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Loose Change: Statistically speaking

The following is purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laugh while reading this, while framing this, or while burning this. 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?

I've always held the belief that hockey, by nature, is not nearly as violent a sport as people would think. Just because they look like gladiators, with all that armor and those weapons, doesn't necessarily mean they are gladiators.

Hockey, to tell the truth, is a very placid and controlled sport, much more docile than, say, that cocky blowhard baseball.

In fact, I have irrefutable statistical data to prove my point.

You likely heard of ex-major leaguer Jose Offerman's little minor league tirade recently when he went el loco after being hit pitch in the calf by a pitch (sidebar: Is there something in Dominican culture that honors the calf in a the same way Hindu culture honors the cow?).

Anyway, after his close brush with death, Jose decided to bring his bat to the mound to mete out justice as he saw fit (Jose says the bat was “crazy and out of control” and he did his best to stop the mayhem but you know what they say about an Ash).

When the dust cleared, 350 people were dead and...wait, wrong page…the catcher may have sustained a concussion (or maybe he just prefers to call everyone “Dorothy”) and the pitcher may have broken a finger on his non-throwing hand (he's still deciding). The point I'm indelibly trying to make here, is that violence (bat-swinging) is actually more prominent in baseball than violence (stick-swinging) is in hockey.

First off, you'll argue, the Offerman Piñata Party happened in minor league baseball meaning the comparison to professional hockey is like comparing apples to oranges, right? Well Offerman was at one point a major leaguer and he did acquire that sweet, cerebrally-threatening swing while playing in the big leagues. Plus apples and oranges are both fruit and what's so awful about comparing fruit. So, shut up.

A rough inventory of my limited memory recalls around, on average, three to four weapon-swinging incidents per year in the relative sports (interestingly there was one report of a bat-swinging in hockey last year but that was in Detroit and the assailant thought he was flailing an octopus). So, let's call that – the occurrences – X, or Herbert.

Roster sizes in both sports are roughly the same. Let's call that Y. No, JaneÂ…I like Jane better.

Major league baseball plays something like 6000 games per season, so let's call that Escobar. Hockey plays something 2500. That will be referred to as P.

Gary Bettman is short, but kind of cute so he can be Delta. Bud Selig has a bad haircut so let's call him “?”.

So the formula goes Herbert over Jane divided by “?” plus P over Delta minus Jane II with a hint of Escobar (carry the one), which of course leaves us with the ratio of 10 over 12, which, at first, appears to be a non-sensical arbitrary number. Not so.

At any one time during a regulation baseball game there are 10 players on the baseball field. At any one time during a regulation hockey game there are 12 players on ice (I know, not counting penalties – again, shut up). Of the 10 baseball players only one is wielding a (unconcealed) weapon. On a hockey rink all 12 players have weapons. , (and I feel like Perry Mason…) the occurrences of violence is roughly the same in both sports (…OK maybe more like that guy from Jag) even though there are far more weapons available on the ice than on the field.

Which proves, irrevocablyÂ…

(big finish here)

Hockey players are generally benign.

Baseball is a deathsport.

I'm not a mathematician.

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

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


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