Puck Daddy - NHL

Just so we're clear: The one on the right? Yeah, not a winner. But out of over 230 entries from Puck Daddy readers and aspiring artists, three tributes to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's heroism stood out to myself, Sean Leahy and our endless supply of Smithwick's.

The honorable mentions were published earlier; here are the champs. You undoubtedly won't agree with them, but let's please congratulate the artists, shall we?

To remind you of the prizes at stake here, with first-place getting his or her choice of the three prizes and second place getting nexties:

• An adult small Versus hockey jersey with "Versus 08" on the back, plus a special Stanley Cup playoffs poster.
• A spiffy Versus hat and a 2008 Stanley Cup commemorative puck.
• From the Puck Daddy prize closet: Monopoly, MY NHL edition. Yes indeed.

And now, your champions ...

THIRD PLACE: Submitted by Mazarin of ROFL Sports

Leahy was a huge supporter of this one, while I was sure that it would spark an uprising from the "Go For It, Jews" fan club. But this fits the bill for what we were looking for in the contest: An image that "depicts Gary Bettman in a moment of true valor and heroism." And we've seen "The Ten Commandments" enough to know this here is pretty darn valorous.

Mazarin compares it to Bettman parting the NHLPA. I like it because his back is turned on the people.

SECOND PLACE: Submitted by Stephen Slesinski

We had a lot of superheroes, but this is ingeniously subtle satire. Ten superheroes, and Bettman's one of them. But he's the guy who can only make fish do things with his mind and rides a giant sea horse. Notice how the rest of the JLA is making faces of bad-assery while Aqua-Bettman is really, really trying to follow their lead. This needs to be a poster.

Finally, your grand champion:

FIRST PLACE: Submitted by B.D. Gallof

Look, we're hockey fans. We'll argue about things until the sun explodes, and even then micro-particles of us will continue to debate Mario vs. Gretzky.

But I'd imagine at least 91-96 percent of us, however, will agree with Gallof was the MVP of the "Portraits in Heroism" contest, from the Superman to the Ultraman. This ode to "300" is his masterpiece. Perfectly executed, it captures everything we wanted out of this contest. It's so good that, looking at it long enough, one comes away ready to forgive the lockout and embrace expansion to places like Omaha and Guam. Almost.

Congratulations to B.D., and to everyone who entered the fray. It truly was an honor to witness how the contest took off, and the genius at work here.

Even when that genius looks like this.

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