Clearly Gary Bettman is not a hockey guy. If he was he'd know that putting some money down as a bit of a bonus is time-honoured tradition in the NHL; players do it to perk up their team when they're playing against an old foe or a team that's traded them; it stirs the pot in a long season. That was Ron Wilson's cool move the other night in San Jose when he put $600 in an envelope to give his guy's a bit of a boost in his (successful) quest for his 600th career win. Turns out club employees waving money in the face of players flies in the face of the NHL salary cap and the Leafs will be fined, according to Damien Cox: Part of the cap system instituted in 2005 was intended to make sure there were no more side deals between teams and players that were not specifically part of the Standard Player Contract. Teams used to routinely keep unofficial agreements "in the drawer" that allowed players benefits, cash or otherwise, that the league never knew about.. Article 26 of the current collective bargaining agreement states clearly "Neither a Club nor a Club Actor may pay or provide a Player anything of value except as provided in his (contract)."
Update: Eric Duhatscek has a nice breakdown of what went down, complete with some video of cash changing hands hereReport Typo/Error