After losing the first two weeks of the NHL season, fans are mourning the loss of 82 games, with the spectre of losing even more, if not the entire 2012-13 season.
From the amount of comments we've received on our NHL stories and through social media like Facebook and Twitter, it seems many fans aren't in the same place with their grief.
What do we mean by that? Well, it means many of us who were looking forward to the start of the NHL season are experiencing vastly different emotions. Psychologists and counsellors routinely classify people who are experiencing a loss of some sort into five distinct stages of "normal grief," which we outline below for those fans who are taking the lockout especially hard:
Stage 1: Denial
It's normal to deny the fact that the NHL isn't coming back (yet), blocking out the news that things have gotten this bad and that the two sides cannot come to an agreement. You're typically ignoring anything associated with the lockout, a defence mechanism to keep you sane through the pain.
Things you might say: "Go Leafs!"
Stage 2: Anger
The shock has passed and the realization is starting to set in. The situation makes you upset, and the feelings of powerlessness to stop the lockout only make you more agitated and angry.
Things you might say: "Why am I yelling at Gary Bettman/Donald Fehr on the TV? What am I doing?" (Feeling guilty about being angry also tends to make you even more angry.)
Stage 3: Bargaining
You feel as though if you are able to make a pact with a higher power (in this case, the NHL commissioner or the executive director of the NHLPA) it might fix things and allow the NHL season to return. Oddly, bargaining is just the thing the two sides are having trouble with.
Things you might say: "Maybe if I went to more/less games they wouldn't be in this mess."
Stage 4: Depression
The sadness and regret over possibly losing the NHL season, and cheering for your favourite team sinks in. You regret not spending time with others that depend on you as well, and may be hurting just as much as you over the loss.
Things you might say: "I just need a hug."
Stage 5: Acceptance
Que sera, sera; whatever will be, will be. The NHL season is in jeopardy, but you've made peace with the fact that it's out of your hands and begin to move on, sometimes to the loving arms of other hockey or other sports.
Things you might say: "It's gone. It's gone and it may not come back for awhile. But I'm OK. I'll dig out my AHL/CFL/MLB/NBA/NFL/soccer jersey and put my NHL sweater back in storage. I won't forget it, but I won't let it bring me down."
Well, with that, we want to know where you believe you're at with the NHL lockout. Vote in our poll and have your say! Also, feel free to get it all off your chest and vent in the comment section below.