It’s an NHL lockout Christmas! Also, fans want a boycott (THE VENT)

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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, Subject: The Vent.

Pamela Corcoran actually believes that this wouldn't be read by anyone. Surprise!

I couldn't believe it when Bettman came unhinged after Fehr's counteroffer Thursday, pulling the league's offer and breaking off talks. Surely a seasoned negotiator knows to expect counteroffers. Surely a rational person who had wanted the players to vote on his offer would reject the counter but leave his offer in place. Surely the 'smartest guy in the room' could read the situation and predict that if he took that route, the players would be voting on the league's offer this weekend, likely approving it. But if all this is true, Bettman's reaction is inexplicable - emotional, irrational, and just plain stupid.

And then I realized that the owners wouldn't leave an emotional, irrational man in charge of their billion dollar negotiations. So the underlying assumption has to be wrong. The league never wanted their most recent offer to be voted on by the players. They can't have. Why would they make an offer they didn't want considered? All along I've been reading stories about how the league wants to undermine the players' confidence in Fehr. And what better way than this? They make a moderately reasonable offer. They know - know! - that Fehr will counter. They can even picture Fehr telling the players: 'I understand you want to take this offer. But let me at least see if I can get you anything better. Worst case scenario is they reject my counter and you accept their current offer. Worst case. I know what I'm doing.' Which is a reasonable thing for a seasoned negotiator to say (on the assumption that the current offer is genuine). And then Bettman freaks and pulls their offer off the table.

What would you think, as a player? I think I would be shocked, worried, and a little less confident in the guy who said there'd be no harm in trying for something a little bit better. And now the league is in just a little better position to get the players to jump at their next - worse - offer.

Paranoid? Maybe. But I don't think so. Bettman has been criticized for many many many things, but never for being a poor negotiator. Too bad the owners don't care that he's chipping away at the fan base every time he dashes our hopes. They need to be honest, or they need to shut the [expletive] up. Admit that they have a date in mind already, and that a deal won't be struck before then. Stop letting us get our hopes up only to pull hockey away from us again.

I'm the hardest of the hard core fans. I already had a boycott planned or I couldn't respect myself, but I figured it would be misery, and I'd be chomping at the bit to get back into an NHL arena. But now I don't think I'll miss it right away. This week hurt. I let myself get excited, and those hopes were dashed. It was bad enough when I couldn't understand it; it's worse now that I do. I need some time for the bad associations of this fall's negativity to fade. For me to be able to watch the NHL without being more bitter at the businessmen than amazed at the players.

Well done owners. Well done Mr. Bettman. The players are probably upset and unsettled. But so are your customers. I know, we're the sap who keeps taking back the heartbreaker ex. But everyone has their breaking point. Are you really so sure you know how close your fans are to theirs?

One would argue the fans are well, well past it.

Brian Ash would like season ticket holders to UNITE!

Season ticket holders unite!  Wouldn't the owners be a little more eager to reach a deal if they knew a lost season would cost them significant numbers of season ticket holders?  I have been a loyal MN Wild fan from day one.

I have never hesitated to renew my tickets after many bad seasons, or the last lock-out.  I just want to see NHL hockey!

I sent an e-mail to the Wild owners telling them I will not renew next year if they cancel the entire season.  I encourage all season ticket holders to tell their owners the same thing.  If enough of us act, maybe we can get "game on".

Via Heather Twomey of Tinley Park, IL, the opposite of holiday cheer:

From Heather:

When we were decorating our Christmas tree over the weekend, we hesitated a little when it came to this Blackhawks ornament. What to do? Do we even want to look at it this holiday season, which is supposed to be full of joy?

Then we came across our flying pig ornament, and chuckled a little bit as it all came together.

The combination of these two ornaments perfectly reflects our optimism about the resolution of the NHL lockout: they'll get it figured out when pigs fly.

Joe Burns has less a rant than a suggestion:

I know we're all pissed about there being no hockey, and many of us are dying to demonstrate to the league and players that this is not okay.  But let's face it, we all also can't wait for hockey to come back and many of us will begrudgingly let go of our spite in favor of enjoyment of the sport.

I have heard people propose sort of mini-rebellions, such as only buying one beer at a game instead of three.  Or only going to three games per season instead of five.  Now, I am very much in favor of doing things in the name of spite, but I find this idea to be rather cowardly, petty, and most probably ineffectual.  A million unified voices screaming at once would have a much greater impact than a million whispers spread out over the course of a season.

So what I propose is a league wide boycott on each teams opening home game.  Just don't show up.  No one.  Not in Pittsburgh, not Los Angelas, not New York.  Only for the first home game.  We can all get our frustration and spite out in one lump sum, (that would most assuredly be noticed).  Then we return to business as usual.  We be loving hockey fans for the rest of the season, giving the sport our full support once again.  But for just one game in each city, let's be as unified and as spiteful as we possibly can.

Finally, here's 'smithfieldjuffles' with a "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" parody that will make your heart hurt and your ears bleed.

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