I think the fact that players quickly found other teams HUGELY damaged the NHL and the NHLPA. Sure it was great in the short term for leverage but what it did, at least for me, was to show that there's perfectly good hockey elsewhere.
It allows fans OF THE GAME to easily visualize what a new league could look like.
The longer this goes the longer I really despise the NHL's arrogance.
I love the game and would prefer to watch players play a more exciting brand of hockey. I hate the tendency toward snail-paced hockey that seems to surface every 5 years, led by coaches who want to take their talent-poor teams as far as possible in the playoffs. I hate that hockey.
I don't miss that hockey. I'd rather have no hockey than what we saw in last year's playoffs. And that includes my own team. Just bad hockey.