I am one of the proverbial "best fans in the world" (read: doormats) that Gary Bettman refers to.
The lockout has been frustrating, but I'm not in denial; I would have come back regardless of how long it lasted, and really I can't imagine anything that would sour me on the league enough to swear it off, even temporarily.
If I'm being honest, the NHL has already given me the only thing I ever wanted or could want from them, a season, but I guess they could always give me more.
Item #1 - Center Ice/Game Center Live
I've read/heard suggestions of free Center Ice/Game Center Live for the shortened season, and considering that I never got around to canceling my subscription, an extra $150 in my pocket would be nice.
Other than that, the only things I could really ask for are things I don't want.
Item #2 - Please Don't Make Us Raise LA's Banner
[Note: Written before Report of the Ducks opening in Vancouver]
I'm a little scared by the idea that that the NHL is looking to start the season with a full slate of rivalry games, as Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Puck Daddy reported last week. As Eric Stephens (and Jen) noted, the Pond is booked for the likely opening weekend so we'll probably open on the road.
Putting two and two together, I can only imagine that the Ducks will start the season as witness to the Kings banner raising ceremony. A concept almost as painful as the lockout itself.
Item #3 - No More Bullshit
More importantly though, the last thing I want from the League is a "Thank You Fans" message painted on the ice. I don't need any reminder of the fact that this is only a half season, much less a meaningless, patronizing PR gesture like that.
This lockout was never about the fans, in any way shape or form. It was about money; money for the players, for the owners, for Bettman and Fehr. My role in the process is to provide that money. Pay thousands of dollars per year to enjoy and celebrate a product so that they can argue over it once or twice a decade. I understand that and accept it.
Of course, I don't expect any of these things to come true. As much as they (Bettman, Fehr, the owners and the players) try to convince us that they care about the fans with empty comments, it's only because we're necessary to keeping them in business.
I'm just glad that I can FINALLY get back to it, and hopefully stop thinking about it that way.