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Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

So the NHL is locked out. That sucks. There's really nothing we can do to speed the process along, so we might as well enjoy what hockey we can. Folks in London, Ontario, for instance, cram the recently re-branded Budweiser Gardens (puke) to capacity for almost every single London Knights game, and you know what? It's fun hockey. The defensive systems aren't always intact, but the truth is, hockey is more fun to watch when the play doesn't resemble the back of an opened watch. Perfectly-run systems aren't exactly a thrill.

Let's take the advice of folks like Cam Charron in the below-linked piece about checking out hockey in different places, because he's very right to point out that the NHL isn't the only place to watch the game. I know, I know, it isn't the best in the world, but it's better than wasting your time protesting a group of people whose actions you will never influence.

On to the links.

The Maple Leafs and leadership: who is the real leader of the band here?
My own inclination is to think that Phil Kessel, despite all his shyness with the media and others, is the guy that players look to when the going gets tough. He's the most talented player on the team, and, when you're a goal down, he's your best bet to score. Maybe he's not the heroic leader some people want him to be, but goals usually speak louder than interviews. Article from Mike Langlois.

The "Hockey Not in Canada" protest is mis-guided and counter-productive
Cam Charron is a fan of the game, not the NHL. A good read at The Leafs Nation.

Josh Leivo is OHL Player of the Week
While it might not be reasonable to let our expectations float too high, it's still nice to see that Leivo is doing well. Story from Alec Brownscombe at MLHS.

Which Joffrey Lupul Will Show Up for the Toronto Maple Leafs?
At Maple Leafs Central Matt DiPasquale wonders aloud.

Last game for Lupul
It might be a great time to trade Lupul - his value will unlikely ever be higher - but even though he may not ever produce points like he did through the past season, his $4.25M deal isn't a bad one even if his point totals drop off a bit. At least, this past off-season might have been the time. Article from Raihan Hussain at WWAC.

Dylan Yeo, minor-league veteran adds depth to Marlies blue line
Story from Kyle Cicerella.

KHL Highlights - Monday, October 8, 2012
Steve Dangle and Andrey Osadchenko offer English translations of some pretty sweet highlights. Was anyone else aware that Paul Maurice was coaching in the KHL?

Next round of NHL labour talks won’t focus on key issues
"So it's agreed, we'll order Chinese." Story from Chris Johnston.

Get To Know The Swedish Elitserien
This is a fun article from Dirty Dangle, but be warned that some images are not exactly safe for work viewing.

Consequences of a 40-game season…
So... you're saying there's a chance? Article from Cam Charron.

Money is diminishing hockey enrollment above all else
Sounds reasonable. From Chris Lund at Backhand Shelf.