddy want to help make the time go by quicker and make your hockey-less days much more enjoyable. This is why we've devised the 2012 NHL Lockout Drinking Game. While we're attending out our local minor hockey team or finding a pirated feed online to watch a big Elitserien game, we'll also be feverishly checking in for any updates in the labor talks, if there even are any in the coming days and weeks.
Coming up, what you should look for as this CBA process drags on to help increase your beverage-to-hand ratio.
• For each NHL player signing a lockout contract in Europe. (CHUG: That player is Sidney Crosby.)
• Each time an NHL player Tweets out the hashtag #theplayers.
• Every time quotes from the NHL and the NHLPA conflict with one another. (Ex: Both sides accuse the other side of not wanting to meet.)
• Every time you hear the phrase "hockey related revenue"/"HRR"
• Every time agent Allan Walsh complains about the owners being muzzled.
• Whenever an NHL player speaks ill of Commissioner Gary Bettman instead of the guy cutting him a check.
• Every time you have to explain to your non-hockey friends just what the hell the NHL is doing. (SECOND DRINK: That friend thinks the players went on strike.)
• NHL 13 roster updates turn your team into a glorified ECHL squad, while the European teams become stacked.
• If an NHL player speaks out of turn about sympathizing with the owners and wanting the lockout to end. (SECOND DRINK: That player isn't from Canada.)
• If an NHL owner speaks out of turn about sympathizing with the players and wanting the lockout to end.
• When either side purposely leaks financial documents to MSM to curry favor.
• Any time Donald Fehr vaguely threatens to go after the salary cap.
• Whenever an NHL player laments a 24-percent salary rollback that's no longer part of either proposal in the negotiation.
• Any time Donald Fehr or Gary Bettman use the word "gulf" when describing how apart the two sides are.
• If Dustin Byfuglien, Dustin Penner or Martin Brodeur are photographed eating.
• Two under-contract NHL players have a fight in a non-NHL league.
• For every time a set of regular season games are canceled. (CHUG: The Winter Classic is one of those games.)
• The NHL lockout is mentioned in the first 25 minutes of ESPN SportsCenter.
• The NHL lockout isn't mentioned in the first 5 minutes of TSN SportsCentre.
• If #OccupyNHLStore becomes a reality.
• Each time Florida Panthers COO Michael Yormark updates his Twitter followers on a snack he's enjoying during the lockout.
• Any time an anonymous hockey "insider" declares a new CBA agreed upon by both sides. (CHUG: Any time a member of the MSM picks up on said false report.)
• Paul Bissonnette tweets of photo of himself and two blondes with the caption "puttin' it in escrow."
• The NHLPA fires Donald Fehr and hires Ted Saskin.
• An NHL franchise is relocated during the lock out.
• A beer league sues for control of the Stanley Cup.
• Your team's AHL squad wins the Calder Cup thanks to a loaded roster.
• Whenever it's official that we'll have hockey again.
• ...or if 2004-05 will repeat itself all over.
(Ed. Note: Puck Daddy, of course, in no way endorses abuse of alcohol, consumption of alcohol by anyone under the legal drinking age in their region and, without a doubt, the operation of an automobile or any machine while under the influence of alcohol. These games are listed for entertainment purposes and we don't take responsibility for any result of their application. To sum it up, don't be a knucklehead and have fun!)
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy