To be honest with you, the NHL has never had anybody who could pass for being a good league president/commissioner. Everyone talks about how bad Bettman is, but I will say the worst was Clarence Campbell. It was a free-for-all when he was president, and Rocket Richard took the brunt of the abuse. Actually, just about every star player back then took a lot of abuse. Richard got suspended and the riot took place, Gordie Howe nearly died of a head injury, Bill Masterson died (accidentally) and Ted Green also nearly died (stick fight). Outside of Masterson, whose case was tragic, why were no measures taken to protect the players better? Richard was very critical of Campbell throughout Richard's and Campbell's lifetimes, and I believe deservedly so.
And outside of King Clancy and Red Story, the officials were pathetic back then. One of those pathetic officials, Bill Chadwick, at least did do something revolutionary. He invented the hand signals used today to signal penalties and other infractions. Richard once said that Clancy and Story would at least let you talk to them, which enabled him to let off a little bit of steam. And I have a feeling those two may have helped diffuse many a bad situation, not just with Richard, but with the rest of the players in the league.
I am saying this in response to those who were commenting on the officiating last night. I did not get to see the game because I was working. But I am glad the Habs won. Isn't it amazing what can happen when a team has a do-or-go home situation? Most teams usually fold up their tents.