If this were any other year, I would be spending many of my nights in front of the TV intently watching the Detroit Red Wings take on several other NHL teams.
Unfortunately, this is not another one of those years, and thousands of NHL fans are forced to direct their focus elsewhere as the league is in the middle of a lockout. After 71 days of lockout, fans now have missed more than 400 regular-season games, and it officially has been announced that the lockout will continue until at least Dec. 14.
The NHL’s annual Winter Classic, which was scheduled to take place in Ann Arbor and be a part of a week of festivities involving Comerica Park in Detroit, also has been taken off of the schedule due to the owners and the NHL’s Players’ Association at a gridlock.
The Great Lakes Invitational, featuring a game between MSU and Western Michigan and a game between Michigan Tech and Michigan, was scheduled to take place outdoors at Comerica Park on Dec. 27-28 to go along with the Hockeytown Winter Festival and Winter Classic. Because of the festival cancellation, the games will be played indoors at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Dec. 29-30.
The NHL brings joy to the players and fans, revenue to the city and business to local sports bars and pubs, so most everyone is affected by this lockout.
Many NHL players have gone elsewhere to continue play, such as the Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk, who has returned to Russia to play for CSKA Moscow, Henrik Zetterberg and newcomer Damien Brunner, who have returned to Switzerland to play for EV Zug, and Jakub Kindl, who has gone to the Czech Republic to play for HC ČSOB Pojišťovna Pardubice.
Former Spartan Torey Krug of the Boston Bruins has gone to the American Hockey League (AHL) to keep active during the lockout.
Personally, every day around 3 p.m. when I get my Red Wings text updates, my heart sinks a little bit because not only is there no NHL now, but I realize that there is a chance that the rest of the season might be canceled.
Some fans believe that the NHL should cancel the season so that we can be put out of our misery and so that fans are not all hanging on a thread waiting for games to be announced every few weeks. Like many others, though, I would rather be hopeful, hanging on to a glimpse of a season rather than knowing it’s not going to happen at all.