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Loose Change: Old Smiley Face

Frankly, I've had enough of you, Mr. Crankypants.

Brian Burke makes Ebenezer Scrooge look like Tony Robbins, eating a tub of ice cream. What the heck does it take for you to get – and stay – happy?

We can forgive your irascible early years. You were young and it was the Hartford Whalers after all. Smiles were not in their budget.

Then you became the NHL's Senior VP and Director of Hockey Operations and it was pretty much in your job description to be a cantankerous and nasty old sod. You were the Sheriff in town after all, and the Sheriff rarely shows his softer side (naturally assuming you have a softer side – most humans do).

Then you move on to the Canucks' organization. I've heard Vancouver is an incredibly terrible place to live, what with all the ocean mist, the temperate climate, whales feeding from your back porch – that sort of thing.

Your press conferences there became stuff of legend. Teams are headhunting our star players. Detroit is picking on Todd Bertuzzi. The snack bar doesn't serve poutine. Again, the geography mattered little. Trying to find you a permanent smile is like trying to get a gerbil to drive a go-kart.

Then you move on to the Ducks. You're given free reign as GM. You build the team in your own image (it took three months to teach Teemu how not to smile after a goal). Somehow, you inexplicably win the Stanley Cup and Brian Burke, the black belt of all curmudgeons, SMILES – for about three minutes. The smile likely evaporated from your face the moment you realized how much man sweat there was on that Cup you were drinking from.

Now YOU'RE king of the mountain. Every other team in the league is aiming at you. Every other team in the league is trying to emulate you. They do crazy things like – oh, I don't know – signing relatively unproven young talent to exorbitant deals that will likely lock them into mediocrity should said player prove to be, well, mediocre. They have essentially played within the rules, signing a player for way more than he's worth to you (by the way, go to an Art auction when you get the chance to learn more about this exciting and controversial concept). All this in their vain attempt to – you guessed it - be more like Captain Cheerful.

And the Brian Burke reaction to all of this? The same reaction to essentially everything that's ever happened to you. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

God hope you never win the lottery.

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Friday only on

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


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