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?