Sometimes it's what's not said that means the most.
"I have two main reasons (originally there were twelve but I only booked the hall for an hour) for retiring here today (first off, I was in townÂ…): The first one is I can no longer play at the level (a touch above Lafleur, a little south of God) that I was accustomed to in the past and that has been, very, very frustrating to me (and the poolies who picked me, I'm told) throughout this past year (during the lockout, no real problems). The second one is realizing that my health, along with my family (OK, I guess that's three things) is the most important thing in the world (besides World peace, I suppose).
"I don't feel great when I wake up (every night at 3 a.m. because that freakin' neighbor's cat is still in heat). That's been a big part this year (plus I'm hooked on Internet poker). Even to this day I'm not feeling 100 percent (94% on January 12th is the closest so far). That was the most frustrating thing (besides those lame-ass mutual funds of mine) for me.
"I also realized that the new NHL (changing to silver and flipping the script constitutes a new logo, boys?) is really for the (inexpensive) young guys and I think we have a lot of them now in the league (I paid a kid to do some research for that nugget of information). Some young guys that are dominating - we have a few here in Pittsburgh (Sidney, Ben Roethlisberger) - and I think these young guys are really the future (43-year-old fourth linersÂ…not so much) of the league."
"I think the best decision is to retire as a player (I wanted to retire as a referee but it seemed inappropriate) and turn the game over (curiously, the same way I like my eggs) to the younger guys who are the future of this team (wherever we end up) and this league. It's a young man's game now (in the '40s, octogenarians ruled).Â”
"I don't want to take pills (different pills, Mr. Berard) the rest of my life. It's not something I want to go through (like watching Cats or enduring body cavity searches)."
"All I can say to the young players (the old guys nodded when I told them but I really don't think they heard me) is enjoy every moment of it (and don't scratch the upholstery). Your career (like a squirrel that's caught on fire) goes by very quickly. It's a great game (so is Backgammon, but the money's not nearly as good) and you guys are all very (platonically) special to me in the NHL."
"I have so many great memories (watches, expensive carsÂ…), especially the Stanley Cups (can't remember much about the night after though), and I want to thank the fans in Pittsburgh (both of you who still have season's tickets) - and hockey fans everywhere (except New York and selected parts of Nebraska) - for the support (and the candy) they've given to me and my family (my youngest still loves Tootsie Rolls) over the years. It's been an unbelievable ride (Disney's new Extreme Vortex rocks, by the way, dude). And I really do believe this team has a great future here in Pittsburgh (no, seriously). I'm looking forward to watching (but, not paying) these young players grow (what can I say, puberty's mesmerizing) and develop into a championship team (for the city of Winnipeg)."
"If I could still play this game, I would be on the ice (not right now, we weren't scheduled to play till seven). This (represented by my index finger) is it. It hurts (when I smack it like this).Â”
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