Ask Uncle Gary!
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So I guess by now you’ve probably all heard the rumors. I’ll have to admit at first I wasn’t quite sure what to think. It took a little time for me to come to this realization and after reviewing the TV numbers, marketing revenue and general fan interest I’ve come to the same conclusion as the rest of the Governors. We are absolutely going to sell out the New Years’ outdoor game at Wrigley field in Chicago this year. I suppose it helps that we have 30,000 less seats to fill than we did in Buffalo. Ha ha.

OK. I know you all want me to explain the rumors that have been swirling around Toronto these days. Please understand that this is all just speculation at this point. But it does look like the unthinkable may happen. Yes Mats Sundin has started his physical and looks to be coming back to the NHL for another year. But whether he will return to Toronto or perhaps find his way over to Nashville (hope, hope) is still up in the air.

And speaking of air, it looks like the Air Canada Center may have a new tenant in a year or two. That’s right, we are currently in negotiations to have the Ice Capades train there as a means for the future of the NHL to have yet another pool of talent to draw from. At least we know the skill level will be there and we’ve been cracking down on toughness for years now so it just seems like a perfect fit. Just think, years from now they’ll be saying “That Gary Bettman was such a visionary. Can you believe there was a time when there used to be fighting in the NHL?” You’re welcome!

And speaking of fighting… I am so pissed off at the Board right now. I can’t believe that someone leaked a personal conversation about that second team coming to Toronto. I have had this one in my back pocket for a while now and I was just waiting for the right time to spring it. Now that’s all ruined so I guess I’m going to have to come up with another way to mess with Ballsillie on April 1st this year. Damn, damn, damn.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

Picking the Leafs again at #1 is as easy as 1-2-3 (which is also their record). GO LEAF$ GO!

2. Nashville Predators

Over my dead body! If I told you once, I told you a thousand times, nobody puts Baby in a corner (of southern Ontario)!

3. Anaheim Ducks

I moved them up a bit due to their stunning upset over the Leafs. I think we all know deep down inside that the real reason for their success is GM Brian Burke who will be letting the Ducks know for once and for all, black ball beats it all, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, totally and for sure that he’ll absolutely, positively be giving them an answer in two months. That’s the kind of commitment that will fit right in with his new home next year wherever that may be.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning

Lawton is the new GM. Aside from Jay Feaster in July; I can’t remember the last time a GM stepped down without being fired. Good luck buddy!

5. Columbus Blue Jackets

So Mr. Peca is still upset that he got a 5 game suspension? I wanted to give him the whole 10 but I figured having him come back to play against the Rangers is punishment enough.

6. Phoenix Coyotes

The marketing geniuses in the Coyotes’ front office are at it again! Not only is their new campaign slogan “Be Coyotes Cool” all the rage with the kiddies but Saturday is Firefighter Appreciation Night at Jobing.com Arena (great name). But here’s the twist. They’re playing the Calgary Flames! Get it? That’s good irony, that is.

7. Philadelphia Flyers

So, um, is that Palin chick coming back any time soon? You sold out that game right?

8. Calgary Flames

Bertuzzi has 5 goals so far this year? It’s nice to see his soft hands doing something to help a team for a change. Just Kidding Todd. I know you’ve served your time. At least the amount of time Gretzky and I deemed was fair.

9. Atlanta Thrashers

How about the Toronto Thrashers Mr. Ballsillie? By the way, it just came to my attention recently that I’ve been spelling your name wrong all this time. Now I know it’s Ballsillie and not Ballsille and certainly not Balls-Silly. My apologies.

10. Vancouver Canucks

They called up the fat kid who got a goal and an assist against Columbus the other night. Sure they lost 4-2 but maybe if we can just get the rest of the team on board we can get a lucrative contract with Krispy Kreme.

11. New York Islanders

DiPietro’s back! Everybody make a little extra room on the bandwagon.

12. Dallas Stars

Sean Avery is still held goalless. Nothing a game against the Islanders won’t cure.

13. Ottawa Senators

Hey Ottawa. You’re not allowed to be tied for points with Toronto. You can’t get Sundin and the first overall pick too. That’s dirty pool.

14. Florida Panthers

“When you think back at the history of this club, I remember in the Stanley Cup finals in 1995-96, Florida was absolutely bizonkers…” (Oct 21, 2008 - South Florida Sun-Sentinel) I’m making up words now. I think bizonkers is going to be huge with the kids. “Yo man, dat Bettman iz like totally bizonkers yall.” Whole new demographic!

15. Colorado Avalanche

I believe it was last week that I said put Raycroft in. They all said I was mad. But who’s mad now I ask you? Aside from Peca of course.

16. LA Kings

Ok I’ll admit that the fan base for the Kings is in a bit of a lull right now but we can’t go blaming the economy, just like we can’t go blaming Tom Preissing's scoring drought.

17. Chicago Blackhawks

Dave Bolland is tied for second in the league for short handed assists. They keep stats on everything these days. As soon as that baseball season is over we’re going to have a whole brand new group of number crunchers watching. Then again, I suppose there’s nothing stopping the good folks of Chicago from starting now.

18. Carolina Hurricanes

Tonight in Pittsburgh - Staal vs. Staal. Get yours today.

19. Boston Bruins

Playing the Leafs on Thursday. Hope it doesn’t go to a shootout or we could be up all night!

20. Pittsburgh Penguins

Hey Ballsillie, remember when you wanted to buy the Penguins? It seems like so long ago. We were both just little kids on the playground back then. My sandbox! Mine!

21. New Jersey Devils

Back to back with the Palins this weekend should help that shutout total climb.

22. St. Louis Blues

Now that King is gone with a shoulder injury there’s a new King in town. The big King Koci! Which is good because they’re going to need him when the King’s come to town.

23. San Jose Sharks

They’ve won 2 back to backs this year verses the Kings and the Flyers so I guess that’s good for them.

24. Washington Capitals

Orvretchkchin. Nope that’s not it. Overmunchkin. Nope. Ovechin. Not that either. No matter how I type his name the spell checker never seems to approve. Doesn’t matter anyway now that Semin is their new top guy. Gotta say I love that Semin. (Did I spell that wrong too?)

25. Edmonton Oilers

If it does happen, guess who’s going to be the next Toronto team? I’ll give you a hint. Got a mirror handy?

26. Detroit Red Wings

Seriously. Did I see an article recently asking why Yzerman won’t be the GM of Toronto? That’s because he’s played for Detroit for ever. Any team captain that plays a majority of his career with one team would feel the same. It would be like treason to go anywhere else. Just like Mats was saying around the trade deadline last year. Sundin’s probably miffed that they didn’t ask him to be GM.

27. Buffalo Sabres

Vanek seems to be living up to the inflated price that those pesky Oilers offered up. That’s why I chooo choo chooose you Edmonton.

28. New York Rangers

Valiquette for President!

29. Minnesota Wild

So Gaborik negotiations aren’t going well. He’s hurt and your team is undefeated right? If it were up to me I’d pay him whatever he wants and get him back in the lineup because he’s the only one out there who sells jerseys!

30. Montreal Canadiens

With all this talk about a second team in Toronto nobody has mentioned the obvious! A second team in Nashville! It would help create a bitter rivalry between the Predators and oh let’s say the Nashville Canadiens. It’s gonna be Bizonkers!

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