The lockout is over, finally. As the details are worked out and we wait to hear exactly when hockey will be starting again, the big question at this point is how does the lockout affect the league. Between the 2004-05 lost year and this mess of a season, the NHL was on a roll, increasing on the previous year's impressive revenue every season. The NHL was on track to become a very profitable and popular sports league, crawling out of the OLN basement and getting national TV exposure (minus ESPN).
Unfortunately, that streak will come to an end this year with half the season lost to yet another work stoppage. The question as to how large that impact will be rests on us, the fans. Will we pick up with the same intensity as we left off last season or will we hold this lockout against the league and our favorite team? Will we spend less on merchandise, go to fewer games, and watch the latest season of American Idol instead of whoever the Sabres happen to be playing that night?
Personally I can't do that, and not only because I think American Idol sucks. I'd like to stick it to them and cost them a few bucks to show my frustrations over these past months but I've waited long enough for hockey and that first game can't come soon enough. As for merchandise, the internal debate as to who's jersey I should pick up to replace my now out-dated Gaustad sweater has already started. The NHL won't be losing this fan...or any of the cash I plan on blowing for games, jerseys, etc.
So, I'll be "there" opening day and every game after that in some aspect. What about you? Vote in the poll and explain your position in the comments.