Mr. Fartcatcher: so far, so good

Robin Brownlee
November 10 2009 11:27PM

Pardon me while I slip on my copper and blue PJs, but the Edmonton Oilers have two more points in the standings than I thought they'd get through the first two games of their road trip, even with their 4-3 shootout loss to the Ottawa Senators.

I was thinking in terms of a 1-3-1 record going out, but their 5-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche to open the trip has them in reasonable shape going into Buffalo, Atlanta and Columbus.

Even two more points in one of those three stops makes it at worst a .500 trip. While that's nothing to write home about, it's reasonable given that Pat Quinn had to dress a handful of AHLers against the Senators because of injuries.

While I'm not liking the Oilers chances in Buffalo Wednesday or Columbus on Monday to end the swing -- then again, I was totally out to lunch about their prospects in Denver -- there's a deuce waiting in Georgia.

At 8-8-2, the Oilers are doing a pretty decent job treading water when you consider they've been without Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky for awhile and Sheldon Souray since the third game of the season.

I was betting the Oilers would have stumbled far worse by now, but they've been more resilient than I thought they'd be and they're not far from getting healthy again.

ON THE TUBE

It's their product, so the Oilers are free to package and sell it anyway they want, but if they're going to keeping expecting fans to cough up for pay-per-view, at $16 a pop for the HD version, they need to provide more bang for the buck -- not to be confused with telling fans to grab their ankles.

Even if you're willing to accept the insistence by the team that more PPV dates this season isn't a cash grab, as Sportsnet play-by-play man Kevin Quinn dutifully explained today on Oilers Lunch with Bob Stauffer -- not sure I'm buying it --  I'm guessing some fans are feeling stiffed.

What added value are fans getting for their money? Is there any real behind the scenes content? If the Oilers are going to ask for $16 bucks each time out, shouldn't the content change?

While I can appreciate where he's coming from, how many times have we seen Sam Gagner point out that bad drivers are a pet peeve of his? At least twice, probably more, in what's supposed to pass as added content. Giving fans old stuff that's been in the can for weeks is nothing more than cutting corners

And, please, if Quinn is going to pique my interest during a stoppage in play with, "Now, an update," it should be an update, not another Crystal Leriger spot flogging tickets for the Oil Kings or a repeat spot on moustache growing contests -- yes, I know it's for charity.

That's not an update, it's an infomercial. Finding out Souray is ready to play or that Steve Staios slipped in the shower and suffered another concussion, well, that's what I'm talking about.

THE GOOD

-- PPV or not, I've got to admit former tough guy Louie DeBrusk is growing on me as the colour analyst. Ray Ferraro he's not, at least not yet, but DeBrusk has a decent eye for the game.

THE BAD

-- Please enough of the interviews with coaches on the bench during the game. There's no insight there. None. It's an imposition on the coaches in the heat of the battle. The last thing they're thinking about is providing an answer with any depth to one of Gene Principe's penetrating questions. It's like watching somebody interrogate a guy who has to take a crap really bad.

THE UGLY

-- Again, the lack of real value-added content. Don't feed fans hamburger with spots that are nothing more than in-house cross-promotion and tell them they're getting steak. I don't consider Dan Tencer in his brown suit (again) standing in front of his 630 CHED backdrop talking about the Dany Heatley trade a bargain for the money.

AND...

-- Horcoff and Hemsky arrived in Ottawa with Ryan O'Marra before the game, so there's a pretty good chance one or both of them will play on this trip, and sooner rather than later.

If you saw Horcoff toting his own equipment bag into the dressing room on the PPV, you'd have to think he's close to being ready to go. The question is whether Quinn decides to put them in against Buffalo or give them three more days off before the Atlanta game Sunday.

-- While Stauffer has suggested Souray might be eight or nine days away from returning from a concussion, which would take him past the end of the trip, I have a sneaking suspicion he'll play in Atlanta.

-- What is it about Gilbert Brule that Quinn doesn't like? Brule scored the 3-3 goal on a night he got just 10 shifts for 8:10 in ice time. Ryan Potulny, meanwhile, played 18:17. Lucy, somebody 'splain.

-- Listen to Robin Brownlee every Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. on Just A Game with Jason Gregor on TEAM 1260.

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A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Gerald R. Ford
November 11 2009, 11:39AM
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"Milhouse"

hehehe...

http://img130.imageshack.us/img130/7602/milhouseo.jpg

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#52 Ogden Brother
November 11 2009, 11:59AM
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Off topic:

Oilers EV/SH goal scoring leaders over the last 100 games

Hemsky - 21 Penner - 20 Moreau - 17 Cogs - 17 Gagner - 13

Ethan Moreau - most underated Oiler forward?

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#53 erixon
November 11 2009, 12:09PM
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I was a guy who bought all the PPV games last year, but this year, I have only paid for one. $16 is a little too rediculous, I can afford to miss a game here and there. The content I don't find that great, nothing special anyways, at least not to warrant $16 a pop. I'm sure I am not the only one. I would like to see the PPV numbers compared to last year, especially after the NYI night, where the first period was broadcast on the MSG network.

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#54 freeze
November 11 2009, 12:26PM
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TSN tonight is a welcome change!

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#55 Mharco
November 11 2009, 12:59PM
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Now I may be crucified for this but as an Oiler Fan I am very bias. In my opinion all other teams are only lucky if they score on us and the Mighty Oil are the Favorite for every game they go into. I hate hearing about how well other teams are forchecking, how our beloved Oil are in a slump, or anything else that make the bad guys sound respectable. I would gladly pay for PPV if it meant the announcers would slag the enemy and be maybe not as biased but at least a little bit.

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#56 rlarsen
November 11 2009, 01:14PM
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being a play-by-play man is a hard job. the pace of the game, getting names correct and calling a game in an exciting and interesting manner. but how many times can we hear 'he lost the handle'...?!! kevin quinn does a decent job but come on... drop the handle references already!!! half a dozen times a game is too much!!!

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#57 rlarsen
November 11 2009, 01:15PM
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being a play-by-play man is a hard job. the pace of the game, getting names correct and calling a game in an exciting and interesting manner. but how many times can we hear 'he lost the handle'...?!! kevin quinn does a decent job but come on... drop the handle references already!!! half a dozen times a game is too much!!!

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#58 BarryS
November 11 2009, 01:24PM
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So what's so hard about getting a couple addition colour guys to talk in the breaks, home and away. They don't even need to be at either game. A room, (at the rink, the Oilers office, wherever, couple chairs, a couple "experts" to sit in them, a couple TV's, a couple mics, a camera, a camera operator, a switcher director guy to make sure they know when their on and off. Heck, regular tv does it all the time for minor Olympics sports and such. The cable/phone networks replace commercials on live sports from the US all the time with canadian comercials so don't tell me its impossible. In in the old days they called games off teletype scripts (i.e. Ronnie Raygun, the ex-president, so with all the modern technology it must be possible.

Edit

Don't they have a full studio in the rink they could use home and way anyway?

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#60 Scuba Steve
November 11 2009, 02:14PM
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rubbertrout wrote:

Isn't the number of PPV's just a question of what games get left over after the networks have taken what they want? Admittedly there have been quite a few in the past few weeks but at least the team is putting the games that aren't televised out there so we can watch them if we want. If there was no opportunity to watch teh games at all everyone would be bitching about that too.

If you don't want to shell out the $ watch the highlights instead. I'd love to watch all 82 games but I recognize that I don't have the time to do so.

Better yet go to a bar and feel good about not spending 16 buck until you realize that a few beer and some nachos means that you just spent more than you would have if you had just watched the game from home.

That said I do agree with Brownlee about the quality or lack thereof of the "added content".

There's the problem, most of the PPV games are available. Last night's game was on Sportsnet East, it's an easy thing to broadcast it on SN west if they choose to. You could also watch the game on NHL.com if you sign up for the season. If they were broadcasting games that had no TV coverage, then I would have no problem spending the cash.

The PPV games are a joke, too much $$ not enough content, just like Brownlee says.

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#61 Slats
November 11 2009, 02:20PM
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For improvement to SN (and PPV) and to provide a better product to go head to head with TSN - I would make a big fat contract offer to PJ Stock from CBC. That guy is golden. He would blow Louie out of the water and ratings increase would be huge.

Have a few cameos of Jerry Dee on east coast games and voila - that's $16 bucks I would part with.

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#62 OilW30
November 11 2009, 02:47PM
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I have to say that I can't believe they allow in-game interviews. That seems like a total intrusion on the game. Let them coach the game and talk to them afterwards. In between periods is bad enough.

On another note, we're close to VAN in the standings. Who would you say has been hit harder by injuries?

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#63 MattL
November 11 2009, 05:00PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Off topic:

Oilers EV/SH goal scoring leaders over the last 100 games

Hemsky - 21 Penner - 20 Moreau - 17 Cogs - 17 Gagner - 13

Ethan Moreau - most underated Oiler forward?

I do like that stat, and Moreau doesn't get enough credit for putting pucks on net and getting goals, but at the same time, scoring on the PP is also a skill some forwards have and others don't. Given equal PP time, Moreau would be outscored by Gagner considerably, and they all count the same on the scoreboard.

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#64 Maggie the Monkey
November 11 2009, 05:56PM
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While we're on the topic of television analysts, are there any hockey fans who actually appreciate Pierre McGuirre out there? I think that his enthusiasm and oversimplified commentary could have a valuable role to play in the promotion of hockey in non-hockey markets, but as a broadcaster in Canada? Why? I don't need to be told that Rick Nash is a monster any more than a basketball fan needs to be told that Lebron James can dunk. My enjoyment of each TSN broadcast is determined by the 50/50 odds of whether McGuirre or Farerro is on; the former gets the permanent mute button while the latter is possibly the best in the business.

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#65 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 11 2009, 08:56PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Random stuff...

If you think Brownlee couldn't write "crap" in a newspaper, than you haven't been reading the Edmonton Sun. Scatological humour is right up their alley.

I've seen a few Canucks' PPV broadcasts over the years, and frankly they aren't any better than the Oilers' productions.

Gene Principe, as some (including Brownlee) have noted previously, is incredibly gifted at his job. The fact that I can watch him slowly lob softball after softball and hawk whatever Oilers' promotion is up for hawking that weak and still find him both entertaining and likeable is a tremendous testament to his ability. Still, I don't know why the Oilers assume that unabashed pandering is what their fans want to pay for.

Debrusk and Quinn really aren't bad. Quinn's easy to listen to, and with Debrusk I find that I disagree with him one minute and then a minute later he points out something I missed. So while comments like "it doesn't matter how many saves you make, it matters when you make them" still bug me, I actually like the guy as a colour commentator.

if louie debrusk says "if you will" one more time i will drive to his house, knock on his door and...well... politely ask him to stop.

or, turn it into a drinking game.

take a shot everytime sweet louie says "if you will", see if you can make it to the first intermission

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#66 RossCreekNation
November 11 2009, 10:46PM
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Maggie the Monkey wrote:

While we're on the topic of television analysts, are there any hockey fans who actually appreciate Pierre McGuirre out there? I think that his enthusiasm and oversimplified commentary could have a valuable role to play in the promotion of hockey in non-hockey markets, but as a broadcaster in Canada? Why? I don't need to be told that Rick Nash is a monster any more than a basketball fan needs to be told that Lebron James can dunk. My enjoyment of each TSN broadcast is determined by the 50/50 odds of whether McGuirre or Farerro is on; the former gets the permanent mute button while the latter is possibly the best in the business.

I like McGuire. I acknowledge that sometimes he goes over the edge but I have absolutely no problem with him. I wasn't a fan of Ferarro at Sportsnet, but since the move to TSN, he's up there. I also like Nick Kypreos, whom many dislike. Pretty much I don't like Kevin Quinn, Mark Lee, Doug MacLean, Rob Faulds, Gene Principe & Charlie Simmer.

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#67 roger
November 13 2009, 08:50AM
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Peter wrote:

You take Tencer over Principe must mean you are under 25 and appreciate a guy with no insight. Tencer is the worst sports host we have seen in years.

Gene's job is to be the host, not be an indepth interviewer, and he is great at it. For my money I will take Gene any day.

For my money I will take Gene any day.

you will probably take him anyway you can too.

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#68 Ogden Brother
November 14 2009, 02:41PM
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Robin you fat piece of crap. How dare you call Tencer Milhouse. I hope he kicks you where it hurts. I would pay for a ring act with you and Tencer where he kicks you in your v@gina. You are one cocky cok$ucker. Have another diet sub Jarred from Subway.

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