Oilers Website Attempts to Justify PPV Schedule

It's no secret that the amount and cost of a PPV has gone up over the past couple seasons. It's also no secret that the quality of what's being offered during those broadcasts hasn't really increased.

Oiler fans are still getting repeated player segments, in-depth profiles (which aren't getting any more in-depth than the first time we saw them), and sometimes brutal feeds from the opposition's announcers, until the regular broadcast as it was intended to be shown kicks in.

Yet the Edmonton Oilers expect fans to continue to shell out $14-$17 a game to watch what so far has been a very mediocre hockey team.

I guess the correct way to phrase that would be, "know" the fans will shell out the money, because after all, Edmonton is a hockey town and Edmonton fans need their Oilers fix. I'm no stranger to this feeling.

I for one, have no single reason to order the Sunday game against the Thrashers. Kovalchuk is hurt and likely a shade of his usually entertaining self, Souray may not make his return as he's a game time decision, and the Oilers team still seems to be full of AHL players. But, like a sucker, I'll be sending my cable company another close to $20 to see my third PPV game in November.

I'm not the only one who finds this an issue. A hot topic amongst some of the Oil blogosphere, has brought this issue to attention. So much so, that a rep for the Edmonton Oilers made a statement on the Team 1260's "Oilers Lunch" radio show and I've noticed now, has put a statement on the official Oilers website.

What I find most interesting, is that instead of actually suggesting they'll make the product better, or find a way to decrease the cost for fans since the local cable companies have decided to broadcast fewer games, they've come up with this quote...

"It’s also important to note that that Oilers PPV was created as a vehicle to broadcast Oiler games which would not otherwise be broadcast and we remain true to that initiative."

Gotcha. I agree, I'm glad there is a way to watch more of the games. However, if that is truly the reason, why are there two additional games not being broadcast on any format other than the Oilers website? Couldn't you have made those two games PPV's as well?

My guess is the answer is yes, they could have. And I'm not really sure why they didn't.

Unlike a decade ago, the Oilers are swimming in money. They are one of the most profitable NHL franchises in the league and it can't be the cost of creating the PPV that's slowing them from showing those final two games.

Or maybe, if the team feels sorry for it's fans, and we're only watching this many PPV games because Sportsnet dropped it's coverage from 48-40 games; why are we not being offered a less costly product? Oilers, you say the PPV's only go up because they have to. Does that mean the price had to as well? Because just like the quantity, the cost has continued to climb.

I suppose I could be ignorant to the workings of the Oilers network deal with PPV providers and that the cost to the franchise has increased, but somehow I doubt it.

I'm pretty sure however, I'm not ignorant enough to believe the Olympic excuse presented by an Oiler rep as to why Sportsnet has decreased it's coverage. You say the Olympics hurt the schedule? The same Olympics that start in February? To me, that has little to do with five PPV games in November, a month in which the Olympics won't be a factor.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm confused. I'd have been better if the Oilers had just come out and called this an additional revenue stream. That's what it is. The demand is there and I don't deny it. The supply is there also. Just at a cost close to the edge of what people will pay before demand goes down.

Yet again, maybe not. I'm an Oiler fan. I'll be watching the game, paying my $20 and I'm not really sure why.

On a side note...

My heart goes out to Fernando Pisani and his loved ones. His illness has flared up again and while we've yet to hear the level to which it's affecting Fernando, let's hope it's not bringing him to the end of a fine NHL career.

As injury prone as Pisani has been and with the amount of game action he's missed due to illness, it'll take a fully 100% healthy Pisani to not only be the player he once was, but possibly to obtain another contract in the NHL.

While we'll all be pulling for him to do so, but his focus shouldn't be on his career. It should be to get healthy, for the sake of he and his family.


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Who'd Have Thunk This Would Be The Oilers Problem to Start the Year?

Denis Grebeshkov is out. From a report we heard, he injured his knee in the final minute of the Buffalo game and won't be with the Oilers for the final two games of this five game road trip.

When this season started, would you have ever guessed that the Oilers of all things, would be running out of viable defensemen?

It wasn't some 19 games ago that fans and media types were mocking up trades all over the place suggesting that with the Oilers so deep on NHL quality defensemen, that it only made sense to move one. Now, less than a quarter of the way through the season, Edmonton can barely find enough defensemen to play a full game.

It's been a bad season in general for the Oilers in terms of injury and illness, but c'mon, this is getting silly. Of the probably nine viable options of defense, six Edmonton Oiler blueliners have now been out of action due to injury. Of those six, Sheldon Souray, Steve Staios, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Ladislav Smid have been impact players at times for the Oil and were greatly missed.

With Grebeshkov now gone for an undisclosed amount of time, the Oilers will be thankful to hear that Sheldon Souray, who was scheduled as unlikely until late November, might play Sunday against Atlanta.

A likely return from Shawn Horcoff is also on the horizon and could happen against the Thrashers, which would put the Oilers in a position to limit any excuses. The lines might look like the following for Sundays game if all possible returns actually happen:



This tells us that should the Oilers not be ready to earn back some of the points they lost with a lousy record over the last 9-10 games, they'll be plum out of reasons to feel good about this team and it's ability to be a playoff contender.


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Steve Staios to Play in Net Against Buffalo?

This is Steve Staios. For a while he played right wing with the Atlanta Thrashers. In Edmonton, he's known as a stay-at-home defenseman. Pretty soon, he might be known as a goalie.

Should the injury situation in Edmonton get so bad, that the Oilers find a few man games go missing between their goalies, suit Staios up, he's definitely ready.

In a heartbreaking loss to the Ottawa Senators, Staios was amazing. Outside of the fact he was an amazing plus/minus -+3 in a 3 goals for effort, he had two assists and blocked an amazing 5 shots (have I said he was amazing enough yet?).

In the second period, Oilers goalie Jeff Deslaurier made 5 saves. I can't recall the last time a player had as many or more saves in one stretch than his goalie did.

The crazy part is, Staios wasn't alone in the "I can't believe they were so good" category.

Simply put, Dustin Penner dominated. Astonishingly, he didn't have more to show for it than one goal. Remember, how it wasn't that long ago, Oilers fans were ready to send Penner packing because he could never seem to score that "one goal"?

In all of last season Penner had 17 goals. This year, in 18 games, he has 11. That's on pace for a 50 goal season and only 6 goals shy of last year. It would be unreal to think he won't hit that mark, even if he slows to a snails pace.

To Penner's credit, there seem to be no signs of slowing. When Penner had the puck last night, and often even when he didn't, he was making things happen. He's been the one shining light in the Oilers many shut-out losses and he just seems to be getting better and sees this as his time to be a great hockey player.

If the Oilers can get two more seasons out of him similar to what this season is shaping up to be, we'll all owe Kevin Lowe a big glass of "what were we smokin' to have doubted you" juice. It's still early, but a huge base of fans have never been more happy to be wrong.

Even more, considering the Oilers had a crop of AHL'ers in Oiler uniforms last night, they did what a good road team needed to do to get the win. Despite the fact that Edmonton lost, it's about the most positive type of loss a team can have, kicking off this five game road trip with 3 out of a possible 4 points.

If the Oilers missing players start popping back into place, tough decisions might be coming. Furthermore, if the Oilers are lucky, Edmonton will have earned enough points to have kept themselves in contention. Great news for a team just itching to actually play the roster it had planned to ice from the start of the year.

Of course if the latest play of Liam Reddox, Ryan Potulny and Taylor Chorney have anything to say about it, that opening roster might be a tad different than what was expected.


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Steve MacIntyre Picked Up By Panthers

In what is likely an non-surprising twist to the MacIntyre saga, the Florida Panthers have claimed Steve MacIntyre off of waivers.

The Panthers never really wanted to lose MacIntyre when he was placed on waivers by them a couple seasons back, hoping he'd clear for re-assignment. The Oilers in need of a tough guy at that time picked him up.

The Panther's wasted no time in returning the favor. The only difference being that the Oilers, as much as they liked the character MacIntyre brought to the team, were prepared to lose him and shed another contract.

Quinn wasn't going to play MacIntyre for more than a couple minutes a game. He only did so thanks to injury. It became quickly clear to management, that if the Oilers couldn't use him, they might as well move him.

I'm sure the Oilers wish him the best, and bet Florida will think twice about waiving him again.


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Plethora of Oiler News and Rumors. What's True and What's Not?

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an increase in the amount of typical rumor mill garbage that has surfaced about the Oilers. I say garbage, because 99% of what's out there isn't usually very accurate. With that said, let's take a run down at some of the latest "buzz" and weigh in on what might be true and should stay a rumor.

Michael Nylander will be picked up by Edmonton before he gets the chance to go to Europe or the KHL

This one is a real stretch and is almost 100% untrue for a couple of reasons. While the Oilers are low in offensive depth thanks to some key injuries and illness, they aren't that low. If they have had any interest at all, it wasn't evident as Nylander cleared waivers thanks to his rediculous salary that the Oilers barely escaped the first time around. Edmonton isn't looking to make that mistake again.

Should Nylander pop up on re-entry waivers, the Oilers management may ask the question knowing his $4.8 million cap hit over the next two years is reduced, but it will a question quickly squashed. Nylander isn't likely to play anywhere in the NHL this year unless Washington is so up a creek with injuries they have no other option.

Nathan Horton could be traded and the Oilers want in.

If Nathan Horton is actually on the block in Florida, I'm sure the Oilers do want in. But, that's a big if. Rumors surrounding Horton are not new, despite the fact that Florida's GM Randy Sexton has denied Horton's exit at every turn. Many still suggest Horton's time in Florida is limited.

Those suggesting a player like Gilbert would get it done are wrong. Gilbert has little trade value with his slow start and his $4 million cap hit for Horton's $4 million cap hit is slightly uneven. If the Oilers could get it done, expect someone like Cogliano and Grebeskov or Gilbert to be a starting point. That might not even do it.

Oilers Eyeing Someone from Tampa?

While there might be some truth to the Oilers having a peak at some of the Tampa roster, it's just as likely the amount of time Kevin Lowe has been seen at Tampa games could have more to do with Stamkos and his Olympic potential than anything else.

Vincent Lecavalier is off to a slow start, thus rumors swirl that he's once again trade bait. Don't believe it. Even for the Oilers who would love to have a player like Lecavalier in their lineup, Vinnie has an 11yr contract with a cap hit of $7.7 million. A trade like that is almost impossible for Edmonton to complete even if it were an option -- which it isn't.

Jeff Halpern's name has been thrown in there, but he's a potential Selke trophy winner the way he's been playing. Tampa would have to think long and hard about moving him.

Steve MacIntyre was Waived to Make Room For Another Contract

This one is true, but not the way you might expect. MacIntyre's writing was on the wall. He'd been the subject of a number of talks regarding clearing his contract, but injuries played a part in delaying that decision. Only recently when Quinn still refused to use him, while the Oilers were at their weakest, did Edmonton management cut the cord.

The Oilers will look to replace MacIntyre with another able body. Brad Mair from Buffalo? Doubtful, but possible. More than likely, that spot will go to a Springfield player. Reddox and Potulny both made strong cases for themselves.

Nilsson's Days in Edmonton are Numbered

True, and getting more accurate with every player that makes their way back to the Oilers after injuries have healed. Nilsson has had chances to prove he's not worth getting rid of, but he hasn't done it.

The Oilers will look to shed his salary in some fashion when that choice hits them. Right now, Edmonton is far too banged up, but that won't last forever. Nilsson has about two weeks at best to turn it around for himself or he's likely the first to go.

Oilers Looking to Make an Offer to UFA Satan?

This one is interesting only because we have no confirmation other than Satan has received offers from a few NHL teams, mostly injury depleted. The Oilers would fit into that description and could use some scoring help, which is what Satan would bring.

For the Oilers it likely would be a cost effective, short term solution. It worked with Comrie better than expected, so the Oilers might be more apt to give it a shot than they would have previously.

Got anything to add that we haven't heard about? We're all ears.


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K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid(s)

The Oilers had lost six of seven coming in to Sundays game versus Colorado. If anyone did, very few people expected the Oilers to pull out a victory over the hottest team in the NHL -- one which was going for a franchise record consecutive wins at home. The Oilers missing Ales Hemsky, Sheldon Souray, Shawn Horcoff, JF Jacques, Ladislav Smid and others only added to the evidence that this game should have been a blowout for the Avs.

So the Oilers, who likely had little other choice, came into Denver and played simple effective hockey. They shot the puck, picked up garbage goals, limited the turnovers and wound up winning 5-3 over Colorado, surprising almost everyone.

Their power play was good, their penalty kill was excellent and they're teamwork even better. They didn't necessarily have the skill to play it any other way.

Liam Reddox and Ryan Potulny got the call up in the absence of key players and both, especially Potulny, made a case as a permanent fixture when a number of those missing players return.

Sure, it's only one game, but this isn't new for Potulny who's had this kind of effect in short term stints with the Oilers before. With 3 points in 8 games last season, Potulny contributed with literally no ice time or gravy powerplay time under MacTavish, despite his strengths as a hockey player. It's likely, that while Potulny is with the Oilers this time around, he'll be given a bit more offensive responsibility in areas to which he excels.

Reddox was effective defensively and contributed a gritty or "crusty" spark if you will; that the Oilers had been missing. It was evident in the Oilers style of play.

Keeping it simple and putting pucks on net, helped the Oilers get an early lead. With two of their three goals coming in a somewhat "ugly" fashion, it was those garbage style points that put the Oilers past a team that likely should have beaten them; especially if the Oilers had continued the style of play fans were accustomed to over the last seven contests.

Perhaps for Edmonton, this victory is more than a lucky win. Perhaps its a lesson that goals come in all shapes and forms, but that the only way to score them is to get them on net. For two periods they did that. In the second they didn't, and the game change was evident.

I'm sure Edmonton doesn't want a repeat performance of the 2nd period against the Avs or a reminder of how bad they were in the games leading up to Colorado. Keep it simple, put pucks on net and play with a bit of vigour, and those reminders might be few and far between.


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