Maybe the lockout wasn’t quite as bad as we thought. No doubt, it felt like a back-stabbing in the midst of it; owners and players squabbling over how to divvy up the $30 I pay for my ticket in section 312 in Scottrade Center. The lunacy of taking away the coolest game on earth (trademark NHL, circa 1998) was almost too much to overcome. I took it hard. I swore off the league and promised I wouldn’t come back to the game this season. And I was able to stay away for the most part…until the playoffs. They were spectacular this year, from the Blues’ first round loss to the Kings through Game 6 last Monday night in Boston. I watched at least one hockey game per night for 2 straight months. The bitterness and anger I lobbed toward the game evaporated little by little, with each hip check, poke check, and pad save.
Now that the season’s over, I’ve realized the one and only POSITIVE aspect of the lockout: it shortened the off-season! You know, the offseason…that dreadful, miserable, humid, sweaty stretch of time between the end of the Final and Opening Night. During the lockout, at least there was the possibility the players and the owners would strike a deal, so at any given time, we were—theoretically—only a week away from hockey. But now, as we sit here nearing Independence Day, there is absolutely ZERO chance of an NHL game being played for the next 3+ months. Which hurts. But at least by Independence Day this year, the Cup Final still lingers fresh in our memories. Other years, live hockey has been dead for 3 weeks by July 4th. Sure, free agency and the draft are exciting. But those passing fads don’t fill the time between 7:00 and 10:00 every other night.
If it sounds like I’m BSing, and just trying to find some sliver of a silver lining to this whole lockout, given that we’ll probably have a new one on our hands September 1, 2019, well yeah, you got that right.
We don’t know just yet when the 2013-2014 NHL season will start (in normal years, the schedule comes out in mid-July, but with the Phoenix Coyotes in limbo, who knows when it’ll be released?) but the first Saturday in October is when most of the league typically plays its first game. This year, that’s October 5th. 7:00 is when the Blues would play if they’re in the Central time zone. Here’s something to do to help pass the time. Enjoy. It’s almost as exciting as watching baseball.