A Lump Of Coal

Up until this point of this bafflingly insipid lockout, I’ve kept an arm’s distance from getting too emotionally invested in the day-to-day goings on in these so-called “negotiations”. At my core, I knew that there was going to be a significant amount of time missed, and that everyone would be beyond aggravated with the principals on either side, but that ultimately it would be too foolish to waste this much time, or the entire season. But, no one has ever gotten rich betting on the NHL using common sense. Perhaps I was more deluded and emotionally invested than I thought, because selfishly, I really wanted there to be hockey today, and it’s really hitting home now that there isn’t.

Today, the day after Christmas, or Boxing Day as it’s called in Canada, has traditionally had a Blackhawks home game scheduled for the evening for as long as I can remember. When dividing up my tickets with my friends with whom I split them every September, it’s either the first or second game I select.

Regardless of the opponent, the Boxing Day game, particularly during the Hawks’ renaissence, has always been a boisterous affair, with asses packed to the rafters and the crowd just itching to erupt during the anthem. It’s palpable in the parking lot, the sidewalks of West Madison, and inside on the concourse. A healthy amount of snow often gridlocks those proceedings, only adding to the feverish intensity. Perhaps the spirit of the season has seeped over onto our hockey bloodlust, or every last one of the 22,000-plus on hand are simply stir crazy at that point after having to endure a gauntlet of family functions in the two or three days prior. No matter the cause, it’s always been a must-attend game for me, as it’s also traditionally the last time anyone sees Patrick Sharp until mid-March.

But that’s been taken away from all of us this year, just as it was in 1994 and 2004. Even if by some Festivus miracle a semblance of a season is salvaged before the death blow comes -and the executioner’s blade is being sharpened at present for that – I know the season won’t hold the same place for me, not that it would anyway after how badly everyone involved has been tarnished. It is undoubtedly silly to hang that much meaning on a mid-season game in poor weather, as that’s usually the province of Bears fans. But today is a day that beyond any of the others prior or forthcoming that I’ll feel the lockout’s sting the most.


  • OMFS88


  • You guys don’t call it Boxing Day? Really? That’s the first I’d heard of that.

    I don’t know if you’re watching the Juniors, McClure, but I’d highly recommend it. It’s the best hockey-viewing experience I know of outside of the NHL playoffs. The broadcast times are pretty weak this time around, so once the big games begin in a few days (the final round robin games and then the elimination rounds) I’m just going to make sure I don’t look for results and watch the re-broadcasting of games at reasonable hours as if it’s live.

  • Jim A

    I know what you’re saying. I took my son to his first Hawk game on Dec. 26
    back in the 80’s against the Blues. He was not yet five and was not too excited until the Hawks scored in the 3rd period. Our angle was perfect and we saw the puck go in a half second before the light went on and nobody reacted until after we jumped out of our seats. After that, he was hooked.

  • justforkicks

    it just makes me sad. i don’t understand how both sides can let it go this far. i haven’t been a fan for many years, but i’m not ready to let it go but its like every day i see the nhl being chipped further and further apart until there won’t be anything left. i read online that a canadian lawyer said they should just have amateurs play for the cup. if they do that, imo, it’ll be just one check in the they don’t get it column. i love the sport, but the players are a huge chunk of that. for now i’m just glad there is the WJC, ahl, and highlights of the euro games that i can watch.