fehr

Coping with the lockout

If there was a book on making a Mafia movie, you wouldn't have to get far into the book to find a chapter on love triangles. Pick a gangster: Tony Soprano, Henry Hill, or any character played by Joe Pesci, and they all had a wife and girlfriend. It is a tiring storyline that always starts and ends the same way. Wife is taken for granted. Knows her husband is a murderer and makes money off being a criminal. She then finds out her husband has a mistress.
 
She cares, confronts him, and threatens to leave, but she doesn't, as she can't see a life without her diamond rings and her mansion. Of course, she loves him as well. She doesn't like it, but in the end, she always comes back.

 
That's exactly how I see the lockout. We can huff and puff all we want about wanting to leave, but we aren't going anywhere. Hockey fans are a very loyal following. It is hockey or nothing. I rarely see hockey fans watch other local sports with the same vigor. It is a cult. A niche sport. You need your hockey fix. The owners and the players know this. That's why they are going to a lockout, even though both parties are making tons of money. They don't think the other party deserves more than they do, and they think we will sit and wait while they figure it out. 
 
Now, this isn't exactly an earth-shattering point of view. People have been saying this for months now. I would have made the point before. However, I just didn't care. I didn't care about bitching about the lockout. So, you've come to the wrong place to find a rage storm about it.
 
Honestly, I'm kind of ambivalent about the whole situation. I've experienced more labor pains in professional sports than what the Octomom has gone through. It comes with the territory. It is a business. It is sad, but that's the world we live in. I've come to terms with it just like Carmella Soprano came to terms with her husband screwing other ladies.
 
Right now, I just kind of wish the owners and players would stop playing this PR game. Just shut up and stay in a stupid room and try to get a deal done. I can do without the high-pitched squealing of Bettman or Donald Fehr's over-the-top "We are getting fucked!" rhetoric during press conferences. This isn't an election. Does it really matter which side we pick? These guys have to work together at the end of the day.  Do we need to fall into the media's trap of picking a side? Do you think Donald Fehr cares what you think? Ask baseball fans. As the Godfather said, it is nothing personal, it is strictly business. That's exactly what the players and owners are telling themselves when the fans getting boned gets brought up to them. 
 
We will be back, so why go nuts? Why put ourselves through the grief of this? Do we have to be such a gluttony for punishment sports society? It is bad enough to be a Buffalo fan and feel that nothing good will come from it, but this? Unlike the fortunes of our franchise's win/loss record, it will work out in the end. Hockey will rise again from the ashes.
 
I feel Twitter was made just so we can bitch and complain about sports. When a professional sport or team gives us the opening to yell about how stupid they are, we run with it. We love complaining about how we have been wronged. When they come to terms, Terry Pegula will write an apology to the fans and take 70% off Sabres merchandise. Maybe the Sabres will trade for a center. Put it all together and a number of fans will run to the stadium like it was last year. All will be forgiven. The media will bury the lockout and turn to hyping the season in order to get people excited. And onward goes this sports news cycle.
 
But for me, I just don't care. I don't care whose fault it is. They are millionaires and billionaires trying to figure out what to do with revenue. I don't feel sorry for any of them. I wish I had their problem when trying to split the dinner tab with friends.
 
There's been a lot of misery on Twitter because of this. I get that and I'm not trying to tell you what to yell and scream about. The NHL has a history of fucking over fans. Call this practical advice. Instead of being miserable, watch something else.
 
The Bills are…um..next. The NBA is starting soon. MLB playoffs have been exciting. Go to Rochester and watch the Amerks. The Walking Dead is back! Game of Thrones is available On Demand. Ben Affleck just did a movie that doesn't suck. (Editor's note: All the movies Affleck has directed have been very good so there. -HB) The election is going down to the wire. Read a book. I'm on the 4th book in the Game of Thrones series and it is a hell of a lot better than an Islanders/Sabres game. Halloween is coming, which means hot girls will dress in skimpy outfits. I'm coming home for Thanksgiving. Alright, that doesn't really concern you. But my point is, we aren't on a deserted island when it comes to entertainment.
 
I'm just of the mindset that eventually cooler heads will prevail and things will work out. I know that the media, NHLPA, owners and some fans want to act like every press conference is some sort of death knell for the season, but it is October 29th, not January 29th. Of course both sides are going to make it sound awful so they can get the other side to panic and make concessions.  I'm hearing people in the media and fans say they may lose a season. Two maybe. They aren't going to shut down the league, people. I'm hearing they are going to cancel the All-star and Winter Classic Game. Really? Do you think they may be doing that to put panic into the hearts and souls of the fans and players? Do they really need 2 or 4 months of prep time for each event? I don't think so.
 
We can live with hockey being delayed. And if the season goes down to 60-70 games? Big deal. The season is too long anyway. Plus, you can market it as every game matters.The NBA had a 66-game schedule last year and they did great at the gate and no one cared about the lockout after the season ended. It will be the same for the NHL.
 
Also, I think making me wait for the Sabres may be healthy for me. I know, I'm crazy. However, I wasn't that excited about this upcoming year anyway because of the lack of centers and just the stagnation of the product. Maybe making me wait will miss them more and want them to come back. I don't know, that's just my opinion.
 
I know it is tough because everyone is piling on. It is like being at a Sabres/Bruins game and 100 people are booing Chara when he carries the puck and you decide to join the chorus. Next thing you know, everyone is booing. We are monkey see, monkey do kind of people.
 
I know most fans are so loyal to hockey that they can't think of doing something else, but try it. Your clicker goes beyond the NHL Network or WGR. Don't torture yourself. When hockey does eventually return, we will have more than enough to torture ourselves about because the Sabres still don't have any centers. See? It can get worse.
Joe

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The Lord of Buffalo Wins

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