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Loose Change: Thinking outside the box

It’s a new age. It’s a different game.

The 1952 approach of strong defense, timely goaltending and stealing the other team’s donkey just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Hockey has changed. Winning it all now takes a different type of strategy.

It’s 2008, Penguins versus Red Wings. The Steel Belt versus the Steel Belted.

Time for some new ideas in an old game…

Keys to beating the Detroit Red Wings:

1. The Red Wings have perhaps the most loyal following in all of hockey (at least in the top 30). Their fans share common traits in that they all (a) love the team (b) are immune to octopus bites (c) work for General Motors.

The support network runs from the fans directly to the team. Cut one off from the other and they flounder like a flounder. How do you go about breaking this lifeline? Sneak into the media room, commandeer the microphone and announce General Motors is toying with the idea of scrapping the vaunted paid washroom breaks. Stampede ensues. Pens up 2-0.

2. One look at the Detroit lineup and you’ll realize the United Nations seems sectarian by comparison. Aside from a Japanese player and a Samoan, the Red Wings have every nation on earth represented on their roster. That translates into a crowded bench filled with on-call translators (you thought they had a backup, backup goalie coach?). If something were to happen, say, to compromise the miles and miles of intricate wiring that allows the team to communicate, the whole operation would ground to a halt – like General Motors.

3. We all love the guy and admire him for playing at the ripe old age of 74, but Chris Chelios has seen better days. Still, he acts like it’s his rookie year (1869) demanding more ice time and a steady stream of bran. Coach Babcock has reduced the Chelios Implosion Factor by giving Chris sporadic duty as the 12th defenseman and has implicitly stated it’s his job to shadow Rob Scuderi every time he’s on the ice. Thus, Mr. Scuderi needs to see a lot more ice time.

Keys to beating the Penguins:

1. Anyone’s who watched Sidney Crosby play knows how dominant a player he is. The man’s a machine. I mean, literally, the man’s a machine. Buried in the fine print of his astronomical endorsement deal with RBK is the little matter of that microchip being implanted at the base of his brain stem. It controls things such as the choice between deking and shooting and when to sign autographs. Keep in mind this microprocessor is strictly first generation, meaning the little sucker is really prone to malfunctioning caused by too much moisture (the reason behind his subsequent - and secretive - Gatorade deal). If he were to get seriously wet (hint hint), his eyes will start to roll back in his head and he’ll begin speaking in pure gibberish. On the plus side, Malkin will be able to understand him; on the minus, he’ll start playing like Jody Shelley.

2. The Penguins have an average age of 14. They have raging hormones, but are also brutally self-conscious. Intimidation is simply a matter of pointing out their pathetic attempts at playoff beards (“I’ve seen more hair on a parrot”). That one was easy.

3. The Penguins are never far away from their checkered and humble past. The fact they still play in a building constructed with a thatched roof and heated by coal speaks volumes. Even though they’re having a decent run, bankruptcy breathes down their necks like creepy bachelor uncles. You want to send a shiver down the collective spines of Crosby, Malkin and the rest of the seven-figure kids? I hear your check bounced. 2-0 Red Wings.

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, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. 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 charlieteljeur@hotmail.com

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