But there should be a symbolic gesture from the fans that although they'll forgive, they can't forget the recklessness of those entrusted with building as well as protecting the sport.
When the NHL returns, every fan should stand up in their seats and turn their backs away from the action for the first couple minutes of the first game back.
Do what they did to you.
Turn your backs on them.
It's purely emblematic. The owners won't drop to their knees in anguish over their careless handling of their product. The players won't pay attention. But it would — for a split moment — tell those who needlessly shut down the sport that although their actions didn't diminish the fans' love of their favorite sport, it made them realize that the NHL doesn't appreciate its fans as much as it should.
Will the NHL offer an apology or some type of minimal restitution to those whose livelihoods depend on a full 41-game slate of home games? What about the downtown restaurant and bar employees who count on steady foot traffic on Wings' game nights? What about the Joe Louis concession workers who rely on multiple jobs to make basic ends meet?
Their “reward” is half a season is better than none at all.
But quite honestly, neither the owners nor the players deserve much appreciation for finally ending something that never should've started in the first place.