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Loose Change: Red, all over

While others are wild with anticipation over a pivotal Game 6 Tuesday in Pittsburgh, I’m not terribly excited. It’s not that I don’t think the Penguins can win at home, it’s just their chances of winning the series with a Game 7 victory in Detroit are about the same as Don Cherry becoming an immigration official.

You see, my friends, this year has been pre-ordained. The story’s already been written. It’s like an arranged marriage to the guy with an abundance of ear hair and an annoying lazy eye. No matter what you think might happen, this will happen.

Detroit will win simply because they have to. It’s the Year of the Red (as opposed to the Year of the Read, which is a haughty collegiate thing).

Have you not noticed everything this year has had that recurring red theme?

Red, as in simple colors: Three of the final four wear red as their predominant color (side note: Pittsburgh wanted to go with the red, but thought it was a little too overtly violent and callous towards their cuter – and obviously slower – baby seal brethren).

Red, as in financial trouble: A global tattoo conference couldn’t compete with the amount of ink spilled in the media’s coverage of the Phoenix Coyotes I-think-I-may-be-bankrupt melodrama.

And red, as in the hackneyed Russian stereotype. (Note to those in charge of clichés: their flag now includes blue and white as well.) Where do we begin with this one?

Let’s see, the leading scorer from the regular season is Russian.

The leading scorer in the playoffs is also Russian (possibly the same guy or, as we’ve learned to be aware of in the past, an ingenious Soviet clone).

Three of the top-four scorers from the regular season are Russian. Four of the top-seven are Russian (five, if you include Ryan Getzlaf, which sounds like a mighty suspect name to be from “Regina”)

The three nominees for the Hart Trophy are Russian.

The top goal scorer from the regular season is Russian (and rich).

And the best goals-against average this year was – you guessed it – an American. (OK, bad point. My stats guy is fired.)

What remains, though, is the preponderance towards this red thing I’m nattering on about. Bring up any story this season and red’s in there somewhere. Try it:

San Jose Sharks win the President’s Trophy (shark feeding frenzy; the league ripped apart; red blood. Come on, help me here).

San Jose Sharks bow out in first round of the playoffs (flushed-red cheeks of embarrassment).

Detroit (red uniform) plays Chicago (red uniform) in Winter Classic (frostbite leading to, yes, red limbs; assorted red blotches on a person’s uh, undercarriage).

It’s all red, red, red. And I don’t think it’s mere coincidence. Like a tuba or that racing car from Monopoly, we’re being played.

Seems last year at this time we were bemoaning/celebrating all those Swedes taking over hockey, but now it appears that was just a distractive ploy by their Russian overlords (we would marvel at the playful Swedes – like people watch pandas – but be very wary of the Russians, thus the need for the palatable Scandinavian appetizer) before they unveiled the real plan.

Sure it may sound paranoid, but look at it this way: There are 32 (they move so fast an accurate count is virtually impossible) Russian-born players out of 885 total NHLers, but look at the influence; look at the domination.

You may just sit there and pass this off as a phase (like acne or boy bands or boy bands with acne), but I’m taking precautions. We may not have been able to stop this Russian bear from crushing us, but we can still stay alert in anticipation of the next wave, whenever it comes. The diligent among us won’t be caught napping next time.

Denmark, I’m watching you.

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 cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday through to June 22. 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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