Shanahan is a natural choice for the job, but sources tell me he wasn't the only candidate. It turns out that several other star players from Shanahan's era were interviewed, and I've managed to obtain a top secret transcript of the proceedings.
Scene: Gary Bettman's office.
Gary Bettman: Well Brendan, that wraps up the interview. And I think Colin and I can agree that you completely nailed it.
Brendan Shanahan: Hey, thanks guys.
Colin Campbell: You're a perfect fit for this job. But before we can make it official, we do have some other candidates to interview.
Bettman: Yeah, you know how it is. We need to make sure everyone gets a chance to speak with us. After all, you're not the only former NHL star who might be interested in the job.
Shanahan: Oh. OK, I guess that makes sense.
Bettman: Great, thanks for understanding. (Into phone intercom): Send in Jeremy Roenick.
Female voice on intercom: Right away, sir.
Jeremy Roenick: Hi guys. Thanks for having me here. I really appreciate it.
Campbell: Thanks Jeremy. My first question for you is....
Roenick: Nice desk. Is that mahogany? I love mahogany.
Campbell: That's great Jeremy. If you let me finish my question, I was...
Roenick: You know back in 1991 with the Hawks, we were in a tough series with the North Stars...
Campbell: Stop talking.
Roenick: So I'm playing on a line with Steve Thomas, and it's late in the third period...
Campbell: Please stop talking.
Roenick: I'm afraid that's not possible. Once I get going I'm not physically capable of silence.
Campbell: Maybe we should move on.
Bettman: Good idea. Our next candidate is former Maple Leaf captain Wendel Clark. Why the interest in this job, Wendel?
Wendel Clark: Well, I'm really concerned about all the dirty hits these days. So I'd institute a strict policy to reduce them.
Campbell: Which is?
Clark: First offense, I punch you in the face.
Campbell: Wow. And on a second offense?
Clark (cracking knuckles): There wouldn't be any second offences.
Campbell: Good point.
Roenick (still talking to himself): And then I say to Chelios, "Loosen up old man, it's the 90s ..."
Bettman: OK, our next former star is... uh oh.
Wayne Gretzky: Hi Gary!
Bettman: Oh man.
Campbell: Wayne, you're applying for my job?
Gretzky: Yeah Colin, I'm looking to pick up some extra income. You see, my last employer didn't pay me everything they owed me.
Campbell: What? That's an outrage! Tell me who it was, so Gary and I can go take care of it for you.
Campbell: I mean, this is hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. Anyone who would try to short-change him deserves a serious beatdown!
Bettman: Really not helping here, Colie.
Gretzky: Actually I don't think I'll need your help, because I brought a little backup of my own. I think you gentlemen remember (pauses dramatically) ... Marty McSorley.
(Bettman and Campbell look behind Gretzky at an empty doorway.)
Gretzky (confused): Marty? That's your cue, Marty.
(From outside comes the sound of tires squealing as a car makes a speedy getaway.)
Gretzky: I don't understand, why would he take off instead of... oh. Hey, Wendel, didn't see you there.
Clark: Hello Wayne.
Gretzky: I didn't know you were applying for this job.
Clark: Sure am. Want to hear my policy on uncalled high-sticks?
Gretzky (quickly): No thank you.
Bettman: OK, let's just move on to the next candidate. (Into intercom:) Send him in, please.
Female voice on intercom: Yes sir.
Patrick Roy: Bonjour!
Bettman and Campbell (immediately): No.
Roy: Oh come on!
Campbell: Patrick, we saw you play. You were a crazy person.
Roy: So you don't want to hear about my "automatic suspension for turning down a goalie fight" idea?
Roenick: And then I deked past the twitching corpse of Sami Kapenen, went in and scored the overtime winner!
Clark (leaning over to Roy): Man, is that guy ever annoying.
Roy (removing Stanley Cup rings from each ear): What's that? I couldn't hear him.
Gretzky: Hey, isn't this the part in these things where Chris Pronger usually shows up and attacks everyone?
Bettman: Good point. (Into intercom:) Um, by any chance is Chris Pronger waiting out there to attack all of us?
Voice on intercom that sounds like Chris Pronger pretending to be female: Um... no. You guys just go back to what you're doing.
(The sound of a chainsaw can be heard revving up outside.)
Bettman: You know Wendel Clark's here, right?
(The chainsaw stops.)
Intercom: Sorry to bother you.
Campbell: OK, so just to summarize: Wendel Clark wants to punch everyone in the face, Patrick Roy thinks goalie fights should be mandatory, and Chris Pronger is wandering the streets outside with a chainsaw. Also, Wayne Gretzky just high-sticked Gary Bettman in the face.
Gretzky (holding bloody hockey stick): Did not!
Campbell: Brendan, do you have anything to say about all this?
(Everyone stares at him intently.)
Shanahan: Hockey play?
Campbell: I knew you were perfect for this job. You're hired!