Having become a hockey fan only in 2009, this calamity has been my first NHL lockout. Now that the NHL (and yes, I blame the NHL for all of this) has managed to get their shit together and end this insanity, here's what they (and the Ducks) owe me for going through this grief.
Item # 1 - Gary Bettman's Head
Not literally (I'm mostly a pacifist), but if the league is serious about putting this business behind them, Bettman has to go. Fan apathy is going to be almost impossible to overcome, but the league dismissing its greatest villain would go a long way toward appeasing some fan anger. It also signals a sea change in the league, which is much needed given that Bettman has now presided over three separate lockouts.
The owners are always fond of reminding the players and the fans that hockey is a business. Tell me another business where a chief decision maker would be able to dismantle a brand on three separate occasions and keep their job. While mostly a symbolic move, firing Bettman would be a smart first step by the league.
Item #2 - Another Year of the Finnish Flash
I'm sure that the Ducks will do everything they can to bring Teemu Selanne back next year, so I'm laying the onus on the NHL to make sure that we get the Flash in some capacity next year. If Teemu truly decides to retire after this season, then the NHL: owes me a series of one-on-one hockey lessons with Selanne.
Item #3 - Respect from the Ducks
Aside from the actual lack of hockey this season, the worst thing about the lockout is the completely tone-deaf manner in which clubs like the Ducks have continued to interact with fans (especially season ticket holders). You know what I wanted to do on Black Friday last year? Go to a matinee game against the Blackhawks. I didn't want to be invited to skate on the ice in an empty Honda Center, just so I could be reminded of what I was missing.
I understand that the team is trying to put its best foot forward, but it comes off as callous and delusional. I'd like the Ducks to seem more contrite about this and to have an air of gravity in their communications, not a series of cheerful missives about opportunities to skate on the ice or watch high school hockey at Honda Center. I'd really like to get a letter from Henry Samueli when this is all over where he takes some responsibility for the lockout (he is an owner, who locked out his players, after all). Just admit some culpability and some genuine remorse for causing this. It would help me feel like they see me as more than an account number.