NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr talks to the media during the NHL Winter Classic press conference at Comerica Park on February 9, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
I can see the comments right now.
- "You're the biggest idiot I have ever read."
- "Why do I waste my time on this site."
- "Has anyone told you how stupid you are lately."
I get that missing hockey is a bad thing for the fans that invest their time, effort, and hard earned money to the hockey team they love. I understand that not being able to watch hockey is just something that many people are just not going to stand for. But, hear me out on this one.
With a partial lockout, the NHL season would hopefully start some time between American Thanksgiving and Christmas. That would chop roughly twenty games off the schedule and leave a 62 game season. With the shortened schedule, the remaining 62 games would have a little more weight to them. If a team starts out poorly, their chances of making the playoffs are that much worse. There are a bunch of complaints about how long the season is anyways, so having a shortened season shouldn't be all that bad.
The added time should keep players healthier as they go later into the season. Twenty less games played is twenty less games worth of hits on the body. Heading into the playoffs, the wear and tear on the body should be less and the best players can be able to step up their game that much more. Injuries may occur early as players who may not have kept up with their workout routine suffer injuries.
Having less hockey might be good for the fans as well. The dormant time in October and November is a time that most causal Sabres fans aren't really paying attention to hockey anyways. Local interest on the team really intensifies when the Bills are done playing which would be right around the time the shortened NHL season would be starting up.
The diehard Sabres fans are going to find their fix somehow. The closest thing to professional hockey would be the AHL, who are going to start on time regardless of whether the NHL CBA is signed. In New York State, there are five AHL teams, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Binghamton, and Glens Falls. If you don't have a local AHL team to support, there is always the ECHL, with the closest one in Elmira. If semi-pro hockey isn't your thing, there is always college hockey. In Canada, you even have the CHL or countless numbers of junior leagues.
Hockey is going to be prevalent whether or not the Sabres are going to be starting on time. Checking out a team that you haven't seen in a few years might give you a renewed appreciation for the game of hockey. Besides, consistently following the CBA negotiations are only going to anger and annoy you.