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As the NHL's lockout continues, the first two weeks of the schedule are officially canceled. For the second time in less than a decade, the league is holding the great sport of hockey hostage. But at least not everyone is in denial.
It happened. The first two weeks of the season are gone.
There's some speculation that since the NHL was very specific in canceling the dates and not the games, that it's possible all 82 games could still be played as part of a condensed schedule. But who really expects a resolution to be in place in time for that to happen? Talks aren't even scheduled to resume until next week, so it's only a matter of time.
The other downside to a condensed schedule is the increased risk of injury to the players. Look at the NBA, who managed to squeeze in 66 regular season games starting on Christmas after last year's lockout. Nearly every team was affected by injuries in a major way, with many superstars missing time due to the increased physical demands and shortened days of rest. Do we really want a half-baked NHL season where Steven Stamkos, Jonathan Quick, Eric Staal, and Jack Johnson suffer season ending injuries because the NHL wants to make up lost time?
I have to seriously consider if I want to continue supporting a league run by a man who thinks it is ok to use this hostage tactic time and time again to get a better deal. Why should I spend my hard earned dollars just to be told it's not good enough?
I'm frustrated. We all are. The only consolation of this whole mess is that we're in it together. The problem is, it's the very sport we love and the teams we support that are holding our own passion hostage. The almighty dollar rules again. Whenever the league decides to get their act together, we're expected to line up to purchase $100 tickets and $8 drinks.
I happened to log on to Facebook, and noticed a post from the Blue Jackets at the top of my newsfeed. I was ready to get even angrier. I was ready to read some type of denial, encouraging fans to come in and pick up the hot new merchandise on sale at the Blue Line. But then I read this...
We wanted to take this moment to remind YOU to use this page as an open forum to air YOUR thoughts, comments, compliments, concerns, and frustrations...
Rest assured that everyone within the organization sees them...
With that said, Thank YOU for using YOUR voice!
They're in it with us. Maybe not the owners, who can be as much to blame as Gary Bettman. But the people. The Blue Jackets are made up of many great people - some I know, many I don't. I care about those people, and they're going through this too. Reduced salaries, other teams are letting people go. But they're not in denial, and I respect that. It made me feel a little better.
Maybe the mere fact that I'm writing this will help me cope. Maybe it will help you, too. I encourage everyone to share your thoughts. What does this mean to you? Will you be back? Or is it too much to take for the second time in a decade? Either way, you're not wrong. Fans have every right to be furious. But no one should be in denial.