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Loose Change: We have to talk

You kind of get the feeling playing in the Torino Olympics is like taking an ugly date to the prom.

It sounds workable in theory, but the closer you get to the event, the harder it is to actually follow through.

Then, of course, come the excuses.

Something came up.

I have a prior engagement.

Grandma died (again).

The number of NHL players who have backed out of the Games is expanding. So too will the excuses.

First it was just the “my leg hurts” stuff and the ever-popular groin pull/tear/stretch triactor. But, as more players tender excuse notes, one would hope for a little more creativity in their reasoning. I mean, only so many people can be caught in traffic on their way to work right? If nothing else they owe us the truth.

Sure Markus Naslund may have a terrible groin injury that needs rest, but maybe, just maybe, wearing yellow makes him look fat. Or he's allergic to Peter Forsberg's goatee.

You hear Miikka Kiprusoff and a nasty hip ailment? I hear, whole wheat pasta makes me bloat.

In fact, were players to use excuses like these, we might relate to them even more. Who hasn't avoided a social outing because of that stain on your silk shirt?

Claiming a nasty knee injury may be heroic, but add enough of the same and it tends to become just a lot of white noise. The repetition creates doubt. Make it into a bit of a production and you will undoubtedly live on in infamy.

Think about it:

Ryan Smyth withdrew from the Olympics today citing “split ends”.

Tomas Vokoun intends to use his Olympic break to catch up on Desperate Housewives.

Marek Svatos says No to Slovakia, Yes to Fort Lauderdale.

Martin Gerber has non-refundable lift tickets for Kitzbuhel and a tight wallet.

Brian Gionta auditioning for the Frodo understudy position in Toronto's musical Lord of the Rings production.

Now, there's some excuses we can relate to.

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

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



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