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If the NHL season starts on January 19th, will you be back?

The NHL and NHLPA have been having serious talks the last two and a half days, giving many hope that they're working towards starting the 2013 NHL season some time soon. The latest they can go before calling the whole thing off is January 11th, so time is of the essence. January 19th as a possible start date for the season has been bandied about so the league has enough time to get in at least 48 games.

Most of us, I'm sure, aren't holding our breath for a resolution. It's frustrating that it's taken both sides until 2013 to sit down and have productive talks without one side or the other storming off in a huff. These negotiations have been decidedly drug out and demoralizing for people on so many sides. Team employees would like nothing more than to go back to work, or at the least go back to work full time. Players want to play, owners would love to make money (see: 20 team playoff schedule proposition), and fans would probably really like to spend $8 on a beer again.

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Not every fan would, of course. There are many people who are saying that they're done with the NHL for good. Some others are saying that they're taking time away from the league and are focusing on other hockey leagues. Casual fans, many of whom have been courted by the league via the Winter Classic and some killer playoff matchups, might tune out. Having a sport lose three months of the season can do that when you're a niche sport in a good chunk of North America.

Fans of smaller teams need to come back if they like going to games. Despite calls for boycotts, if fans of those franchises walked away in disgust for whatever reason, the league's shown that they have no qualms about relocation to a more favorable market. Speaking with your wallet doesn't work for fans of every team. Thrashers fans spoke during a flush time of stability for the league, and look what happened. 

I'm not saying that if you're upset you shouldn't stay away. It's everyone's choice as to how they're handling the lockout and the possible end of it. Will you care if the teams hit the ice soon? Is your reaction one of irritation and anger? Or, and this is probably the most popular one, is your reaction just a plain and simple "meh?"

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.

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