Into the woods: After getting lost, I built a cabin

Drew Hallowell

As many have probably noticed, I am no longer compiling the morning links. The reasons are many, and simple: I'm happier without hockey.

As has been announced, I will no longer be publishing the daily Fly By's at BSH. Since that has been the only thing I have done here for quite some time, it's basically like I am retiring. However, I will instead be following in the footsteps of Mike Rathje: staying on the (figurative) payroll despite only rarely showing my face. I just can't quit you!

At least one of you have asked why. The answer is at once complicated and simple: I hate everything.

Sure, my free time has been significantly reduced since I finished school, making it harder to devote so much time to writing. But I left school 18 months ago. Sure, moving to Virginia makes it harder to follow the Flyers, but I could easily get GameCenter again. Sure, the lockout made me furious, but I was watching old Caps games over two months into the lockout.

I had not given up on hockey this season until the NHL cancelled the Winter Classic. That is the NHL's big event every year, the one regular season moneymaker the league has. They would have sold nearly 110,000 tickets; Sold jerseys, hats, scarfs, t-shirts and more to extremely passionate fans in Toronto and Detroit; earned an estimated $3 million in corporate sponsorships; and so much more.

And yet, I have never been able to answer why. In an argument over money, the league lost it's biggest regular-season revenue generator.

Stupidity is everywhere. Look to comment sections on Philly.com, Puck Daddy, or BSH's own Facebook page. Greed is also everywhere, seen all around us. I have no doubt both the NHL and NHLPA both believed they were acting in the best interests of their members the entire time. But the fact that the NHL decided it was smart business to cancel the Winter Classic takes stupidity and greed to a level where I immediately tapped out.

I have better things to do with my time than devote energy to a league that acts in such a way. I got a gym membership. I spend time with my girlfriend. I got a handle on my finances. And perhaps most importantly, give me baseball and soccer, get rid of a salary cap, and I'll enjoy not having any lockouts. I fill my weekends with Barclay's Premier League games and am looking forward to the Phillies' season.

I've moved on.

But the Fly By was still there. I began to get frustrated with the articles I was reading in my overpopulated RSS feed. Suddenly, I remembered all those authors and sites I had already purged from my RSS, whether for professional or personal reasons. All those authors who had either shown themselves to be incredibly poor hockey writers and/or incredibly embarrassing individuals, I wasn't reading them and I was still irritated with the stories I was reading.

Upon realizing even the good writers and the good people were now annoying me, it became obvious that the problem was no longer just the words on the screen. If the good writers irritated me, how could I correctly judge whether the poor writers had improved? It was no longer worth my time to read the people I liked, nor was it fair to you that the only items I shared were those I could tolerate that day.

So here I am, watching a replay of this afternoon's Southampton vs. Chelsea match, aware of the result, and still enjoying the inevitable, disappointing surrender of three points. The real test will come when there's a Flyers game on in Virginia (22 times, apparently), but the lockout showed me what I was missing.

I like life without hockey so much. I'm thinking it's not a bad place to settle down for a while.

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