It's not that Gary Bettman doesn't like fighting, he just doesn't understand it. On the ice, off the ice, in the ring, or on a street corner, he doesn't get it. There's no distinction, and there's no purpose. Furthermore, he's terrified of it. He is, after all, a lawyer, and though I'm not saying most (if not all) lawyers are terrified of fighting, I would say that if I were terrified of fighting I know what profession I might pursue. (Just to be on the safe side, I hereby retract everything I've said so far, and then some)
Convincing Bettman that fighting has a place in hockey, is actually good for the sport, and brings drama and excitement to the fans may seem an impossible task, and I'm not going to attempt it here. Instead, I'm going to encourage others out there to try (go for it, DGB!), by suggesting that Gary the Commissioner is an open-minded guy, willing to listen to and explore new ideas, no matter how zany, off the wall, illogical, or poorly thought out. Here's a few examples of the idea's he's heard, and liked:
Hockey in Florida, Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee. These states will freak for the NHL!! Also, move a team out of Minnesota, say you're going to move it to San Jose, don't, then split the team in two, and move the team to Dallas, and "award" San Jose an expansion team. Then put a team in Minnesota.
The Canadian dollar is going to kill the NHL. Get teams out of Winnipeg and Quebec and restructure league finances or else teams like Ottawa, Edmonton, and Calgary will never make the playoffs.
Have a 48-game season. See how they like that!
Use video replay to determine whether or not a player is in the crease. If so, disallow the goal. Have an entire season marred by the fact that every other goal requires a replay review and have countless quality goals disallowed because of half a skate, or a thick mustache. Then give the Stanley Cup to a team that scores the OT winning goal with a skate in the crease.
Six divisions and an unbalanced schedule. Half the league doesn't see the other half of the league more then a couple times every two years, while games between division rivals are so frequent, even the opponents back-up goalie will be familiar. We're not just talking "a familiar rivalry" anymore, Gary. We're talkin' "an extremely familiar rivalry". Everything's got to be extreme now.
Americans don't know what a puck is. I ain't never seen a puck an' I ain't never figured out what all them players is running around after for! Maybe y'all should make it glow or somethin'. You could call it the Fire Puck, or the Laser Puck, or the Flamer Puck! Make it look like a video game! (Coincidentally, around the same time as Fox's Fire Puck, NHL '95 for Sega was like the best video game)
Some games should have a value of 3 points. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you only sorta lose. These losses don't count against your .500 record, because you get a point. That way teams and media can mislead themselves and gullible fans by saying they're a game under.500 with a record of 11-12-5, despite opponents winning 17 out of 28. Climbing up the standings will be twice as difficult, and instead of teams playing it safe in overtime, now they'll play it safe for the entire 3rd period. Extremely safe. Exciting!
Cancel an entire season. That'll show'em! Let's sleep with their wives, too!
New sweaters, all the time. I don't want to know what any team looks like from one year to the next. That's boring. Bring in 3rd sweaetrs, classic jerseys, anything goes, no logo is sacred. Also, road teams should wear white, ya that makes sense. That way fans always see a white team. Forget the diversity of a team wearing blue, the next game a team wearing red, that's old. The visiting team should always wear the same colour. If you wanna see a different colour, go to a different building.
(As an aside- I can't do this in 3rd person, -the "white out" effect is completely ruined by the road team wearing white. All those Pittsburg fans "looked" like they were supporting the Red Wings. Does no one in Pittsburg own a black Penguins jersey that they wanted to wear instead of a white t-shirt sponsered by a bank? Why not a black-out? That would've been cool. Sorry Pittsburg, you're "white-out" was lame and contrived. Do it like Calgary, or don't do it at all. Wow, way off topic. Back in character.)
Shoot-outs, Gary. Freaking shoot-outs! Bang-bang! Bam! Bam! Whoooeee! What could be more exciting then a penalty shot? How about 6 in a row at the end of the game! And if it's still tied, just keep going. I'll never get tired of seeing miss after miss after miss after miss after miss after who cares! And then one team wins, the other gets a point. That's not frustrating!!!!!!!!!! A tie would be frustrating. Shoot-outs could be the showcase of the sport. How 'bout a shoot-out exhibition with "judges" at the Skill's Competition? I'm not kidding. Can you feel the excitement?
As you can see, Gary does feel the excitment- when it's explained to him very slowly over the telephone. He's an open-minded guy who likes to listen and no idea is too stupid or ridiculous to ignore. So if you can string 3 paragraphs together, and fit them between an introduction and a conclusion, you're more than half-way there. Now all you need is Gary's cell phone number. When he says, "Hello, Gary the Comissioner, I'm listening..." start reading.