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?
OK, you've entered the room, stats in hand. It's time again for another playoff hockey pool.
You think you're ready, thanks to your impressive spreadsheets and hackneyed formulae. The thing is, winning a pool is a lot like playing poker. It's all about knowing the players at the table, especially the ones wearing helmets.
1. Mr. Cool: This guy gives you the vibes that he's got it all together. He isn't awash in reams of paper, just a tidy notebook and a single writing utensil. He apparently knows what he wants, that is until he makes Todd Bertuzzi his first pick. Threat Level: Low
2. Mr. Stats: What Mr. Cool lacks in paper, this guy makes up for. He likely has more books than an MIT freshman and is packing at least one calculator or abacus. He's likely to justify each of his picks with a points-per-game ratio or, barring that, a horoscope or biorhythm for left-footed wingers born in March. Threat Level: Moderate
3. Mr. Beer: Perhaps the most jovial and entertaining of all poolies, his picks get more interesting as the night wears on and the beer sinks in. His first round pick of Joe Thornton is likely to be offset by his seventh round pick of Marcel Dionne. Threat Level: Low
4. Mr. Unprepared: Likely the last one to arrive that night, apologizing profusely that one of his kids had an accident on his yearbook, he will wing the entire draft which usually translates into him winning or at least placing highly when it's all over. Learn to hate him. Threat Level: High
5. Mr. Hunch: He will be the poolie with the most muted smiles, like he knows all the answers to Jeopardy after having watched it earlier that night. He is sure he has an inside track on what is about to unfold in the playoffs but is usually derailed three games in when that Edmonton hunch just isn't paying off. Threat Level: Very Low
6. Mr. Wing It: Usually the showman of the group, he arrives evidently unprepared for what is about to take place. At this point, this species tends to diverge into either (a) a sudden realization on who actually qualified for the playoffs (b) random stabs in the dark. When you hear the words Â“Colton OrrÂ” leave his lips, you'll know he's toast. Threat Level: Moderate
7. Mr. No System: A close cousin to Mr. Wing It, his choices are even more puzzling. When informed that six of his picks play against each other in the first round he's likely to revert to behavior akin to Mr. Hunch. It is also very common for a Mr. No System to convert to a Mr. Beer as the night wears on. Threat Level: High
8. Mr. Distracted: This poolie is like a parrot in a cracker factory. It is highly advisable to dismantle or unplug anything that rings, jingles, squawks, strobes or plays music for the night. His attention span is shorter than a leprechaun's grandchild and he is the one most likely to turn a two hour draft into an all-nighter (which is likely to please Mr. Beer) Threat Level: Moderately Low
9. Mr. Snicker: The one person in the room most likely to leave with a black eye or a kick to the midsection. Every pick in the draft will be accentuated by his sarcastic laughter. When questioned he will display Mr. Hunch-like behavior. He is likely the most recently-divorced of all poolies. Threat Level: Very Low
10. Mr. Deaf Guy: Almost the complete opposite to Mr. Snicker, he is not actually deaf but acts as if he might be. He will attempt to make the same asinine pick in three consecutive rounds and will often blurt the phrase Â“well, I didn't hear himÂ”. Miraculously, Mr. Deaf Guy's hearing always returns when someone mentions going on a beer run. Threat Level: Moderate
11. Mr. Over-Analytical: This boob actually goes to all the trouble of characterizing each poolie that is present and playing off their apparent strengths and weaknesses, as if it can be quantified in some sort of chart or list. He is the one most in need of help and is most likely to turn to idiotic online articles from The Hockey News to increase his infinitesimal chances of winning. Threat Level: Extremely Low
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday and Thursday, only on thehockeynews.com.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org