When you're dying to watch professional hockey, you have to search for alternatives.
The American Hockey League may be a reasonable place to turn.
You won't see the best players in the world, but you will see professional hockey players with various talent levels.
The AHL is a 30-team league that is designed to develop players for the NHL. Member teams are associated with NHL teams, although not all NHL teams have had minor league clubs in the AHL on a yearly basis.
In a normal season, AHL teams that are strong in the beginning of the season may see their talent level diminish as the season progresses because the parent club may have to bring minor leaguers up as a result of injuries or poor performance.
However, the 2012-13 season is not a normal season. With the NHL locking out its players, there's no need to move minor leaguers to the NHL.
Here's a look at the top seven contenders for the league's Calder Cup, the trophy that goes to the AHL's championship team on an annual basis.