Niagara Gazette — The NHL lockout is over, and I find myself being part of the group of people that find this to be extremely refreshing news. My relationship with the NHL is very similar to that relationship most people have with their best friends when they were younger. Your best friend was usually a free spirit that preferred to do things that got you in trouble as opposed to being a productive citizen. But nomatter how much your best friend made you angry, you just could not stay mad at him.
The NHL is the same way. No matter how counter-productive and annoying the NHL may get, I just cannot stay mad at him. The NHL is that friend that calls you at three in the morning because he knows that you are the only person that will put up his bail money after an especially adventurous night on the town. Oh, the NHL has his own money. But he prefers to borrow his bail money from you.
Why do fans like me put up with the antics of the NHL? Because the NHL has our beloved Buffalo Sabres, and life without the Sabres would be downright unlivable. When you bail the NHL out of jail at three o’clock in the morning, you make him promise that he will still get up for work in the morning and give us our Sabres. When you get up in the morning and the Sabres aren’t there, then you feel cheated. You want your bail money back, but you know you are not going to get it. Sometimes you just want to punch the NHL in the mouth.
None of your other friends understand why you put up with the NHL. “You know, there are plenty of other hockey leagues you could be friends with,” they tell you. “Hockey leagues that don’t need to reach into your pockets for bail money and hockey leagues you can rely on to make it to work every morning.”