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Unleash the fury: hockey fans sound off on the impending lockout

Harrison Mooney
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This guy's not mad. He's just disappointed.

It should be quite clear at this point that the 2012 NHL lockout is a thing that is happening. Sure, there are still some hours left in the day for the two sides to hammer out an agreement, but that would require at least one meeting, and all reports indicate that no meetings are scheduled.

At midnight, the NHL will go gently into that good night.

Fans are going much less gently. Heck, there's still a small crowd of about 20 people protesting the lockout outside the NHL store in New York.

Now, let's be clear: we've been saying all along that none of these movements or protests would change anything, but that makes us just as upset as it makes you. NHL hockey is one of the best things in the world, and having a room full of rich strangers disagree on everything and thereby agree to take it from us is infuriating.

So it's time to vent. Friday on Marek vs. Wyshynski, listeners were asked to just let it all out. Many did. It's time to give the fans their say.

K. Offenholley starts us off with a bang:

That [expletive] Bettman and his [expletive] League. Sending out emails for NHL crap as if everything were normal. Don't they have any Lockout shirts/hats? Would have NHL/LNH logo with knife/couteau through it, blood dripping from tip/sanglant. Agree with columnist who wrote that fans feel like children of couple going thru messy protracted divorce.

Except when Giants win the Super Bowl my son and I don't follow other sports. Oh, we feel bad for Knicks fans, but that's just human empathy. I hate the way those shoes squeak.... Hockey is our alpha and omega. --There's another of those BR notifications at the top of my screen, another player contract signed. Shane Doan. Gotta hurry. [Expletives].

Anyway, this was the season that the Rangers might have actually had a decent shot at the Cup. Hope theory is right, that they have to settle before New Year's, but season will still have an asterisk next to it. At least in 2005 the game needed fixing, some progress was made by Shanny & Co on rules etc. This is simply about greed and envy.

Would like to wait over doorway at 47th and Sixth and pour bucket of duck [expletive] on Bettman and all owners stupid enough to sign off on this. Guess that sums it up.

Cindy reminds us that this, like all other travesties, will have to be explained to children. Won't someone please think of the children!?

I'm angry that I have to explain to my 3 little nephews that we're not going to an Avs game any time soon. I took each of them last year for a special outing to a game. I won't even tell you what I spent on tickets, snacks, jerseys and souvenirs!! They're all starting to love hockey and this really crushes the enthusiasm!! I'm a new fan myself and can't believe how angry this makes me. Looks like it's back to the Broncos & Peyton Manning for us.

Brian has a few words on Bettman and the owners:

It is time he leaves the NHL. It is disgusting and a pure hatred for free market society. The owners they need to grow up and smell the farts from their own butts.

Kurtus reminds us what's really important:

The ongoing battles in New York, just re-enforce everything I wish would change in the world. At this point I could really care less about who's to blame or who is entitled to a bigger slice of the pie.

The "what's yours should be mine" mentality overshadows so many more important issues. And that's why I loved the Spector tweet this morning about going down to the pubs by the arenas during the lockout and having a drink. They're the ones that are going to need our help. The way I see it, if theres a 10% rollback in salaries or a 10% gap remaining in HRR, no one is starving. When you're talking millions of dollars, 10% less is still millions of dollars. There are much bigger issues at hand.

I fully realize that the fans being depressed/outraged is not going to amount to a whole lot. It falls on deaf ears unless there's a camera in someone's face. There's no doubt I'll come back to hockey full steam whenever it's back on. Like yourselves, hockey is my crack and I need my medicine. I just won't feign outrage just to make myself feel better.

To wrap it up, as a 29 year old who is awaiting a liver transplant there are more important things for me to spend my time worrying about. It's too bad hockey won't be there in the near future to serve as a temporary distraction from the rest of life.

Nicole:

I've only been frustrated up to this point, but now find myself teetering on the precipice of blind rage because there's no reason why this deal shouldn't be done. As much as I'd like to rant about potential solutions and throw out highfalutin' ideas like contingent escrow clawbacks, I deal with enough of this boring [expletive] at work, and no one is paying me to fix this. I will, however, offer this: in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, "Sometimes, the questions are complicated and the answers are simple."

At least the Frozen Four is in Pittsburgh this year. And, hey, maybe the Nailers will offer an awesome "lockout special" on season tickets.

Will from St. Louis:

Ok, so I've been a fan since I was a kid in the early 90's and I've seen the game go through a lot of changes and a number of labor issues. I'm sure when push comes to shove most fans including me will be back to support the game we love. However, with that said, does the NHL or NHLPA want fans who can simply not mind that there won't be a set amount of hockey each year? How does that grow the sport?

Personally, I support the players, but with that said who are they kidding, they have no position of bargaining strength. Bargaining strength comes from being able to just walk away and move on with your career/lives. They aren't willing to just kiss their NHL career goodbye, so ultimately the NHL has them by the balls. We see tweets from players and agents asking if our employer was raking in the profit and asking us to take 17-24% pay cuts what would we do? Most of us, including the players, will ultimately bend over and take a pay cut, because what choice do we have other than say screw this I'm leaving and have fun replacing me.

Marinna:

Life is about to suck. Hockey has been my outlet since I started my undergrad in 2008. This year I began my graduate program 15 hours away from home in Philadelphia (I'm from Chicago). I knew that this lockout was coming but still can't handle that I won't be able to scream at the TV every night. How am I supposed to de-stress!? Reading stats and knowing useless facts about players to drive my friends nuts IS MY THING. So much for making friends with the Broad Street Bullies. I guess I'll have to trek out to Trenton, NJ to catch an ECHL game.

Matt explains the fan conundrum perfectly. We want to punish the people taking hockey away, but we don't want to walk away.

I wish there was some way I could truly punish the owners/players without having to boycott the NHL entirely. I don't like the idea that we as fans are seen as 'money in the bank' and that we'll be there after they come to terms.

Matt in Boston sees an opportunity for advancement:

Dear Bruins fans,

Please take this opportunity with the lockout to become disenfranchised with my favorite team. I promise that the reason I'm asking has nothing to do with the fact that I want my name to finally come up in the season ticket waiting list. I swear that I'm not placing my own enjoyment above yours, and in no way am I wishing that you kick yourselves for having spent so much money on a sport that took *another* year off just so I could swoop in and take your seats. I guarantee that I'm not trying to rob your family of all the enjoyment that comes with watching a game live, nor am I trying to wish away all the memories you might make with your children. That would just be mean, and cruel, and a little bit sad, and I am none of these things.

Oh who am I kidding. Yes I am. GIVE ME YOUR SEATS!!!!

Dan C.

I am more frustrated by this lockout than any of the previous NHL work stoppages. I was in my teens in 94 and I understood to a degree the importance of an owner-friendly CBA that wiped out the entire season last time.

But the potential stoppage this time around really has me flummoxed. The game is as strong as it has ever been. The competitive level between the teams is relatively close (insert Leafs suck joke here for all you haters) and the game is fast-paced, offensive-focused and viewer friendly. For the two sides not to be able to find a common ground just frustrates me. Everyone is entitled to their fair share of the pie but when I struggle to be able to pay my bills at the end of the month it is hard to find any sympathy for millionaires fighting with millionaires. Hockey, for me, is my escape from the worries of my working life. I sit back and watch my favourite team (Toronto) and lose myself in the game either by myself or with friends for a few hours.

I am not stupid enough to think that as fans there is any action we can take to make a difference to the owners and players. I know when hockey comes back we will all be excited for its return (absence makes the heart grow fonder, right) and support our favourite teams and players with the passion that makes us true fans. I guess it would just be nice to get an actual acknowledgment from both sides that we do matter. And not just the standard "our fans are the best fans in the world" bullcrap. Obviously that won't be lowering ticket prices but maybe some sort of merchandise give away because by purchasing those items that is how we show our support for our teams and favourite players.

I don't know. I just hope we don't lose any games and no condensed schedule that packs too many games into too few nights. I just want my Hockey Night in Canada on Saturdays and assorted games throughout the week to enjoy. Hockey really is the greatest sport on earth especially when played at the elite level of the NHL (again insert except the Leafs joke here haters).

Hopeful for a return to action and the end of a 45 year Cup drought.

Jake G. chimes in from Accra:

Ok so the thing that gets me the most is about this whole going to Europe thing. They go there and for the most part will be taking less money and taking it away from other players, while claiming they won't sign a new CBA for the good of the game. So it's in the game's best interest to have you go steal someone else's job?

I'm not sitting here (in Accra by the way) on the owners side, I think both sides are just being slightly ridiculous. I want to be able to get up at midnight or 4 in the morning and watch some hockey. Instead I spend my morning reading about whining people about I want this or that. I'd have given anything to play pro hockey and 2 of my former teammates are there (Jimmy Howard and Ben Eager).

Owners want to make money. OK great so does everyone else. Looking at those especially in the non-traditional markets maybe you should be doing more to get to capacity by lowering ticket prices. Owners of big-market teams...YOU WANTED TO EXPAND IN TO NON-TRADITIONAL MARKETS. SUCK IT UP AND HELP THEM OUT IF YOU WANT TEAMS THERE.

Dan in Wilmington:

My main frustration with the league's side is their hypocrisy. Several general managers have signed players to lengthy contracts this offseason (Parise, Suter, Skinner, Carlson, etc) and then want a 5-year limit on contracts during the CBA. I get the reasoning behind it, I suppose, but it just looks bad when you sign a guy to a 10-year deal and have contract limits as part of your bargaining.

Sean D. is choked that his trip to Vegas has been ruined:

Bad mouth the pre-season all you want. But flying to Las Vegas for Frozen Fury to get drunk, gamble and watch hockey is pretty [expletive] cool.

I had good [expletive] seats too.

Christopher M.:

Well another lock out and another kick in the face for a Flames fan, as if we haven't had enough. The last lockout killed any momentum we had coming off that magical run that was 2004. A year that helped to reignite that feeling of what it felt like to have a team compete for it all. Then it all got flushed down the toilet by the lockout and we never really got that feeling back again. Now this new lockout could do the same thing for what could amount to the final season of Jarome Iginla as a Flame. Yes he is an aging star and not what he used to be but dammit he is our star, our heart, and if this lock out really does wipe out his last year in a flames jersey, what a [EXPLETIVE] travesty. Not to mention that this could also be our last year with Kipper our rock in Net. Ughhh.

Naveed from Texas

Man, why do they do this to me? I spend about 73% of my time outside of sleeping and pooping caring about hockey, and here the NHL is fixing to take that away from me for the 2nd time. Nothing in this world, outside of sleeping and pooping, makes me as happy as hockey. Right now I'm in med school, and its f'n miserable. What was helping me stay sane was being excited about the upcoming look of the new Stars team, but no. Now I'm gonna be stuck with my head in a book without ever seeing Kari Lehtonen making huge saves. This [expletive] sucks.

Scott M.

Screw Bettman, screw him. I am angry. I live in Northern Ireland, the best players we have here are players that the ECHL turned their noses up at. We have one team that sucks and rarely play and hockey is my favourite sport. I have no means of watching hockey now. This sucks. Argh.

You're probably mad too. Sound off in the comments. But good luck topping "The owners they need to grow up and smell the farts from their own butts."

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