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Loose Change: Tiger, Ballard and the swing of things this week

There are those who wonder if the questions I answer here are staged or actual questions from actual readers. First off, I’m offended you would think that of me. Would I sacrifice all my journalistic integrity and enrage my millions of loyal readers for the sake of a cheap laugh? Is that all I am to you? They are real questions, from real readers of a real magazine (Tiger Beat). So there.

Peter Forsberg is back, playing hockey in Sweden with Modo, but I thought he had chronic foot and ankle problems that prevented him from playing anymore. What gives?

Hockey in the Swedish Elite League is much kinder to weathered bodies (Phyllis Diller is second in scoring) since their ice surface is both sloped (acute angles equal less wear on the joints) and more spongy (enhanced with nutritious kelp) than that found at NHL rinks. This puts less stress on the body. The rinkside saunas also provide welcome relief between shifts.

The Montreal Canadiens turn 100 this week and I didn’t get them anything. Any last-minute gift ideas?

A feather duster and some metal polish.

Three of the top five players in NHL scoring are Canadian. Is that not a story?

Possibly, but the actual leading scorer, Marian Gaborik, being a woman Czech probably tops that.

Vladislav Tretiak says the Russian Olympic team will be a combination of NHL players and players from the Kontinental League. I know nothing of the KHL. What is the talent level like there?

Two things you need to know about Tretiak and the KHL: (1) he is very proud of the league, and (2) he still plays in the league.

Dany Heatley plays his old team, Ottawa, this week. Any predictions?

There is a lot of emotion left on both sides after Heatley bolted from the Senators. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Heatley and Jason Spezza dance on Tuesday – and I do mean dance. A sexy samba I’m thinking.

Florida’s Keith Ballard clubs his own goalie with his stick. How do you discipline something like that?

First you have to determine intent. Why did Ballard go all Albert Pujols on Tomas Vokoun? Was it Ballard’s way of ensuring his goalie works a little harder on those rebounds next time? Did he still think the puck was in play, and thus, should Ballard be heading to LensCrafters? Maybe Ballard is simply not a fan of Czechs. As for discipline, Florida should secretly ask the league to suspend him. If he’s willing to wallop his own goalie like that, what will Ballard do to management if they decide to punish him themselves?

I know this is a hockey site, but just between us, do you think Tiger Woods was caught with his hand in the cookie jar?

To me, Tiger’s explanation makes perfect sense. Who hasn’t gathered enough speed when exiting their own driveway to leave the back window as the only escape route? The Elin-Woods-back-window-rescue scenario is much simpler than, say, trying to get her dazed-and-confused husband to simply, but dangerously, unlock one of the other doors (inherent freaky electrical power surge killer scenario). As for cookies, Tiger is not that sort of man. Cheesecake? Perhaps.

Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday. 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? Check out his website at

Hey, the Holiday Season is coming and I know you haven’t really thought much about what you’re getting that person who’s oh-so hard to buy for. Instead of taking a pot shot with another blinking novelty tie, why not try something that really says you care (or at least that you tried to care)?

For the first time ever, you have a chance to buy original Hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoons straight from the source (I finally wrangled the rights from my Taiwanese overlords). They are perfect as gift even if the recipient has the exact same name as you.

Interested? Click here.


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