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Trending Topics: Where all others have failed, YOUR NHL fan protest will definitely work

By Ryan Lambert

Trending Topics is a column that looks at the week in hockey, occasionally according to Twitter. If you're only going to comment to say how stupid Twitter is, why not just go have a good cry for the slow, sad death of your dear internet instead?

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We live in an age of protest for the first time in a while. The 1960s saw millions of people take to the streets to give voice to their beliefs, and that trend is now back.

Every year, people protest against things like unfair economic conditions around the world and the current U.S. banking system; and that kind of dissent has even come, to a far smaller degree, to the NHL.

We've seen rallies in favor of not-trading Jason Spezza, and we've seen them in opposition to the continued reign of Scott Howson, and against the management of the Maple Leafs. Now, we're starting to see demonstrations against the lockout; the recent one outside the NHL Store in New York is a prime example, as is this Saturday's "Give Us Our Game Back" planned event in Toronto.

Hockey protests, it seems, aren't exactly partisan. Canadians, both Sens and Leafs fans, have done them. American fans have done them. And they've all accomplished the same thing.

Jack squat.

Thus, it's logical to assume, if not wholly set your watch to, this rally attracting a few dozen fans at the absolute maximum, and absolutely nothing at all happening whatsoever. They'll mill around at whichever out-of-the-way street corner they choose to gather, maybe shout a few things. Some guy who fancies himself the Leader of this particular ineffectual movement might stand on a milk carton and shout some words with no one could disagree — "The lockout sucks! Whaddaya say, gang?" — to a smattering of applause.

Then… nothing.

The thing with these protests is that you everyone knows they're not going to do anything to sway the opinions of either the NHL or the PA.

Bill Daly is not bursting into Gary Bettman's office saying, "Gary, 12 people have clicked 'Attending' on this protest Facebook invite. We better start the season post haste!"

Likewise, the Fehr brothers aren't monitoring Twitter to see if anyone has a strong enough opinion to make them take a 30-percent salary rollback. Instead of glumly gathering outside the NHL Store in your Ranger jersey, you could have gone for a nice walk, read a book, or talked to a loved one. Think about it.

The entire thing is stupid. The idea of it. The execution of it. The sad attempts to get coverage for it. If you go to one of these events, you are dumb and wasting your time.

This is, apparently, especially true of the one planned for tomorrow. The fine folks at Pension Plan Puppets already told Torontonians not to waste their time on the matter, linking to a Toronto Star interview with one of its organizers, who said, "We're concerned about the lockout's effects on local businesses, on this city's and this country's hockey traditions."

Yeah, local business. A key component to all this. Because it turns out that even the slightest digging (okay, goading) from the PPP boys uncovered that some of the guys promoting this this thing are, you guessed it, small business owners. It is in their financial interest for you or your friends to show up to this rally and promote the idea that this lockout is not only hurting fans, but also local businesses around the rink. (This despite the fact there's no evidence that local economies are hurt by work stoppages in pro sports.)

So not only is this particular protest, it seems to also be cynical and half-assed.

Here's what you can do instead: Accept that this lockout is going to happen no matter how many people show up and protest.

What, exactly, is being protested remains somewhat unclear. If it's the general idea that the lockout is not a good thing for hockey fans, then maybe it's time to start protesting other demonstrably not-good stuff, like world hunger, human rights violations, or Michael Bay. No one likes that. Just go out in front of your house with a sign about how bad it is and walk in a circle. There, now you're Doing Something about it. Or at least, as much of a Something as this fan rally will accomplish.

Here's the deal: Nothing you do at any time in the next few months is going to matter even a little bit. Instead, if you think you can make a difference, wouldn't it be a better idea to do so somewhere it'll actually matter?

Instead of paying a hundred bucks for tickets to a game that has since been canceled, have a few beers and eat before and after, why not donate even some of that money to a local nonprofit or a charity that means something to you? Instead of spending hundreds of hours in front of your TV watching hockey this winter, you might want think about volunteering somewhere.There are causes that actually need your attention and support, and need it desperately. Giving that hour or two of your time you might have considered flushing down the toilet by attending a stupid rally would actually be put to good use. Doing even a rudimentary amount of research online will help you find organizations in your area, and the odds that you'll have to look at any self-important dummies in Leafs jerseys shouting about the lockout will be reduced significantly.

If you wanna make a difference, get serious about it and stop believing this crap will end the lockout any faster.

And if you're the kind of person who thinks organizing something like this is a good idea, stop wasting everyone's time.

Pearls of Biz-dom

We all know that there isn't a better Twitter account out there than that of Paul Bissonnette. So why not find his best bit of advice on love, life and lappers from the last week?

BizNasty on exciting lockout alternatives: "That was more uneventful than the movie The Grey. #Giants #Reds"

If you've got something for Trending Topics, holla at Lambert on Twitter or via e-mail. He'll even credit you so you get a thousand followers in one day and you'll become the most popular person on the Internet! You can also visit his blog if you're so inclined.



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