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NHL players wearing ‘Puck Gary’ hats to bash Gary Bettman (Picture)

This just in: NHL players are generally unhappy with commissioner Gary Bettman. As with any labor dispute, there is ongoing animosity between the NHL and the NHL Players Association. As you can see from the photo above that TVA Sports passed along, some players in Montreal have decided to go elementary school with the whole thing and make hats bashing the perceived bad guy.

For those of you who can’t make it out, that says “Puck Gary” in fancy lettering above “2012-2013 NHL Lockout.” According to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette, Canadiens star Erik Cole says the hats could soon be available to the public with all proceeds benefitting charity. If grown men are going to act like children, they might as well do it for a good cause.

We all want hockey to return, but I think most of us can agree that hats that say “Puck Gary” do absolutely nothing in terms of working toward a resolution. From what we hear, most fans would probably rather spend their money on sex toys while the lockout continues anyway.

H/T Puck Daddy

NHL Quick to Change Rules for Playoffs

If you remember last year in the NBA playoffs, the inflexibility of David Stern resulted in the Phoenix Suns being punished for a rule that was interpreted outside its original intent (most likely). Robert Horry had cheap-shotted Steve Nash, Boris Diaw and Amare left the Suns’ bench, and the entire complexion of the playoff series changed from there. Well on Sunday against the Devils Sean Avery was constantly pestering New Jersey goalie Martin Brodeur by waving his stick around in the air only inches from Brodeur’s face. It was stupid, childish, cheap, and it did not represent the way the game is supposed to be played. So what did the NHL do to rectify the situation? They gave the refs the ability to penalize such behavior.

“An unsportsmanlike conduct minor penalty will be interpreted and applied, effective immediately, to a situation when an offensive player positions himself facing the opposition goaltender and engages in actions such as waving his arms or stick in front of the goaltender’s face, for the purpose of improperly interfering with and/or distracting the goaltender as opposed to positioning himself to try to make a play,” [director of hockey operations Colin] Campbell said in statement.

Now that’s how to make an adjustment. David Stern and the NBA should take a cue and learn something here. If the Devils were to lose the series because of Avery’s shenanigans — and every goal counts in playoff hockey — it would be a shame. I’m glad they made amends.

Gary Bettman Explains the Switch from NBC to Versus

The commish joined Mike and the Mad Dog as a guest on WFAN on Monday and took quite the beating. The hosts were peppering him with questions — namely, why was the plug pulled on the Senators/Sabres game that went to overtime? Well, turns out that regardless of what the wrath and scorn of the media would lead you to believe, the plug was not pulled. In fact, Bettman knew quite well that the coverage of the game on NBC would be lost if it went to overtime.

It wasn’t something that just happened on Saturday. It was something that we knew could happen and it was something that we all planned for.

When we made our deal with NBC they had a pre-existing contractual relationship with the Preakness. Covering the Preakness is more than covering the two-minute race. There are a whole host of sponsors and advertisers who buy the time that leads up to the Preakness. NBC had an obligation to carry it.

We were getting this game to the widest coverage for the longest period of time. If we didn’t do this game on NBC even with the possibility that the game was going to be switched over for overtime, then the entire game would’ve been on Versus.

So there you go — justification from Bettman. And I think he’s just in a crappy position all-the-way around. It’s lose-lose. If they televise it on Versus, nobody sees it, and everyone laughs that a NHL Conference Finals game is on a channel nobody gets. They took a gamble hoping for the best, and they got burned. The only other plausible suggestion would have been to start the game earlier. That’s something Bettman really didn’t explain well. He tried to attribute it to re-seeding from round-to-round, and the uncertainty that the game could be on the West Coast. Lame. That would have been the best solution in my eyes.