Another Concussion

No PMO Photo Op this week as for the last few days I’ve been unable to access the photo gallery in the press release the PMO sends out due to some computer glitch on their end.

Pity, too, because there was one photo in the last communique that showed, and I’m quoting the caption here:  “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen, [playing] a game of Dreidel with local kids at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre on the third night of Hanukkah.”

Had I written that description, I would have used “children” instead of “kids”. But whatever. It would’ve yielded some interesting quips, I’m sure.

Because of the computer snafu, I decided to do a post on hockey concussions instead. In the World Junior yesterday, Canadian forward Boone Jensen possibly sidelined 17-year old Finnish defenceman Olli Maata for the tournament with hard open-ice hit in the first period of Canada’s 8-1 victory. Then today, the Nashville Predators announced that star defenceman Shea Weber (pictured) would be out indefinitely with a concussion suffered in a game against the Dallas Stars when he took a hard hit from Mark Fistric (son of Boris, I wonder?).

Here’s a link to the TSN report. But really, it’s getting to be a pretty familiar story. And if something isn’t done, it’s going to kill the NHL. A couple of weeks ago, some news report said that the salary being paid to players like Sidney Crosby, Chris Pronger, Ryan Miller, James Reimer and numerous others who have been out for substantial periods of time with concussions was in the neighbourhood of $87 million.

That’s a lot of money for NHL teams to swallow. And what about the damage that’s being done to the game through the loss, sometimes for the season, of some of its brightest stars?

I never played a game of organized hockey in my life, so my perception is pretty much as a spectator. Given the size and speed of today’s players, I think the ice surface has to be expanded. Not to Olympic-size proportions, but somewhat, to give skill players a bit more room to operate.

I think something needs to be done to tone down the equipment too. All the enhancements that have been made through design and materials have essentially given players the capability to fly around like missiles and launch themselves at opposing players. Take away the armour, and the next time some goon takes a run at someone along the boards and misses even he’ll think twice about doing it again.

Those are my thoughts, anyway. Anyone else want to weigh in?

Author: Gregory Beatty

Greg Beatty is a crime-fighting shapeshifter who hatched from a mutagenic egg many decades ago. He likes sunny days, puppies and antique shoes. His favourite colour is not visible to your puny human eyes. He refuses to write a bio for this website and if that means Whitworth writes one for him, so be it.

36 thoughts on “Another Concussion”

  1. Here’s a thought for the NHL…

    Yep…make ice surface larger.
    Yep…de-weaponize the equipment.

    But…how about this – WEIGHT LIMITS!

    200lb max fully geared.

    Crazy idea? Would it even make a difference? I don’t know, but it seems logical to me that the weight (size) of players is a contributing factor. You’d have fewer guys over 6’2″ ish and that would help too.

    Yup – sorry son, ya can’t play because you’re too big. Try football.

    I like it!!!

  2. Is Harper really a hockey fan, or is that just political posing? I know he has a book coming out, but can he even skate? I always doubt huge sports fans when they appear most unathletic.

  3. BTW, I can write that quip anyway.

    Harper at Hannukah: “Now you tell your mom and dad, Paul Dewer, Brian Topp, and the NDP will demolish those settlements in the West Bank and let their union friends sell body bombs to Hamas, while Mr. Rae and the Liberals will allow Iran to bomb them. Oh and don’t forget, liberals are pussies who don’t fight in wars, therefore, they don’t stop Germans from hurting your mom and dad, so make sure you never, ever vote for them. P.S. Irwin Cotler’s retiring.”

  4. Nick: It’s neither the concussions nor the media attention that’s new. It’s the multi-million dollars riding on the team’s performance and the players’ careers that are new. As well, medical science know a lot more about the effect of concussions today than they did 40 or 50 years ago.

  5. The risks in hockey have always been tied inextricably to the nature of the game itself. It’s fast and it’s physical. Deal with it. As Brian Burke said, if you’re afraid of getting hurt, go bowling instead.
    p.s. The “solution” to concussions has been there forever. Place a ban on any and all contact that involves the boards. In the open ice, you’re on your own. You know the expression. “Keep your head up.”

  6. Would we be having this concussion discussion if it was Joe Journeyman instead of Sid What’s His Name?
    p.s. Pro hockey teams can afford insurance, and medical science is over-rated.

  7. Managing Editor, hollering through the open door of his office, as the Sports Editor strolls across the newsroom: “Hey! Jocko! When are WE gonna have something on this concussion business? I wanna see it in tomorrow’s paper. Got that?”

  8. Sports Editor, strolling across the newsroom, in response to Managing Editor, hollering through his office door: “Concussions! Right! Gotcha, chief. We’ll have something in the section tomorrow. For sure. But it’ll have to run inside. Front page, I’m giving to Tebow. He’s all the rage right now.”

  9. Managing Editor, hollering through his office door at Sports Editor, strolling across the newsroom: “I want concussions on front sport, dammit, not Tebow.”
    Sports Editor: “I’m telling you, chief, nothing is hotter than Tebow right now. Not even concussions.”
    Publisher, on the speaker phone, from his office, where he is practising his golf swing: “Gentlemen, gentlemen. Let’s not argue. We’ll run a reader’s poll and let the customers decide.”

  10. Reader’s Poll: Which of these two topics is most likely to draw your attention to the advertisements that accompany the articles?

    A) concussions in professional sport
    B) Tim Tebow

  11. The results in the reader’s poll show a virtual deadlock.
    Publisher, to himself, after the Managing Editor and the Sports Editor have retired to the tavern: “If Tim Tebow ever gets a concussion, I am going to sell one hell of a lot of newspapers.”

  12. “You decide!” Radio listeners/Newspaper readers, at the helm, calling the shots! Set-ting…the…agenda!!! BULLSHIT!

  13. I would favour this online poll:

    As a reader, which would you prefer to see in the content wedge between the 15/16th-page ads:

    A) More context
    B) More detail
    C) More original story ideas/Fewer press release follow-ups
    D) More swagger
    E) More interesting writing
    E) All of the above

  14. “Concussions, bah! Part of the game. Me, I’m enjoying my newfound identity as a hands-off, laissez-faire, Saskababyboomer… What I don’t want to think about now are rules, interventions, unless they’re militaristic. Let ’em play, knock eachother’s minds out. Get the government outta my sports pages.”

  15. Good thought, Talbot — we could certainly use something to fill those annoying little empty spaces between the advertisements.


    You say, “Radio listeners/Newspaper readers, at the helm, calling the shots! Set-ting…the…agenda!!! BULLSHIT!”

    I say, “Ka-ching!! Ka-ching!!”

  16. There’s just too much reader empowerment going on these days. It’s almost as if the 99% had taken over. One more time!

    Do you want more:

    A) Kardashians
    B) Awesome economic news
    C) Riders

  17. I’ll tell you what I DON’T want to see, Talbot. I don’t want to see any more vaccination stories. Talk about the tail wagging the (prairie) dog. The mag came out looking like a p.r. firm on that one. The only thing missing was Darren Stevens.

  18. Mmmm, vaccines. Me, I get my vaccinations through the food chain and water supply. Nothing finer than sitting down to a quaint Sunday meal of triple-vaccinated roast beef with a tall, cool glass of MMR-resistant H2O. We’re living the life, my friend.

  19. Talbot, can I interest you in the position of editor? The board has granted me permission to give Whitworth the heave-ho. I would add “unanimously,” but I don’t want to rub it in. Stephen was good, in his day, but, clearly, his day has passed.

  20. The sad thing is, there’s just a fundamental, undeniable, easy-to-perceive lack of integrity in many news organizations these days. It’s beyond the 3/4-focus on ad revenue. Its decline is on par with the erosion of the social safety net, and the total decline in the quality of Chunky Soup.

  21. @ #23

    Thank you for the offer, sir! However, to this day, too many questions remain pertaining to the proper usage of grammar, eg. take/bring. Will I take a red velvet whoopie cake to the dinner or Will I bring a whoopie cake? Probably bring, but I’m not 100% confident. Let me take a year to confront these issues.

  22. 26…

    The sick thing is, I will learn these things, but then the mind will trick. Certain things are loose upstairs. Not devastatingly, but just enough, tho I think I’ve got the your/you’re and its/it’s and me vs. I things covered.

  23. I do wish you’d reconsider, my good man. It might help to assure you that, where the prairie dog is concerned, proper grammar has not been a concern in the past. Likewise, punctuation and spelling.

  24. Then there’s the long-simmering issue of upgrading my Grade 12 Physics mark of 58%. I never have been able to figure out how I only scored 58%. I went into the final with the sub-respectable grade of 67%, even tho I always felt like a solid 75% student in Phys. I dunno. These things need to be addressed. I can;t move on till I do.

  25. Just between you and me, Talbot, in my makeover of the prairie dog, I’m thinking of adding a columnist. Does anyone know what Barbara Amiel is doing these days?

  26. You drive a hard bargain, Talbot, but fine, go ahead and enroll — I’ll give you time off to take the damn physics class. Yes, of course. With pay.

  27. Hell, she’s still holding it down for Maclean’s, and researching Regina revenue properties on MLS. Word is, they have their eye on that cracked old yellow-beige mansion on Hill Ave. She’s also into bootlegging.

  28. Re That cracked old yellow-beige mansion on Hill Avenue:

    I told Whitworth he has to be out by the end of the month.

  29. Folks, it’s been a slice. Signing off now. Think I’ll watch the hockey highlights and see who got his bell rung tonight.

  30. Well, you’ve been a great audience, folks, but it’s time to move on, to other people, other things.
    Thank you very much, and farewell.

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