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Loose Change: Finger painting the playoff picture

Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar have the Kings headed back to the playoffs. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Jonathan Quick and Anze Kopitar have the Kings headed back to the playoffs. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

I’m not a doctor, but I used play one when I was a teenager. While some specialize in cardiology and proctology, my specialty would be officially Dr. of Hockey (Dockey?).

I’m the person you’d see when you’re concerned about the long-term prognosis of your team or to determine where that ugly oversized welt came from (most often it’s Averyitis).

Right now you’re worried. The regular season is ending and you want to know (a) if your team will make it, (b) how your team will do and (c) what exactly they do with those flung octopi in Detroit. Well, I can’t tell you how your team will do in the playoffs (that’s the subject of another column and frankly I haven’t come up with anything yet), but I can tell you what you need to know about your squad’s chances of making the playoffs. In three years running, I have a 99-percent success rate. My only miss was picking Utah State to go all the way in 2008 (part myopia, part inebriation).

So let’s take a look at the teams as they line up and determine, once and for all, which 16 teams will still be standing come April 12th.

Washington –
The standings say they have already clinched the division, but I hate most arrogant professions that deal with numbers (aside from supermodels). Still I don’t understand me no math so…
Verdict: IN

Pittsburgh –
By law, defending champs are given playoff berths. Plus I love any team with Bill Cosby on it.
Verdict: IN

Buffalo –
Technically they’re already in, but it is Buffalo after all and only Buffalonians and vegetarians care a lick about buffalo. I guess I care, too.
Verdict: IN

New Jersey –
When does this team ever not make the playoffs? Thank Lou’s landmark deal with the Antichrist for this one.
Verdict: IN

Ottawa –
They have their strongest goaltending since Patrick Lalime this year, so a big spin of the 8-Ball says...“Kiss her?” Wha...?
Verdict: I guess I’m IN.

Philadelphia –
I’ve gone over your tests and I regret to inform you that you have Carcillo. Is it terminal? Not sure. Haven’t read that far into the textbook.
Verdict: Ummm...IN!

Montreal -
What would the playoffs be without the bleu et blanc, er, noir et rouge, I mean. Oh forget it!
Verdict: OUT!

Boston –
If the playoffs started today the Bruins would be in, but that would mean that the team only played 75 of their scheduled 82, which would probably initiate an inquiry into who decided to end the season prematurely. All in all it would be a big mess, so why even say stupid stuff like that?
Verdict: OUT

Atlanta –
Truthfully, three people will care about what I say about the Thrashers here. Is it the Thrashers right?
Verdict: OUT

NY Rangers –
The Blueshirts are going to The Big Dance. Not the playoffs, but The Big Dance. I think it’s somewhere on 63rd.
Verdict: OUT

Carolina –
I like when they spin their siren.
Verdict: IN (that’s news worthy of a siren spin!)

NY Islanders –
John Tavares has never made the playoffs in his NHL career. That’s an awful stat.
Verdict: OUT

Florida –
Rats! They’re out. Rats! They’re in. I prefer mice.
Verdict: OUT

Tampa Bay -
The fortune cookie says ‘Yes,’ but the fortune cookie was also made of eggplant and liver. Gross! Still, liver’s good for ya, so...
Verdict: IN

Toronto -
Leaf fans are like gerbils on freeways; screwed, but still optimistic.
Verdict: IN (damn the math)

San Jose –
The Presidents' Trophy is still a trophy.
Verdict: IN (for a couple more minutes at least)

Chicago -
Twenty cents says the Blackhawks are so good their taxi squad could have made the playoffs.
Verdict: IN

Vancouver –
You’re way too smug with all your healthy living and sea creatures.
Verdict: OUT

Phoenix –
Could have the longest Stanley Cup parade route in history. The Dakotas are beautiful.
Verdict: IN

Nashville –
Any team that plays their national anthem on a Dobro is in, according to my world.
Verdict: IN (I just said it)

Detroit –
Let’s complete Motown’s universal collapse with the Red Wings missing the playoffs. Bring on the Horsemen!
Verdict: O(de-ditta-lee)UT

Los Angeles –
The NHL needs some star power in the post-season. “Can I get you a drink, Mr. Estevez?”
Verdict: IN

Colorado –
Because of all the youth on the team, all Avalanche games must be completed by 8:30.
Verdict: OUT

Calgary –
You can only disappoint when your expectations are too high. I had the Flames finishing 47th overall. Great season.
Verdict: OUT (but a good OUT)

St. Louis –
Eight points out with seven games to go. With my math skills that’s a possible, what, 39 points?
Verdict: IN

Anaheim –
I want them in just to see what a George Parros playoff moustache looks like.
Verdict: IN

Minnesota –
On the one hand, the logo looks like a nature scene, but on the other it looks like a bear. Too many mind games.
Verdict: (fashionably) OUT

Dallas –
Is this Mike Modano’s swan song? I had no idea he even owned a swan.
Verdict: IN (I want to see that swan)

Columbus –
Columbus discovered Columbus? That’s so cool. Talk about a sign…
Verdict: OUT

Edmonton –
Let’s see, seven games left multiplied by two points per game. Carry the two; divide by the square root of Gary Bettman’s weight. Add in the number of players under the legal drinking age in Alberta. Multiply by Pi. Repeat.
Verdict: OUT (no wait, carry the four...) OK yep, still OUT

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Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you the humor column Loose Change every 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 charlieteljeur.com.

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