Puck Daddy - NHL

Judging from yesterday's post on the Nashville Predators' ownership brouhaha, many Puck Daddy readers have a slight disregard for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. OK, slight is kind; "The Love Guru" got better reviews.

No matter how high the NHL soars, Gary Bettman continues to be a pesky anchor; everything about him conjures ill feelings and painful memories of cancelled seasons and managerial ineptitude. The fact that he receives the blame for all of hockey's problems ("Bettman invented the Neutral Zone Trap to steal teams from Canada!") doesn't help his reputation, either.

The man needs an image makeover. And we're just the puckheads to give him one.

In the thrilling sequel to our Chris Pronger tribute slogan competition, Puck Daddy is proud to present our first reader-submitted art contest -- Gary Bettman: Portraits in Heroism.

We're asking you to send in your drawings, paintings, Photoshops and any other electronically-submitted visual media that depicts Gary Bettman in a moment of true valor and heroism. Fighting to the death in "300." Body-slamming Andre the Giant in Wrestlemania III. Here's an example I created in roughly 180 seconds: Gary Bettman fighting a fire-breathing dragon.

Rules: Original artwork only, and we'll publish many but not all of the entries. The Yahoo! Sports rules of profanity and PG-13 content apply. We're looking for originality, creativity, wit and whatever puts our beloved commissioner in the most valiant light. Our friend Japers used Deadspin's Legend of Ned art gallery as an example; we'd like to see that, with a twist of Pensblog absurdity. 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.

Prizes: Oh yes, there are prizes. Jon Swenson from the brilliant Sharkspage hooked us up with some Versus gear, which we will give away (so subversive!). So there will be three places, 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.

Use the comments section below for brainstorming ideas. For the Photoshoppers, here's a rather good start on Bettman art. We're very excited to see how hockey fans will re-imagine the commissioner as a courageous leader. Like Gotham City, the NHL needs a symbol of unwavering valor. And with that: Bettman Begins!

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