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Loose Change: Big name (literally) all-stars

‘Tis the time of year when everyone seems to be naming their all-star selections (no, not that All-Star Game thingy - that was done by three mischievous kids at MIT with a brilliant binary algorithm) so it seems high time for me to name my all-stars.

And by name I mean NAME all-stars. You know, the kid who might not be able to skate or pass and has hands reminiscent of medium-sized boulders, but he has 15 letters in his last name (three of them Xs) and it’s printed diagonally on his jersey. Or he’s from Upper Sloptovia and has a name that rhymes with rutabaga. Yeah, that’s my kind of player.

Here now, the Loose Change NHL Name All-Stars as voted on by a jury of your peers (although I was the only one who showed up with my ballot completed properly, so…)

Presenting the Second Team NHL Name All-Stars (building the drama by doing it in reverse order - which actually sounds kind of sexy):

Goaltender – Antero Niittymaki (Philadelphia) –
You know when you get really drunk and you start to sign your name and you write the first part fairly close to perfect, but then you lose concentration and the last part comes out as a big pile of jumbled letters and reads like inane gibberish? Yeah, Niittymaki.

Defense – Fedor Tyutin (Columbus) –
The three best names for clowns I’ve ever heard are (1) Bozo the Clown, (2) Mr. Bubbles, and (3) Fedor Tyutin. Next time he skates by, grab his nose and see if it honks.

Defense – Jeff Finger (Toronto) –
His name sounds like a raunchy kids show on The Cartoon Network and that’s credibility enough for my selection committee.

Center – Paul Szczechura (Tampa Bay) –
Anyone who throws two Zs into their name within the first four letters has to own a pair. A hint to pronouncing his name: Dip your chin into a bucket of ice for three hours and then try saying “chinchilla.”

Left Wing – Lauri Korpikoski – (Rangers) –
Congratulations on being the first ever female named to this illustrious team. She’s been a steady performer for the Blueshirts all season and is valued as a two-way... What’s that? A He? Oh. Still, that last name alone gets her him in. Sounds like a type of pickle.

Right Wing – Antti Miettinen (Minnesota) –
I’ll admit it, earlier in my career I was more pro-Miettinen and anti-Laaksonen, but times have changed.

And now the First Team NHL Name All-Stars (I’m all giddy):

Goaltender – Karri Ramo (Tampa Bay) –
Close your eyes (but read this first or it will all be kind of futile) and imagine a Japanese Anime cartoon, the ones with all those flames and people soaring and punching their fists in the air and stuff, when suddenly, who appears to save the girl from that guy who looks like an Asian version of Arthur Fonzarelli? KA-RRI RAMMO! “We’re saved! Hoo-ray!”

Defense – Johnny Oduya (New Jersey) –
Truthfully, I would have liked to give this guy two spots (but that seemed rather arbitrary and unfair). No player in the league has a more versatile name that can be worked into conversation so easily: (a)“Think you can catch me, Oh Do Ya?” (b)“Oh do ya, do ya want my love?” As a bonus, his entire name sounds like something out of a Mickey Spillane novel.

Defense – Roman Polak (St. Louis) –
Naturally Roman must be Italian, right? No? OK, obviously Polish lineage then? No? Czech Republic? Wow. Didn’t see that one coming.

Center – Vernon Fiddler (Nashville) –
Occasionally the stars line up (not the Stars who can’t seem to do anything right this season) and a player is placed on a team so perfect and so poetic God himself must have played a role (anonymous tip on draft day?). Ol’ Vern Fiddler plays haw-kee for them Nash-ville Predators? Yee-haw!

Left Wing – R.J. Umberger (Columbus) –
R.J. Umberger is a hard-nosed winger with juicy skating, nice marbling and a slight tarragon flavor. The last player who made me this hungry with the mere mention of his name was Mustard Hotdogsson.

Right Wing – Cal Clutterbuck (Minnesota) –
He reminds me of when Grandpa used to get his foot caught in the lawnmower. “Oh, Clutterbuck!” he used to yell. Come to think of it, that was also the name of our favorite type of free-range poultry back then. Grandpa also used to say: “If it ain’t Clutterbuck, it ain’t s...” (that was the point when Grandma used to always cover our ears).

The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday only on Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.

Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at


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