Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Inside Gary Bettman's playoff pool draft

"What do you mean we need extra
chairs for your 18 assistants?"
Scene: Last Wednesday, hours before the start of the first playoff games. Gary Bettman and Brendan Shanahan are in a boardroom at the NHL head office, preparing for the league's annual office playoff pool draft.

They're joined by the GMs of several teams whose teams didn't make the postseason. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly is finishing up an explanation of the pool's rules.

Daly: And finally, you need to pick at least one goaltender. Or, if they've already all been taken, Marc-Andre Fleury.

Bettman: OK, time to pick the draft order. Bill, will you do the honors?

Daly shuffles through a baseball cap full of scraps of paper and pulls one out.

Daly: And the first draft pick goes to… the Edmonton Oilers!

Everyone stares at him.

Daly: Sorry, force of habit. The first pick goes to Gary Bettman.

Bettman: Oh goody! Let's see, who should I pick. There are ever so many choices, I have no idea who I'm going to…

He looks up and realizes that everyone has already crossed Sidney Crosby off their draft sheets.

Bettman (sheepishly): I pick Crosby.

Daly: You're up next, Shanny.

Shanahan: I take Shea Weber.

Bettman: That's a great pick. You know, as long as he doesn't miss any games.

Shanahan: Oh, let's just say I'm pretty sure he won't.

Awkward silence.

Shanahan: It's ironic foreshadowing.

Daly: The next pick goes to Brian Burke.

Burke is sitting with his tie loosened around his neck. He looks down at his cheat sheet, which is prominently labeled "NHL players not born in Ontario".

Burke: OK. My strategy going into this draft is to build from the goal out, while focusing on big, physical players who throw body checks and fight. So my pick is Marion Gaborik.

Daly: Um, you just did the exact opposite of what you told everyone your strategy was.

Burke: Do you have a point?

Daly: Never mind. The next pick goes to Jay Feaster. Jay, please restore some sanity.

Feaster: I take Jarome Iginla.

Daly: Sigh…

Bettman: Jay, just a reminder, this is a playoff pool. You're going to want to take players from teams that are in the playoffs.

Feaster: We feel confident that the Flames will be there.

Bettman: That's completely impossible and everyone knows it.

Feaster (enthusiastically): We're going for it!

Bettman: You're delusional.

Feaster: Agree to disagree.

Bettman: Sigh… Bill, who has the next pick?

Daly: The next pick belongs to the Montreal Canadiens. Since they don't have a general manager, they sent the two current leading candidates for the job.

Bettman: Uh oh. You don't mean…

Ron Hextall: I'm here!

Patrick Roy: Me too!

Bettman: Right. I don't suppose there's any particular reason why you two are each wearing full equipment and sitting at opposite ends of the room?

Hextall: Oh, you'll see.

Bettman: Fine. Go ahead and make your pick.

Roy: I think we're going with a forward.

Hextall: Actually, I'd prefer a defenceman.

Roy: It's on.

Roy immediately discards his glove and blocker while racing to the center of the room, where he's met by Hextall. They enthusiastically trade punches.

Burke (now with his tie completely undone): Hey, I don't suppose either of you can play center?

Daly: The last pick of the round goes to Steve Yzerman of the Lightning.

Yzerman: OK, Bill, give me a few minutes. I want to get this choice right. After all, if you get your first major decision wrong you might accidentally set a precedent that ruins the rest of the playoffs.

Everyone turns and stares at Brendan Shanahan.

Shanahan: What?

(Fast-forward ahead several hours. An exhausted Daly is trying to get the draft wrapped up.)

Daly: OK, to summarize: Gary Bettman has drafted Sidney Crosby in every round because he doesn't know the names of any other players. Jay Feaster's team consists of Jarome Iginla, Olli Jokinen, Lanny MacDonald and the 1975 Washington Capitals. And Rox Hextall and Patrick Roy are currently out in the hallway fighting with samurai swords.

Roy: There can be only one!

Daly: Burkie, you're up. This is your last pick of the draft, and you still need a goaltender.

Burke (now wearing his tie around his head, Rambo-style): We'll take Patrick Kane.

Daly (exasperated): OK, see, Brian, he's not a goaltender.

Burke: We'll be fine.

Daly: You cannot win unless you have a goalie.

Burke: I am unfamiliar with this policy.

Daly: Look everyone, the rules are the rules. We can't just ignore them when it's convenient. Right guys?

Bettman and Shanahan just stare at him in confusion.

Daly: OK, fine. Let's just wrap it up. We've been at this so long that I think the playoff games have already started.

Shanahan: Hold on… (He checks his cell phone): Nope, no incoming messages about flagrant acts of horrific violence. The playoffs haven't started yet.

Shanahan's phone begins to smoke, then suddenly explodes.

Shanahan: And... the playoffs are here! Happy postseason everyone!


  1. I'm now picturing Burke sitting in the press box with his tie around his head Rambo-style, and can't stop laughing.

  2. Haha don't know why I found it so funny but the image of Roy and Hextall fighting with samurai swords is comic gold to me

  3. OMFG you win the internet for this post.

  4. Great, now I just have to explain why I am uncontrollably giggling in class.

  5. Was expecting a Felix run-in on Roy vs. Hextall.

    (Felix should fake a resume and send it in to the Habs. If they're looking seriously at Lucky Luc - whose role with the Kings basically amounts to community relations and approval of uniforms - as GM, then Felix might have the inside track once Roy defects to Nords 2).

  6. brilliant as always!

  7. goaltenders? i'm not familiar with that concept. gold.

  8. Awesome! Loved the following:

    Daly: You cannot win unless you have a goalie.
    Burke: I am unfamiliar with this policy.

    Too true.

  9. What, no "BOO-yah!!"?

    I kid, DGB; Comedy Gold as always. Besides, everybody knows that GOalie Fights are the best kind of fights!

    ~Das Rhino.

    1. There's no spot for Chris Pronger at the Playoff-Pool

  10. "I am unfamiliar with this policy" - pure gold.

  11. I haven't laughed this hard in a while. Thanks DGB!

  12. Awesome.

    For a while there I thought you were turning into this other guy I know, "Down Goes Tan," but you Browned up considerably with this one.

    Not Norm

  13. Loved the Yzerman comment! Pure genius as usual.

  14. Um, you just did the exact opposite of what you told everyone your strategy was. - classic.

  15. "There can be only one." Beautiful!

  16. Read DGB on lunch break, end up choking on food. Lesson learned. Completely hilarious.

  17. You make boring days worth it! Loved it, chuckled a few times.

  18. Priceless. It's playoff time.

  19. This was one of the funniest things I have ever read. Just broke out in laughter in my microeconomics class.

  20. Funniest read I've had in months. Just fantastic.

  21. Love the Jay Feaster stuff

  22. Thank you for taking swipes at Shanahan on behalf of Red Wing fans everywhere.

  23. @countbettman on twitter will not be happy about this

  24. This is so true it's almost not funny. And yet it is.

  25. Feaster (enthusiastically): We're going for it!
    I loved this part

  26. HAHA awesome article, I knew Shanahan's first pick before I even read it.

  27. Bettman should have drafted Sidney Crosby and the entire Coyotes organization.

  28. || And finally, you need to pick at least one goaltender. Or, if they've already all been taken, Marc-Andre Fleury. ||


  29. haha =) that is excellent stuff.. keep 'em coming =)

  30. Very funny. But nobody's gonna point out Marian Gaborik is spelled wrong?

  31. That was beyond better than what I expected, and I expect a lot from this site. It made me audibly laugh every..single...line!!