Time was when a Torontonian could round up a group of friends, make a reservation at popular local pub Real Sports, then head on down to take in the Leafs game while ingesting a half dozen tiny burgers.
It was a simpler time, before this frustrating NHL lockout made such an evening an impossibility.
But hey, if you're frustrated, Real Sports remains a great place to eat your feelings. Hockey or no hockey, at least you can still make a reservation to get together with a group of friends and eat a half dozen tiny burgers.
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That is, unless you're a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs. As Joffrey Lupul just discovered, membership in the NHLPA means the lockout extends to the restaurant next door to the Air Canada Centre.
"Real Sports is not allowed to take reservations from Leafs players during the lockout," a bemused Lupul tweeted Sunday, "but will continue selling our jerseys for $300 a pop."
And it's not as though Real Sports is just using the lockout as a lame excuse to refuse Lupul a reservation because he's a bad tipper or something. James Van Riemsdyk corroborated Lupul's account. "Same thing happened to me a month ago," he tweeted in response (although both Leafs forwards have since deleted the tweets).
This all seems pretty strange. Why would the lockout have any impact on Lupul's ability to book space at the eatery next door?
Because the eatery next door is owned by the team. From the National Post:
Real Sports is the popular team-created establishment next to the Air Canada Centre, with a giant television screen on one wall, smaller screens throughout and an exclusive upper deck where Leafs players can typically enjoy a more rarified air during busy periods. The lockout, it would appear, has denied them that access.
... A representative with Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment declined comment on behalf of the company, which owns the Leafs, as well as the restaurant.
Unthinkable. Next you're going to tell me Comcast is making locked-out Flyers players pay for HBO, Showtime and Cinemax.
This is rough. I mean, the lockout is a pain for all of us, but at least you can still get a foot-long poutine dog without a hassle. Not so for these poor, poor players.
This might be the twist of the knife the NHL needs. I mean, it's one thing to be missing out on your paychecks while you wait for a better deal. But the moment the lockout forces you to wait to be seated alongside everyone else, it might be time to take the offer.
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