Gary Bettman: Hey guys, thanks again for helping me out with this, I really appreciate it.
Brendan Shanahan: No problem, Gary.
Brian Burke: Yeah, I'm not really busy this time of year.
Bettman: OK Brendan, who's up first?
Shanahan: Our first audition is … Tim Thomas.
Tim Thomas (strolling casually on to the stage): Hi guys!
The judges stare at him nervously.
Shanahan: Um… I think I speak for everyone when I say we're all waiting for you to say something crazy.
Thomas (laughing good-naturedly): What? Guys, come on, don't believe everything you read. I'm just a regular guy who happens to be a proud American.
Shanahan: Actually, every American I've ever known in hockey makes terrible decisions…
Bettman (reaching to high-five Shanahan): Ha! Burn on you, Brian!
Thomas: Nah, I'm the same guy I've always been. Sure, I've expressed some political views, and they may not happen to be the same ones you share. But that doesn't make me a bad person.
Shanahan: You know, that's actually a very fair point. So why don't you flip to page 12 of the script and read through some of the host's lines. This is the part of the show where you give out the awards that are already pre-determined, like the Art Ross, the Rocket Richard, the President's Trophy…
Thomas: DID SOMEBODY SAY PRESIDENT?
Thomas immediately tears off his tuxedo to reveal a vintage revolutionary war uniform underneath.
Burke: Um, did you make that yourself?
Thomas (proudly): Out of tinfoil!
Shanahan: Let's just get to the next audition.
Ryan Suter strolls onto the stage.
Burke: OK, so it says here your name is Ryan Suter.
Suter: That's correct.
Burke: And you play for the Nashville Predators.
Suter: Um… (glances at his watch) … sure. Technically.
Bettman: Ryan, which section of the show will be reading from tonight?
Suter: I'd like to do page 8, the tribute to Nicklas Lidstrom.
Bettman: Perfect. Any time you're ready.
Suter (reading): "The retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom will leave a gaping void, not just on the Detroit Red Wings' blueline, but throughout the NHL and indeed the entire hockey world…"
Bettman: That's really good, nice job.
Suter: "… but especially on the Detroit blueline. They're really going to need a big name to replace him or they're screwed."
Bettman: That's not what the script says.
Suter: "Luckily they have lots of cap space, so I'm sure money will be no object. In fact, if Ken Holland is here maybe he could just yell out a number right now, and we'll see if it sounds high enough."
Bettman: That will do, Ryan.
Shanahan: Geez, what is it about free agency that makes people lose their minds?
Shanahan and Bettman notice that Brian Burke is setting a large pile of money on fire.
Burke: Sorry. Force of habit.
Shanahan: OK, next up is… uh oh. John Tortorella.
Tortorella walks onto the stage and glowers at the judges. There's an awkward pause.
Bettman: Um… OK, John. Thanks for auditioning. Let's have you read from the part of the script where you hand out the Hart Trophy. Go ahead and tell us who won the award.
Tortorella (icily): I think we've already covered that.
Bettman: No we haven't, John. Who won?
Tortorella: We'll just keep that in the room.
Shanahan: That doesn't even make sense.
Tortorella: We done here?
He storms off, brushing past Tim Thomas who is marching around playing "Yankee Doodle Dandy" on a flute.
Shanahan: Let's move on.
Bettman (suddenly): Hey wait, I'm American!
Burke: OK, our next audition is from… Paul Bissonnette.
Bettman and Shanahan: BizNasty!
Burke: Wait, is this that guy from Twitter?
Bettman: Twitter, social media, you name it! He's interviewed on TV and radio like every day, newspapers love him, and he even has his own clothing line. He's everywhere!
Bissonnette: Thanks guys. And, uh … obviously, I also play in the NHL.
The judges stare at him in confusion.
Bissonnette: … Yes?
Bettman: Which team?
Bissonnette: The Phoenix Coyotes.
Bettman: Wow, who knew.
Bissonnette: You actually sign my paychecks.
Bettman: Yeah, you know what, I don't think is a good idea. Sorry, no NHL players from Twitter allowed. That means you too, Luongo.
They look over at a man tweeting on his phone while wearing an obviously fake moustache.
Roberto Luongo (looking up): Uh… who said I was Luongo?
Bettman: You're not fooling anyone, Roberto.
Burke: You know, that guy would be a huge upgrade on the Maple Leafs goaltending situation.
Shanahan: Yeah, but I doubt the Canucks would trade him to you.
Burke: No, I meant Bissonnette.
Bettman: Sigh. This isn't going well, is it Brendan?
Shanahan: Well, Paul Bissonnette just won $10 on a slot machine, used it to buy the Coyotes, and put himself on the first line. Ryan Suter and Brian Burke are arguing over who'll win the Winter Classic. And Roberto Luongo can't get home because apparently his rental car has a flat.
Bettman: Can't anyone help him with that?
Shanahan: Tim Thomas says it's not his job.
Bettman: Maybe we should just skip having a host this year.
Shanahan: That might be best.
Bettman: Oh well, look on the bright side.
Shanahan: Which is?
Bettman: Thanks to the upcoming lockout, we won't have to worry about this show for a few more years!