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We're nearing 100 submissions within the first 48 hours of our Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism art contest. As you can see from the work above by B.D. Gallof of the Isles Blog Box, this thing is as competitive and entertaining as we hoped it would become.

Once more, with feeling: Deadline for submissions is Friday, August 1 at noon EDT. E-mail contest entries (.jpegs preferred) to puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com. Judges are myself, Leahy and a 12-pack of Smithwick's.

Here are some of the outstanding Puck Daddy reader submissions into the contest, as well as some handy tips for entries going forward.

First of all, a huge thank you to the sites that helped spread the word on this contest and to the readers who have participated thus far. We already have such great fodder, we could easily put together Gary Bettman: Portraits in Superheroism and Gary Bettman: Portraits in Movie Heroism galleries. Please send everything you've got; it's been spectacular.

A sample of the submissions we've received:

The first entry in the contest was from our buddy Kevin Schultz over on Barry Melrose Rocks, which is the well-crafted Napoleon/Bettman on the right. On the left was another variation on the theme by The Peerless Prognosticator, who gets points for including Bill Daly as his right-hand man and Sidney Crosby as a French soldier.

Historical figures work well. But remember: Points for ingenious obscurity.

Now we're talking. Beefy, ripped Gary Bettman will barbarize and/or destroy you. As Conan himself once said, when asked what is best in life: "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women."

You hear that, NHLPA?

Thanks to Jenn from I Mean, We Got Guys ...

Some straight history here, but nice concepts: Gary Bettman raising the flag at Iwo Jima, like the true icon of American fortitude he is. Must have missed his cameo in "Flags of our Fathers."

Then there's Bettman-as-Canadian-hockey-legend, scoring against the Soviets. If it's a fight you want, spiffy new Russian League, Gary's gonna bring it! If nothing else, this image will help rehab Bettman's reputation in Canada after that whole Nashville/Hamilton mess. Speaking of which ...

Chris Jaros just sent this one this morning. Here's Bettman doing something he doesn't seemingly know how to do: Successfully securing the Predators.

Matt Murray from Life in Hockeywood absolutely killed it here, because there are so many absurd elements: "It's Bettman standing over Goodenow a la Ali vs. Liston. Special guest star Chris Tucker is pointing out the obvious." Indeed.

Remember people: Cram these images with as much nonsense as you can. Leahy offered an example of this over on Going Five Hole: Bettman as Maximus, surrounded by soccer-sized nets and basketball scores. Ridiculously cool. 

We don't have the words, JSchiff.

We think this Bettman-as-Moses by Mazarin here from ROFLsports.com is tremendous. But minds were blown when we received one of our only original Microsoft Paint submissions, from Kyle Higaki:

Holy ... Moses. More original art, please!

Brad Lee, who won our Chris Pronger contest, wants you to know that Gary Bettman is not a crook.

The last two examples here are interesting plays on the concept of "Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism." For example, it didn't occur to us that "Guitar Hero" could, in fact, be used to turn Gary Bettman into an arena rock icon. Seriously, one YouTube of him shredding on "Sweet Emotion" would make even the most ardent CBA-basher swoon. Thanks, Daniel L.

But the following image may be an early leader for ingenuity:

It took a second, but much chuckling followed. Kudos, Josh Melvin.

Stay tuned for more galleries. Because of the sheer volume and quality of the submissions, we may end up naming first, second and third place winners, and then handing out some individual awards for best (and worst) entries.

Because the guy who simply sent this in as his submission deserves something.

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