In fact, it’s entirely dependent on access. If it’s there, I love it and follow it in absurd, time-consuming detail. And during the summer, I continue to attend to every delicious off-season detail. But if the league — not some natural disaster or other act of God, but the league itself — chooses to cease operation, I have no interest in hanging on its every word, every press release or conference call, every tweet or leaked insider quote, regarding whether or not there’s going to be NHL hockey any time soon. I am capable of taking the temperature of my team every hour or minute, but there is no team. I have no interest at all in taking Gary Bettman’s temperature at any interval. The NHL is like a girlfriend who dumps you and then insists on telling you every ten minutes whether or not she thinks you should get back together. To that hypothetical girlfriend, I would say:
Yes, pretend girlfriend, I loved you before you completely flaked out in a tempest of your own self-aggrandizing narcissism. And I even loved you enough to put up with your bullshit while we were still going out. But I don’t have to listen to it when we’re not dating. Call me when you’ve made up your mind, and we’ll see what I think then. But keep in mind, part of the bargain in our now-dead relationship is that you don’t fuck me over, and you’ve already done that. Twice. So, if I were you, I wouldn’t take anything for granted.
As I said in a post back in September, I’ve been following the NHL for more than forty years, but within that timeframe I have taken time off. One of those breaks lasted eight years (college, no TV, pre-ESPN). And I’m a die-hard fan. I spend about ten hours per week in ice rinks, and another 20 hours driving to ice rinks. And that’s without NHL hockey to pay attention to. Does the NHL really want to risk losing fans for a decade while they spend their money elsewhere? Even if the league comes back this year, I won’t be going to any games. I just spent my ticket money on my wife’s Christmas present.
See you in 2013?