The NHL lock out has ended, and word has leaked that beleaguered commissioner Gary Bettman deserves much of the credit.
Negotiations had come to a complete stop after days of measureable progress on a variety of contentious issues, such as the length of player contracts, the salary cap for upcoming seasons and the percentage split of revenues between owners and players. Optimism was high among fans, but a final deal was held up by the owners’ insistence that the players agree to play for less than previous years.
The story is now being told that at this point, it was Gary Bettman who bridged the final gap by agreeing to play goaltender this season for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the woeful and defenseless franchise from Ohio. Players were ecstatic at the opportunity to shoot from close range against Commissioner Bettman, and immediately agreed to the reduced value labor contract.
Reactions from players came hard and fast, much like the pucks that would soon be flying in Bettman’s direction.
“Bettman and his cronies have been going 5 hole on the players for months now. We look forward to returning the favor this season when we roll into Columbus,” drooled sharp shooter Patrick Kane. “Wear a cup, Gary.”
“I shoot hard like rocket. Hit in face. Laugh like dog,” stammered Russian star Alex Ovechkin in what was identified as a form of broken English. “I lose weight for change to be ready for dis.”
The players initially demanded that Bettman forego wearing a mask for this season as part of any final deal, allowing for more colorful damage to be done to his face. In the final hour, however, players relented and will allow for Bettman to dress in full protective gear for the games. Players reasoned that they can still hurt Bettman, even if he has pads, glove, stick and helmet.
Bettman said in a statement that he will also wear full goalie equipment at the league’s Fan Fest in Las Vegas which is open to fans of the game. He said that league security personnel recommended the extra body armor because fans share the players’ intense loathing of the commission and everything that he has done to ruin the game of hockey during his sad tenure.
Regarding the new security gear, said Bettman from behind the glass,“You can never be too careful. Hockey is a dangerous sport.”