Here we are again, hockey fans, the place that nobody wants to be. For the second time in eight years, the owners have locked out the players, and the start of the 2012-13 is now in serious jeopardy.
I once interviewed a former NHL player who was then working in the front office of a minor league team, and he said something that stuck with me: Hockey is a great sport but a horrible business.
There is plenty of blame to go around, unfortunately, and while one side seems a lot more at fault than the other, there are no angels in this mess.
The bottom line still is this: No matter who "wins" the lockout, the fans will be the big losers, as will the little guys who depend on hockey to make their livelihood. The millionaire players and billionaire owners will recover a lot quicker than the team employees, bar owners, arena employees and memorabilia dealers ever will.
Hopefully, this will resemble the NFL's most recent lockout (one preseason game cancelled) than the last NHL lockout (the 2004-05 season entirely wiped out).
Here's a look at the top five parties to blame for the current fiasco we see in the NHL as the lockout begins.