Next week, all 30 NHL General Managers will head to Boca Raton, Florida for the annual GM meetings. This conference is meant to solve problems and develop new ideas in the NHL, from suspendable hits to financing Gary Bettman's new mansion. They'll be doing a lot of talking, but this year, will they actually do something? Here are my predictions:
WHAT TO EXPECT - Expect Gary Bettman to complain about rising salaries in the NHL, and his genuine concern about the likely increase in the NHL salary cap this summer.
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT - Do not expect Bettman to acknowledge the fact that he is averaging a higher salary than Ilya Kovalchuk.
EXPECT - To hear about a suspicious looking man that thinks he's whispering into his microphone while simultaneously checking to make sure nobody sees him peeking through into the meeting room.
DON'T EXPECT - Pierre McGuire to say anything insightful while peeking into the meeting room.
EXPECT - Your team's GM to have a tan when he returns next weekend.
DON'T EXPECT - Glen Sather's tan fool you, he probably spent way too much money on it before he left New York.
EXPECT - Open talks about injuries in the NHL at breakfast.
DON'T EXPECT - Brian Burke to eat waffles at breakfast.
EXPECT - Bettman to ban Lou Lamoriello from using jelly for breakfast.
DON'T EXPECT - Richard Bloch to appeal Bettman's decision.
EXPECT - Gary Bettman to also slap Glen Sather after every offer sheet Sather attempts to sneak in early for Steven Stamkos and Zach Parise.
DON'T EXPECT - Glen Sather to realize that he will have no cap space to sign Brad Richards this summer if he wants to keep Callahan, Dubinsky, Boyle and Anisimov.
EXPECT - Gary Bettman's hairpiece to disappear, while Chris Pronger's car mysteriously drives away.
DON'T EXPECT - The local police to do anything about it. It's not like they're in Montreal or anything...
EXPECT - People to remind Ray Shero that Matt Cooke is still on his team after he complains about Sidney Crosby's concussion.
DON'T EXPECT - To hear Garth Snow to admit Trevor Gillies is a dirty player.
EXPECT - 30 General Managers to suggest that the Phoenix Coyotes move to Winnipeg.
DON'T EXPECT - Gary Bettman to care.
EXPECT - Gary Bettman to express genuine concern for violence in the league today.
DON'T EXPECT - Bettman to point out that violence has lead to Air Canada threatening to remove its sponsorship with the NHL, and thus threatening Bettman's contract, which was not rejected by the league.
EXPECT - Everyone to laugh at the NFL for locking out.
DON'T EXPECT - The NHL to take advantage of the lockout.
EXPECT - One bold executive to question the league's officiating.
DON'T EXPECT - That executive to have a job next year.
EXPECT - Goaltender equipment and neutral zone defense to become a topic of discussion with scoring down this season.
DON'T EXPECT - Lou Lamoriello to refrain from using the jelly jars that Chris Pronger also stole from Bettman to give to Lou when Lou is criticized for using the trap even though every other team uses it...but can't perfect it.
EXPECT - Colin Campbell to crack down on dangerous hits and plays, and to threaten longer suspensions and heavier fines.
DON'T EXPECT - Peter Chiarelli to appear concerned at all...until he trades Gregory Campbell this summer.
EXPECT - Gary Bettman to 'defend' the Rangers' 23% increase in ticket prices next season, despite calling it "greedy."
DON'T EXPECT - Less Ranger fans at road games from now on.
EXPECT - A round of drinks on the house on the last night of meetings at a sports bar.
DON'T EXPECT - Hockey to be available on any of the TVs at the bar.
EXPECT - All the General Managers to feel good about themselves after the meetings.
DON'T EXPECT - Anything to be done about anything discussed during the meetings.
EXPECT - Your team's TV network to have a segment about the meetings next week.
DON'T EXPECT - Anyone in Phoenix to know the meetings ever happened, despite Gary Bettman's continued support of a hockey team in Glendale.