One of the more depressing things about being a hockey fan is that your sport is synonymous with words like "lockout" and "work stoppage" as opposed to...um, whatever the opposite of that is.
The second lockout in the past decade has been more torturous for fans than the last, for two reasons. One, there's no "good fight" this time around; the argument is simply about dividing the money, not improving the on-ice product. Second, the proliferation of social media has made the commiseration aspect of this lockout ten times worse than the last, allowing fans to spread their hatred and annoyance as easily as hitting the post button.
However, with the drop-dead date looming, the two side have started actual negotiations, exchanging proposals and working late over the past few days as opposed to the constant posturing and "leaking" of false information we've been subjected to for the past few months.
There's been a number of different drop-dead dates reported, but Gary Bettman recently put January 11 as the NHL's last official date to get a deal done. Seeing as how we're getting pretty close, and the league would surely like some time to finalize paperwork and legalese, we could see a deal as early as this week.
I'm still of the mindset that a deal will get done - there's too much to lose for them to blow up the whole season - but we'll know either way in a few more days. What do you think, Sabres fans? Will we be seeing the end of the lockout soon?