We came back after 1994-95, and again after 2004-05. We’ll be back after this one, too.

There’s been a bit of a hiatus on the site as we focused on our personal lives in the offseason. Leave it to us to start writing when the league is locked out.

I simply can’t be angry. I’ve tried, honestly. I tried to raise my voice and attempted to flail my arms around like a 70-year-old Italian woman telling a story. I even clenched my teeth once when I’d finally heard enough of about the yet-to-be-clearly-defined “hockey-related revenue.”

None of it takes. I’m just trying to cover up my sadness and disappointment that the NHL has been taken away from me, from us. My subconscious knows it.

The main problem? I don’t know where to direct my anger, and that simply depresses me. The owners, the players, Donald Fehr, Gary Bettman. They’re all guilty. Every last one of them. How do I pick a side when they’re all arguing over my money? And that’s exactly what they’re arguing over – our money, the almighty dollar.

The money we invested into attending games, buying merchandise and whatever else to help make the fourth of four major sports in America – where 23 of the 30 teams call home and where the last 18 Stanley Cup champs reside – grow by billions of dollars over the course of the last Collective Bargaining Agreement.

We watched the NFL lose a traditional offseason and the NBA cancel a chunk of its campaign over money, and we hoped the NHL would be better than that, recognizing it’s place among the sports food chain and knowing the risk of losing the casual fan that’s on their way to becoming knowledgeable because of growing interest.

We’re already living in a world where “record growth” is equivalent to “the Stanley Cup Final having less viewers than “Swamp People.” Take that as you wish – even though I personally don’t care – but less fans means less money for everyone.

Now, the only thing the owners and players collectively are doing is being stubborn, leaving bargaining a ways away and an agreement even farther off. Go ahead and tell me the NHL will be back by Thanksgiving, or even by Christmas, and I’ll ask where you’re finding that sort of optimism. That would mean striking a deal by early November in order to have some sort of a training camp and a few exhibition games over the course of three weeks to start by or around Turkey Day.

That’s roughly a month and a half from now. The sides have been at it for about 2 1/2 months, and neither has budged more than the over-gelled hair of a douchebag in hurricane-force winds. I’m all for being optimistic, but a prediction of this lockout ending even relatively soon has no base until any sort of progress is made.

It’s all a bunch of squabbling amongst people who are letting “the best fans in the world” be deprived of a sport they want us to love the most. And again, being angry with anyone is tough. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to take a pay cut at my job, nor would I want to continue losing money in my business.

Being mad isn’t an option. Why? Because I’ll be back. I’m not going to play a game with you and say that they’re losing me as a fan just because I want to sound as stubborn as them. I’ll be sitting in Section 326, Row 12, Seat 9 at the United Center for this season’s home opener – whenever that may be.

Once the NHL says it’s time to drop the puck – no matter how deep into the season-ticket booklet I have to flip – you’ll have to kill off a member of my family in order to give me a good excuse for missing a game. All this stuff about losing fans? I couldn’t care less. If I was the only fan and the NHL was somehow able to survive off my allegiance, I’d be sitting front and center every game without having to deal with all you assholes who walk around while the puck is in play.

I know many of you feel the same way, and that’s why I’m not angry. The cult-like devotion to the NHL is what makes the sport so fantastic, and those diehards don’t care who comes back when this lockout is over, just that the ones who matter are there. I’m sad about not seeing those who have sat in Section 326 with me since we got our tickets in 2008, and I’m sad I won’t be able to turn on a random West Coast game to fall asleep to each night.

I can’t be angry at two sides that have their best interests at heart, because I’m only considering myself when I think about how badly I want the NHL to get past their issues and give me hockey.

Vancouver fans, Red Wings fans, ‘Hawks fans – we’re all on the same side right now. We all want hockey. Then we’ll be able to shout obscenities and in each others direction with no remorse.

Until then, I’ll be sitting here waiting impatiently with the rest of you.