THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, Subject: The Vent.
Here's Biff, a San Jose Sharks fan since 1994 from Mountain View, Calif.:
I'm not a religious guy, at least not in the traditional sense. The only religion I've ever had is hockey, the Shark Tank the only church I've ever attended. The only testimony I've cared about has come from either Randy Hahn and Drew Remenda or Dan Rusanowsky and Jamie Baker. The only gods I've acknowledged are the Gods of Hockey, and what mighty Gods they be. The players who wear the Sharks jerseys were heroes, priests battling for the favor and glory of the Hockey Gods and the adulation of the fans. Marleau's word and Thornton's teachings are what I remember. Nolan's fearlessness and Nabokov stalwart in net. The power of the "Ov" line and the heroics of Irbe. The owners were cardinals, keeping the holy houses in which hockey was played. Gund built the house and now Silicon Valley Sports and Entertainment maintain it. But what can we do when the temples are closed, when the heroes no longer battle?
Another lockout after only 7 years? Have the Gods forsaken us?
Surely not. After all, it isn't the Gods who run the NHL and the NHLPA but mortals. Arrogant, greedy mortals. Do the Gods care who makes how much money? Definitely not. The game must be played. That is all they, and we, have ever cared about. It doesn't matter where and by whom, so long as the game is played. The NHL has claimed a de facto monopoly on the greatest of hockey's players, teams, and buildings but maybe it shouldn't be that way anymore. Maybe it's time for the protest of the fans to turn into a schism if the NHL is unwilling to change, unwilling to put the game and the fans before the money.
Of course they haven't had to think that way in a long time. They've been the only game in town for so long that the only thing left to think about is how much money they could make. Maybe it would be better if they had to worry if they were going to make any money at all. Maybe a rival league, or a few rival leagues, would help put the game back into perspective and help keep both the owners and the players honest.
Making money is all well and good but if that is all you care about then you deserve to suffer the will of the market. If you ever thought the Gods of Hockey are cruel, the Gods of the Market will educate you as to what cruelty truly is. If the NHL loses the safety of their monopoly maybe the market will help them remember that attempting to make more money at the expense of others is only fun when you're on the winning side. Then again, they could consider cooperative-competition and profit-sharing as an alternative to facing the Gods of the Market and their mercy (or lack thereof).
Everyday this lockout continues I become more and more motivated to abandon this Church called the NHL in favor of another church, a new church that puts the fans before itself. The NHL isn't afraid of the fans leaving, they can't even fathom it. I wonder what they would do if they really thought we would leave them. Maybe a new league will rise to challenge them and we'll find out.
Yeah, but a new league won't have the Stanley Cup or the legacy of Pat Falloon, so ...
Here's Jason with his lockout rant:
This NHL lockout makes me furious. Not with Gary Bettman, though his image on the screen does make me want to toss my laptop off a 50 story building. I'm not angry with Donald Fehr, though someone in the hair design industry probably is. I'm not mad at any one owner, and I'm not mad at any particular player. As a Penguins fan, I might even be willing to say I'd rejoice in seeing the dumbfounded expression on Scott Hartnell's face again. Maybe.
But the person I'm most angry at is myself. Why you ask? Because if this were any other business, if any other entity had treated us this way, we would all have long ago moved on to another product. We would make it clear that they cannot treat us, the fans, this way and continue to expect us to shell out our hard earned scratch at games, buying jerseys, or paying our cable bill.
(I don't know about anyone else, but hockey is just about the sole reason I have a cable account. It's certainly not to watch reruns of the Gilmore Girls. No sir. But I digress...)
But you and I both know that the instant this thing is over, when both Bettman and Fehr walk up to a microphone and tell us that the puck is dropping in a week, we'll be there. The first home game available to me I will shell out $200 on tickets, $50 on beer, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $25 on my strange attraction to stadium food. A hotdog just doesn't taste the same anywhere else! I will do it all draped in my $150 Sidney Crosby jersey, though if we're going to do this right I might just get a Rico Fata jersey to honor the memories. I know this will happen. You know this will happen. And worst of all, the owners and players know this will happen. Which is why about 30 seconds after the drop the puck, be it this year or next, both sides are going to lawyer up for the lockout that is sure to come in 2023, because these things have become all too predictable.
So I'm mad. This lockout is not Bettman's fault, nor Fehr's, and it's not even Ed Snider's fault (but everything else sure is). No, this is my fault, because they know I'll pay when it's over. And the sad thing is, as much as I might want to convince myself otherwise, they're absolutely right.
Long live hockey…
Meanwhile, Emily Hall wants to have some lockout karaoke:
Thanks for posting my Anna Sun parody in The Vent a couple of weeks ago. I got a couple of requests for a karaoke version w/ lyrics, so for those hockey fans out there who want a lockout protest song, here is the karaoke version w/ lyrics of "This Wallet's Closing Up Now".
For those fans who are really bold, they should grab a few beers (karaoke is always better when your drunk), turn on their webcams and serenade the owners and players of their team, reminding them where the revenues are from and who has kept this league viable, then post it on youtube and send the link to them.
And for those that don't care, I also have the lyrics to Anna Sun, because it's such a damn catchy tune and who doesn't feel good after singing that song?!
Derek from Massachusetts has a message to Jeremy Jacobs owner of the Boston Bruins:
My parents were hockey fanatics, bred from the Big Bad Bruins of the late sixties and early seventies. My mom was such a huge Derek Sanderson fan I'm named after him. Both my older siblings and I played hockey. In the eighties, I could have named roughly three quarters of the players in the league and probably tell you what year they were drafted or which team they were traded from. I still have my hockey sticker books and cards from that era. The Bruins broke my heart in 1990, but I stuck with them through some rough times. After I graduated from college, my brother and I would regularly attend games, and made it to every playoff game in 98 and 99. When we had kids, going to games was no longer financially feasible but I still followed them faithfully.
My first son was born in 2000; I taught him how to skate when he was four, and while he loved the skating he just was isn't into hockey. He was followed by twin sons in 2004. The lockout in 2004/2005 annoyed me, but in the end I was okay with it — they fixed some of the parts that were broken. But my sons weren't interested in it at all. Then came the 2009-2010 season. Somehow, my father got me and brother tickets in the promenade for Game 1 against the Flyers, and when Savard scored in overtime, it was simply awesome. When I came home I was fired up, and my oldest son started asking me questions about the game. Then he actually watched a good portion of the next game with me. Of course, the series didn't end well, but at least it had sparked an interest. And then came the 2010-2011 season.
All three of them would watch games occasionally. My oldest son decided he wanted to be a hockey announcer. We all watched Game 7 together. Watching the Bruins, who had last hoisted the cup the year before I was born but whom I had stayed faithful too for my 38 years, win the Cup while watching with my family was wonderful. Hockey has always been a part of my life, and not only was I sharing that with them, they were being drawn to it. They watched more games than ever in the next season, and even expressed an interest into going to some of the games.
And the NHL has pissed that all away. The NHL is a fading memory for them, replaced by the latest video game or even the NFL which I have started watching much more regularly. My oldest son still wants to be a sports announcer, but maybe in a different sport. I know that when the NHL comes back, I will not be going back to them for some time. I doubt I will give the Bruins' owner any money by purchasing the jersey's my kids asked for and that I finally had the money for this year, and I certainly won't be taking them to a game anytime soon. They don't deserve a league that turns their back on them.
So congratulations NHL, and especially Jeremy Jacobs. You've probably lost 3 future fans, and who knows how many like me my kids are out there. I know you don't give a flying rat's buttocks about me or my kids, and maybe it's finally time I returned the favor.
Reader Steve McGuigan thinks the two sides are mutually assuring their destruction:
The very fact the two sides are committing business suicide shows that both sides believe the fans will come back. I would love to say I won't, but honestly as pissed as I am , I don't know how long I will stay away.
The owners in particular believe they cannot get hurt business wise as they can simply wait out the players. So let's see if they can experience pain. What about a web site publishing all of the NHL owners businesses, so we can boycott them. So no pizza from Little Ceasar's by any NHL fan, no buying concessions at an airport or other venue that is owned by Jeremy Jacobs and his Delaware North companies.
No attending concerts in buildings owned by NHL teams etc etc.
Maybe if their main businesses saw a downturn they would understand the depth of the fan frustration.
Finally, here's Corey Perry from inside the player/owner talks in New York.
Wait, check that, sorry: It's a 3-year-old named Jacob, lamenting the lockout with his dad: