Gary Bettman: Attention! Everyone, can I have your attention?
Nobody notices him amid the noise and chaos. Bill Daly, wearing a "Santa's Little Helper" hat, hands Bettman a director's megaphone.
Bettman (shouting into megaphone): Attention everyone!
No luck. Nobody can hear him.
Bettman (sighing): Pierre, a little help please?
Pierre McGuire: HELP WITH WHAT?
Bettman: Thanks Pierre. OK everyone, listen up. This is a very big night for all of us. The NHL's annual holiday pageant is one of the league's most important events, and our friends and family want to see a good show.
Bettman peeks his head out between the curtains and surveys the audience. Colin Campbell is standing on a chair in the front row, holding a video camera and waving furiously.
Bettman (closing curtain): Yikes. Alright everyone, this gym holds hundreds of people, so for you Thrashers and Islanders this will be the biggest crowd you perform in front of all year. Let's make it count. OK, where's my Santa Claus?
Bruce Boudreau: Ho, ho, [expletive deleted] ho.
Bettman: And where are Santa's elves?
The Montreal Canadiens' top two lines: We're here.
Bettman: Great. And what about Scrooge?
Daly: Uh, he said he had something to take care of.
Daly motions offstage, where Lou Lamoriello is handing pink slips to all the stagehands.
Bettman: Good ol' Lou. Hey, did we ever end up getting any volunteers to play the Three Wise Men?
Ron Wilson, Brian Burke and Richard Peddie: Sure did!
Daly and Bettman stare in horror.
Daly: Um… maybe we can write their scene out.
Bettman: Good idea. OK, has anyone seen Tiny Tim? Adorable little guy, looks so grownup in his big boy suit and his scrunched up angry wittle face…. Oh, there he is!
Cory Clouston: This is degrading and I'm not doing it.
Bettman: Oh, you're doing it, junior. Now you're supposed to be disabled. Do you know where we could get some crutches?
Clouston: I'll go ask Pascal Leclaire, he carries a few spares with him at all times.
Bettman: Good idea. OK everyone, let's run through the big dramatic scene with the three ghosts. Is the Ghost of Hockey Future here?
Sidney Crosby appears, wearing a white Penguins road jersey with the number 87 on the back.
Crosby: I'm here, boss.
Bettman: Great. And what about the Ghost of Hockey Present?
Crosby changes into a #87 black Penguins home jersey.
Crosby: Right here.
Bettman: Wonderful! And what about the Ghost of Hockey Past?
Mario Lemieux: I'm here.
Bettman: Hey, where's your costume?
Lemieux: Please tell me your weren't actually serious about making me wear that.
Bettman: Of course!
Lemieux sighs heavily, then pulls on a #87 Penguins third jersey.
Lemieux (storming off): Learn some history.
Bettman: Wow, who's the cranky old guy?
Daly: I have no idea. Sid said he knew him. I think maybe it's his grandfather.
Bettman: I don't like him. Scrooge, take care of him.
Lamoriello (pulling a pink slip out of his pocket): With pleasure.
Daly: Um, sir, we may have a problem.
Bettman turns around to find Pascal Leclaire slumped on the ground, bleeding heavily, with shards of jagged bones jutting out of all four limbs.
Bettman: Dammit Pronger!
Daly: Uh, actually, Chris Pronger's not here this time. He's on the IR with a broken foot, remember?
Bettman: Oh. Then who…
Clouston: Actually, don't worry about it. This happens to him three or four times a week.
Leclaire (barely conscious): Butterfly... landed… on me….
Clouston: Get up, Pascal. Even without functioning limbs you're still better than Elliott.
Bettman: OK everyone, it's almost show time. I think the crowd is getting restless.
(From the crowd, a lone voice can be heard shouting "We want Greg! We want Greg!")
Bettman: Bill, what's the status? Are we ready to go?
Daly: Well, Pascal Leclaire just wandered by the decorative candles and caught himself on fire. Pierre McGuire is refusing to perform his Silent Night solo because he doesn't understand what the word "silent" means. And Bruce Boudreau just taught the little children an alternate version of Rudolph where all the reindeer are from Nantucket.
Bettman: I see.
Daly: Oh, and Lou Lamoriello just had security escort the Baby Jesus out of the building.
Bettman: So basically the whole thing is a disaster.
Daly: An unmitigated, unprecedented, unsalvageable disaster, yes.
Bettman: Well then, you know what we have to do.
Daly: Call Matthew Hulsizer and see if he wants to buy it?
Bettman: Good job, old friend. And Happy Holidays to all!