Here we go again right? The NHL lockout has surpassed the century mark in days of length and finally the two sides are back at the bargaining table with a drop dead date of January 11th in sight to save the season. The latest news from New York has the NHL and NHLPA trading proposals, followed up by counter proposals that will see the player’s association review the leagues latest response. More talks are expected Wednesday and while there appears to be some progress being made, both sides are staying tight lipped. A good sign? Some experts think so.
But is this just another dot along the lockout timeline that sees hockey fans get their hopes up by the somewhat promising negotiating sessions? Or is it just false hope that we’ve experienced countless times over the past three and a half months? Or do you, as a hockey fan even care that the two sides are meeting and trying to save a 48-game regular season in the next nine days?
Over the holidays I returned home and had the opportunity to catch up with some old hockey buddies who I’ve shared countless experiences with on the ice. Linemates, teammates and even opposing players, we managed to put our differences behind us and share a few holiday pops while reminiscing about the good old days.
I made sure to ask every one of them “do you think we’ll have NHL hockey this year?” Surprisingly most of them said the same thing – “who cares.” I was stunned.
Have that many hockey fans given up on the NHL by the third lockout in the last twenty years? It appears it may have. Granted this is a small sample size, but reading comments around the various hockey sites I frequent, the thoughts are the same. It’s billionaires fighting with millionaires and the fans are the ones who are suffering, so why should we care anymore? Why should we support either side?
I for one am cautiously optimistic that this round of talks will be the final one with the puck dropping somewhere between January 11 and the 19th. I use the word cautiously ever so timidly as I’ve used it in the past and it hasn’t exactly worked out for me. Yes, my hopes are up and I completely realize that I could once again have my hopes come crashing down faster than a Kim Kardashian marriage, but I still hold out hope.
Time will tell if the year 2013 will bring back the game we all love or if we’ll be faced to withstand the harsh winters without the game of hockey. So I ask you, do you have your hopes up with these latest rounds of talks? Or are you one of the many who have completely given up and lost interest?