Photo via Media Bistro Because of the NHL lockout, owners lost roughly 15-20 home games worth of revenue and players lost about 40% of their 2012-13 salary. But the biggest losers in the lockout were fan bases and “common” people across the country who depend on hockey to make a living. With the lockout ending early Sunday morning, it will be interesting to see if fans flock back to arenas when the season starts in the middle of next week. It will be interesting to see what teams do with ticket prices or if there is any sort of recognition toward the fans. Sabres goalie Ryan Miller acknowledged that the players and owners have to make up ground when it comes to winning back the fans’ allegiance. Through text message with Adam Benigni of WGRZ in Buffalo, he apologized to the fans of Western New York: “It is so poor that we wasted 34 games for each club and have alienated our fans and sponsors. An apology doesn’t really help right now but I would like to start somewhere with our fans, especially in Buffalo. I am sorry.” For the diehard hockey fan, an apology probably isn’t necessary as their hockey thirst is about to be quenched. But for casual fans, the apology isn’t/shouldn’t be enough. It’s pretty sickening to think that it took months to come to nearly the same agreement that could have occurred in July. To the casual fan, the NHL has a PR nightmare on its hands and although a simple “I’m sorry” won’t suffice, it is a small step in the right direction. It’s nice to see Miller step up. And if the league and players’ association had any clue (we know they don’t), they’d have Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Quick and Pavel Datsyuk at least doing the same.