A Special Visit
The only things missing were police escorted black limousines racing through blocked off streets with patriotic flags flapping.
Mr. Bettman was scheduled to address the media at 5 pm so I decided to get there a bit early to document the proceedings. It turns out I wasn't the only one to arrive ahead of time - there were media members setting up shop at 4 pm hoping to get a seat in the front row.
I snapped a quick shot from the podium to capture the "calm before the storm."
Just before 5 o'clock, there were six Chicago players, including ex-Canuck Adrian Aucoin juggling a soccer ball in the hallway outside the press room. One of the players got just a bit too much leg on the ball and it ended up lodging itself in the air duct.
No worries, though. The innovative players formed a human ladder to retrieve their lost ball as Aucoin joked to the few media people who were trying to stifle their laughter, "You guys might want to roll the cameras for this one."
And wouldn't you know it - just as the players were in their circus-like stance, the Commissioner strolled around the corner. The Chicago players looked like they'd just been caught stealing as Bettman gave them a perplexed smile before entering the press conference room.
A BIT OF CRAZINESS
The media conference was an absolute madhouse.
There were over 50 credentialed press from all mediums and it was the first time I saw professional photographers prowl around the room trying to capture the perfect shot with lenses longer than stick blades. Whenever Mr. Bettman made the tiniest of gestures, the camera shutters clicked faster than automatic weapons.
The Commissioner spent the rest of the evening visiting different media outlets and shaking hands with staff all around GM Place. He was very friendly and engaging.
I've always wondered where Dan Murphy watches the games from while he's doing the Rogers Sportsnet coverage, so I went down to the hallways just before the second intermission and found Murph taking notes in front of a tiny TV just prior to interviewing Alex Burrows.
His view may not be the best, but he's still got the coolest job.
The 3-0 loss to the Blackhawks was frustrating for everyone, and it's probably especially frustrating for players like Captain Markus Naslund who has to explain to the enquiring media just what went wrong. Going into room after a loss is never fun, but Naslund always handles the media with grace and professionalism - no matter the circumstances.