Puck Daddy - NHL

The horn has sounded, ending the submission period for our Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism art contest.

We're honored by the extraordinary levels of talent, depravity and dedication to rehabilitating the image of our beloved commissioner displayed by the Puck Daddy readership.

Yours truly, Leahy and Smithwick's (the Paula Abdul of our judging triumvirate) will announce the three place winners by the end of next week. We'll also have individual, not-winning-stuff awards to hand out.

Best of all: Next week, you'll have the opportunity to see every piece of art submitted to the contest in one massive gallery. As our buddies at FanHouse showed today, there's just too damn much awesomeness not to share it with the world. Think of this mega gallery as a giant refrigerator with a few hundred magnets in your mom's kitchen.

(And if you thought the stuff in our first three galleries was twisted, you need to see the rest of the entries. Two words: Rosa Parks. Two more: Jesus Bettman.)

Today, it's our final themed gallery of the contest: Gary Bettman, Portraits in Super-heroism. And as you can see from the image above by Stephen Slesinski, this one's stronger than a pair of adamantium claws, bub.

While the notion of Hellbettman getting the chance to make time with Selma Blair is infuriating, he also must remain in hiding to avoid public ridicule and scorn. Or at least remain inside the safe confines of the XM studios. Kudos on this one, Tashi Duane.

We shy away from publishing multiple submissions in the same gallery by anyone not named Gallof, Wes Tolle from Sud Suckers absolutely killed it here. Witness Wonder Bettman bore his enemies into submission with arguments for the cost efficiency of an Invisible Jet! Marvel at Bettcock, the loathsome hero that saves you even when you don't want to be saved!

What if we told you that there was an image of Gary Bettman as the Silver Surfer, chasing a glow puck while being chased by a Fox Sports hockey robot? Would that be something you might be interested in? (Thank you, David Cicirelli.)

Naturally, holding a contest like this during the Summer of the Dark Knight is going to bring in a fair share of Batman-related entries. You'll be able to see the 13,000 or so we received in the Super Mega Gallery.

Meanwhile, here is Ryan Moyer's homage to Bettman and celebrity fan Tim Robbins (GET IT?!?!?); Matt Schwartz of LetsGoWings.com provided that ultra-creepy Bettman-as-Joker image; and the appropriately named Matthew Funtime gives us that interesting Bettman-as-Batman collage above the arena.

Look, we're not going to turn this into an argument over whether or not Indiana Jones is a superhero. Just sit back and enjoy Kevyn Juneau's effort.

Look, we're not going to turn this into an argument over whether or not James Bond is a superhero. Just sit back and enjoy Laura Schultz's effort.

"Look at what's happened to me,
I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world,
It should've been somebody else." - Gary Bettman, 1993

Indeed. Thank you, Matt Craven.

We had a few submissions from the TV show "Heroes," which is great to see because the second season sucked like a Hoover Upright. Daniel Litke presents this image: "A take on Hiro Nakamura from Heroes combined with Bettman's high scoring NHL dream."

And here's Stephen Slesinski again, winning the award for subtly in superhero satire. "But I can speak with the fish!"

Thus ends the superhero gallery. Again, we can't thank the artists, readers and the hockey blogosphere enough for taking this contest and turning it into a rather fun way to pass the time while Sundin twiddles his Swedish thumbs this summer.

Although the submission process has ended, we imagine the magic of "Portraits in Heroism" will live on in our hearts and minds.

Indeed, one might say this contest is ... ahem ... NeverEnding.

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