The NHL conspiracy, headed and masterminded by Commissioner Gary Bettman, designed to keep the Stanley Cup out of the hands of Canadian hockey teams in order to further popularize, and Americanize, the great Canadian game of hockey.

Of course the best laid plans of mice and tiny little men can go awry as in 1993 when the Montreal Canadiens became Stanley Cup Champions. The heavily favoured Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the New York Islanders in 7 games in round one, throwing the NHL's Prince of Wales (Eastern) conference into chaos from which the unlikely Habs, backstopped by Patrick Roy, emerged. Meanwhile in the Clarence Campbell (Western) conference, the resurgent Toronto Maple Leafs under Pat Burns reached the conference final against Wayne Gretzky and the Los Angeles Kings.

A blatant non-call when The Great One slashed Doug Gilmour sent the Kings to the finals, over the howls of outrage which echo in Maple Leaf Gardens to this day. The fix, it seemed, was in. Things looked bleak in Montreal. However Les Glorieux had a trick up their sleeve. With the Kings already down a man, the Canadiens called a stick measurement against the now-infamous Marty McSorley and while he warmed the penalty box bench with his derriere the Habs scored a game-winning goal and thus won the Stanley Cup. Thus was the Bettman Conspiracy thwarted.

In 2004, the original Bettman Conspiracy was eclipsed by a new one, in which the tiny little man schemed, grinchlike, to take away the 2004-2005 NHL season from its fans and players. Many of the players felt that Bettman had no intention of approving any settlement proposed by the NHLPA and was intent on union-busting.

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