Oh, we'll come back. We'll ALWAYS come back.
We were too young to know what was going on with the labor dispute in 1994-1995. So we don't really even count that one.
But we were seriously affected by the lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-2005 season. Our definition of "seriously affected": we spent our money on other shit that entertained us. We didn't take it personally. Then when hockey returned, that entertainment money went back to hockey. Didn't really think twice about it.
And it will happen again. Whether this lockout wipes out the entire season or if action picks up come January, we will be there, waving our Lincolns at the Penguins and the NHL. It's entertainment, plain and simple. There are people huffing and puffing, saying that this is the "last straw" when it comes to their NHL fandom. All we say to that is...yeah, right -- especially if you're reading this right now. You'll try to keep your hard-line stance for as long as possible, but that will go away at around 7:05 on the first night of games. Book it.
And there are people saying that they're not going to invest time and money in the Penguins or the NHL anymore. The time argument is valid, but that goes hand in hand with the whole entertainment factor. Do you invest time in going to see a movie? Never heard someone use that expression before. And then the "investing money" argument is 100% bullshit. When you invest money, it means you are putting money into something with the expectation of greater financial gain. Sporting events do not qualify. Don't use that phrase. Makes you sound like a tool shed.
Are we upset/frustrated/sad about the NHL not starting at the beginning of October? Absolutely. But the world doesn't revolve around us. It revolves around money. And the Sun.