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The great jersey purge; honeymoon ruined; another sad 3-year-old (THE VENT)

THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com, Subject: The Vent.

Don Bolling used to have a lot of hockey sweaters. Then he removed everything with an NHL logo. Now, instead of a lot of hockey sweaters, he has closet space.

I was introduced to hockey during my teen years and quickly became an addict. I loved the speed and excitement of the game, especially live. I was one of the league's bedrock fans, (especially of the Original 6) spending thousands of dollars on sweaters, autographed memorabilia, the Center Ice package, etc. Now, I won't wear a single piece of NHL branded clothing.

Why would I, to advertise what an absolute [crap] show the league has become? It's the laughingstock of "professional" sports. Does the league not understand why other sports' work stoppages had media coverage in the United States? Hint, it's because people actual CARE about the other major sports. Just as we thought we were coming out of the shadows, with marketable stars, riveting playoffs and a game that (mostly) had eliminated the ugly clutching and grabbing, you decide that, once again, a lockout is your best negotiating tactic. When, and if, you come back, be prepared to compete against MLS and the WNBA. It's probably easier to find their games on TV anyways.

Here is my sweater collection, before and after removing all the NHL sweaters. Out of seventy sweaters, all that is left is a CCCP jersey, two University of Maine sweaters, two Team Canada sweaters, a Peterborough Petes sweater, a Spokane Chiefs sweater, a KHL Lokomotiv jersey. one Team Russia jersey, two Team Sweden sweaters, and AHL Utah Grizzlies, Manitoba Moose, and Rochester Amerks sweaters.

Gone are a vintage Bobby Orr, and old sweaters from Hartford, Quebec City, Winnipeg and Minnesota. The Steve Yzerman sweater from the 1984 All Star Game is gone, as is the Gretzky Oilers sweater. No more Leafs, Wings, Rangers, Bruins, Habs, or Blackhawks. No more Sabres, Flames, Coyotes, or Thrashers. Gone are the Predators, Sharks, Blues, Caps, Senators, and Devils. The Flyers, Stars, and Wild are gone. The list goes on and on.

I've had enough of this bush league bullshit. The sweaters are all packed away, and maybe someday they will come back out — but not this year. I've had enough. I'd like to say I'm staying away from the NHL forever, but I don't think I could hold to that. I'll watch the games when they come back, but I will not spend another dime on NHL related merchandise ever again, I guarantee that.

I will work on expanding my collection of international and minor league sweaters instead.

Suck it, NHL.

Before we go any further: thank God you put those in storage, Don. If your vent had ended with you telling the world you burned that incredible collection, I don't know if I'd have been able to deal with that.

Next up: Randy Quinn wants Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman gone.

The NHL lockout seemed to be headed in the right direction the week. Progress was in the headlines and there was even the glimmer of hope. The biggest reason for me to hope was that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr had been left on the sidelines. All for not as Bettman tonight announced that the NHL had rejected the latest proposal and decided that the two side should not meet until at least the weekend. When the heck did Bettman go from the sidelines to being in the negotiations? When did Donald Fehr get involved?

(I realize that I may not have all the facts or even close to the facts but then again, this is a vent.)

I have maintained that the best way for the NHL and the NHLPA to get a deal done was to lock Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman in a room somewhere and then go somewhere else, where the sides should be able to come up with a deal.

These two are responsible for the two biggest black eyes (and almost a third) in professional sports. Fehr led the MLBPA players on a strike that led to the cancellation of the World Series and came close to wiping out Cal Ripken's streak because MLB was talking about using replacement players. Gary Bettman locked out the players in 1994 and the NHL has the distinction of being the only league in North America to lose an entire season because of a labor dispute. Way to go! Now these are the two head figures slugging it out in a labor dispute. Talk about having no hope. (For the record, the cancellation of the world series is the bigger of the two.)

This is the third lockout for Bettman. He even went so far as to mention the NBA and NFL lockouts. He said something to the effect that those league locked out the players and got what they wanted. (Not so for the NBA. Both sides didn't like the deal and I'm sure some where someone is taking bets as to who will opt out first) Yeah, this may be true but the NFL and NBA didn't lose an entire season over it. I don't think the NHL can afford another stoppage and Bettman should be shown the door after this latest round regardless of the outcome.

Fehr isn't much better. I debate whether he is worse or not. Six of the Eight contract negotiations he has been involved in have resulted in work stoppages. But wait, I hear you say, After the 1994 MLB stoppage there has been labor peace. This is true. However I think that it was more out of the embarrassment of having the World Series canceled by a labor dispute. Even worse, MLB has one of the most laughable drug policies in major sports. Do you know what one of Fehr's first moves as NHLPA head man was? He got the players to vote down a proposed realignment. The players didn't do this for any reason except to show the NHL that NHLPA is back. Not for any reason having anything to do with the actual proposal, just a show of might. For all the good it actually does.

The easiest way to achieve peace and get back to playing hockey is to get rid of these two. They shouldn't be anyway near a negotiating table.

The lockout has ruined Pamela Erskine's honeymoon. What's worse, she can't walk away from the league over it because she has a penguin tattooed on her leg. it's just terrible.

Hello, I am a soon-to-be-bride from Seattle!

I have a very special distinction of being in the womb with my sister when my parents travelled to Vancouver, asked Pat Quinn for a hotel suggestion, and got to see Tony Esposito in goal for the Blackhawks. Perhaps our love of hockey spawned on that trip, the sound of the very loud game making it through to the womb. We were born only a couple weeks later.

Why am I submitting to The Vent? Well, my honeymoon is ruined. I'm 37 years old. This is my second marriage, a second chance at this institution that so brutally ruined me the first time. Who doesn't want a spectacular honeymoon? I was going to take the Amtrak bus to Vancouver, stay several nights at my favorite hotel, The Hampton, with the sick jacuzzi room, get laid, and watch two NHL games. Yes, there are two WHL teams near Seattle (Everett Silvertips and the "Kent" Thunderbirds). But let's get real, the NHL is the best hockey in the world with the best players in the world. It's miles above the WHL in quality. I was going to go see Vancouver play Boston and St. Louis or St. Louis and Columbus. Wuh wah. Not going to happen.

So what do I do? Book a honeymoon in the Cascade Mountains: a little German town where you eat a slab of meat, drink beer and enjoy the snow. Sure to be fun, but nowhere near as fun as a trip to Vancouver. I love that city. And now this damn lockout has stolen my dream. Looks like Marriage #2 is going to have a rocky start. Thanks NHL. Don't get me started, I have an iceskating penguin tattooed on my leg from losing a bet in '09. I've had a crush on Mario Lemieux since I was a teenager back in the '80's!!! You can't just turn your back on a league when you have a Pittsburgh Penguins logo on you leg. WTF?!!!!

Chloe Adams gives us a short but powerful entry:

BRING BACK HOCKEY PLEASE I MISS IT SO MUCH IM DYING I MISS GAMES AND HOCKEY AND UGG

Well said.

Finally, we've already featured a handful of videos where a parent coaches their young child through a brief and adorable cry to bring back hockey, and so long as they remain both brief and adorable, we'll keep on keeping on. Here's another one, this time featuring a 3-year-old Blackhawks fan.

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