by Jas Faulkner, who, amazingly, still has her Nashville byline at 8:29 am CST.
The only noise in the room was the whirr and hum of automatic camera shutters opening and snapping shut. On the dias, NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman paced as a seated Pittsburgh Head Coach Dan Bylsma looked like he wanted to be anywhere else in the world but where he was. Penguins Captain and NHL Spokesface Sidney Crosby talked animatedly to the stuffed penguin he was bouncing in his lap.
Bettman sighed, rubbed his eyes and then stepped to the podium.
“I have called this press conference today to express my displeasure with the NHL.”
The room fell silent. Members of the press stood frozen, poised to capture the revelation that was sure to come from the NHL’s most controversial capo.
“Please. Please. Hold your questions. It seems,” he paused to take a breath. “It seems that someone has been mean to Sidney. I don’t want to name names and I haven’t looked at the game reels. All I know is, when he came back to the locker room after playing, he had a lump on his little noggin, a nasty bruise and, well, he just hasn’t been himself.”
Everyone looked at Crosby, who was kissing the stuffed penguin and humming.
Bettman cleared his throat. “So all I’m asking, and guys, it really isn’t that much, is for everyone to be nice to Sidney.”
The room was silent. Bylsma lowered his face into his cupped palms. Sidney raised his hand.
“When I feel sad? I eat kittens!” Sidney cocked his head to one side and grinned.
“No he doesn’t!” Bettman quickly interjected.
“Yes I do.” Sidney looked confused.
Bettman strode to the right hand side of the platform and opened the door.
“Matt!” he shouted, “Please come clear the media lounge.”
No other information is available about Bettman’s thoughts at this time as the only audio and video feeds after that showed reporters fleeing the room.