Here and now, is Ryan Rishaug the best, the most experienced or most accomplished play-by-by man available to take over from Rod Phillips as radio voice of the Edmonton Oilers? Hell no, on all three counts.

So, why do I suspect — without having had anybody with the Oilers or Rishaug himself confirm he has even applied for the job — he might give the best guy, John Bartlett of the Toronto Marlies, a run for his money and the committee filling this plum job something to think about?

Well, considering Rishaug has less than a dozen games of play-calling experience on a resume stacked with sports anchoring work and clips as a make-up pad guy with TSN, he’s pretty good, that’s why.

After listening to some clips of Rishaug doing play-by-play of a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers in Helsinki, I came away surprised how good he was, all things considered.

Is Rishaug as good as Bartlett, rumoured to be the other finalist from a stack of more than 50 candidates? No, not right now. Might he be as good in the not-too-distant future? I think he has a shot to be. That might be enough to get him the job.

It’s a rebuild, after all.


I know good play-by-play when I hear it and what I heard from Rishaug today isn’t bad, factoring in his inexperience. That said, I’ve listened to Bartlett, too, and he’s already very good.

In my estimation, when you take everything into consideration, Bartlett and Rishaug have to be favoured over Regan Bartel of the Kelowna Rockets and veteran Dennis Beyak of Toronto to take over from Phillips — assuming, ahem, they’ve applied.

I’ve already gone on the record more than once as saying the Oilers have to get this right. I’ve also said, here at Oilersnation and on TEAM 1260 with both Bob Stauffer and Jason Gregor, that Patrick LaForge, Allan Watt and everybody else in on this hire had better pick a guy with the chops to sell the brand on the radio.

He also has to be a fit for Stauffer, who is the radio analyst and would have been short-listed for the play-by-play job himself if he wasn’t seen as more valuable in the position he’s already in.

So, am I flip-flopping on any of that? I don’t think so.


For me, "having the chops" for the gig doesn’t necessarily mean having the most experience. It means having the most talent. I know several guys in different careers who’ve done the same job for 20 years or more. That doesn’t always mean they’re really good at it.

I’ve also said I don’t think a coveted job as an NHL play-by-play guy should be a learn-as-you-go experiment — not if you’re talking about somebody with limited upside.

But, if the candidate shows a real flair and aptitude for it, which to my ear Rishaug does, there’s room to at least contemplate letting somebody grow into the role.

Could Rishaug match and maybe surpass the likes of Bartlett and Bartel by the time Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle are sophomores with the Oilers? Would 82 games or so get him there? Based on what I’ve heard, I don’t believe it’s an unreasonable leap of faith to think so. He’s not the sure thing Bartlett is, but . . .

I wonder if LaForge and Watt and the rest are batting that around this weekend with an eye to an announcement next week. Are they looking at Rishaug, who knows the Oilers and is known by them, as favourably as I am now that I’ve listened? I don’t know.

But they should be.


I’ve just been told — at 6 :30 p.m. — Rishaug didn’t get the play-by-play job, but was told he made it right to the final cut. I still don’t know who will be hired, or if that’s been decided as of right now, but I can tell you I just got off the phone with Dennis Beyak in Kelowna and he has not heard from the Oilers.

The significance of that is this: it’s my understanding the Oilers have been phoning short-listed candidates to tell them if they didn’t get the job. If Beyak was indeed on the short list, then he hasn’t, as of 6:45,  been scratched from the list, so take that for what it might (or may not) be worth. My best guess, as I already said, is the other finalists are Bartlett and Bartel.

Stay tuned.


Either I’m getting bad information, which is entirely possible, or the short list for the job has become something of a moving target.

With Rishaug out, my understanding was that Bartlett, Bartel and Beyak, based on the fact he hadn’t heard from the Oilers (and my assumption he was in the final five), were the final three. Today just before noon, I got a text telling me Rod Pedersen, the voice of the Saskatchewan Roughriders and somebody mentioned months ago as a candidate, will be interviewing with the Oilers this week.







Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    To be honest if the job is just to replace Rod and isn’t a bigger role it doesn’t matter to me who gets the job. Damn near every Oiler game will be on TV this year and I might have to listen to maybe 2-3 games coming back from the lake or something.

    It’s not like who does the color is going to be the make it or break it for whether or not you listen to the game.

    • I’m pretty sure in TB they simulcast radio/tv. One would assume that other teams would try the same thing, assuming Sportsnet would let the Oilers in the future. It’s strange that the Oilers can control the radio voice – but have no say in who is the TV voice (just an assumption).

      I think a role like that, or a more journalistic role in the future would keep the fans even more connected & probably save some money.

  • book¡e

    Having the radio and TV broadcast the same would be great because the TV broadcaster would then talk about the game and not about their weekend, their bbq, the weather, etc. durring the game.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Well there goes the worry about not having anyone in Europe. Not sure if this is an upgrade or not, but I think we need some man power over in Europe. It’s not just for the draft, but like Lowetide said getting those Hejdas out of nowhere.

      I never understood why we didn’t go the Detroit route and have one of the largest scouting staffs around.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach


    Do you know how many scouts the Oilers currently have and where they do their scouting?

    I’d be curious to see the breakdown of our scouting staff.

  • No offence to everyone here who cares so passionately about this subject so much, but in all honesty, who even listens to radio broadcasts anymore? Besides possibly people are are forced to work in the evenings, and also have access to listen to a radio, and not watch tv that is. Between a group of 3 friends and me, none of us have listened to more than a handful of Oiler games over the past 5 years on the radio, while not missing many games on tv, or attending games in person. This issue of a new broadcaster is not only not important, but not relevent.

    The bigger issue should be finding new broadcasters for Oilers telecasts. I can bear Kevin Quinn, and he is okay, but just okay. He definitely has the be in the bottom quartile of broadcasters in the NHL though, and finding a replacement that would be an improvement should be a cakewalk. Replacing Louie Debrusk has already been discussed enough on this site and is a pretty obvious decsion.

    • Crackenbury

      You’re probably a younger fan. As you get older and your life gets busier with kids and work, you’ll find yourself catching Oiler games on the radio while driving to your own kids games or travelling on the highway for work.

      There are plenty of people whose only access to a game is through the radio.

  • I have unheard from the Grapevine from some unamed sources that Steve Kouleas will get the Oilers play by play radio job. These sources might be unamed but I am told they are legit. So take it as you may but I think Steve Kouleas has the job.

  • Hemmertime

    Blasted Shaw, just let them know Ill be cancelling my service if they don’t run the channel, hell, they can even charge me more – I don’t care. I just dont want to use Telus’ sh*tty PVR service

    • I understand that people have personal axes to grind with certain carriers, but TELUS’ PVR is actually the best out of all the major providers.

      Triple tuner, you can program it over the internet/smartphone, central PVR, less compression, etc.

      BTW, I’m with Bell.

      • Reggie

        Just to way in on the Telus PVR – it would depend on which version of the PVR you have. The version I have is limited in features compared to the new version, but it was free of charge and pretty much allows me to do what I need from a simple perspective.

        The new version available with Optik is pretty impressive.

      • Hemmertime

        They JUST got multi-tuner PVR. For the longest time you could only record what you were watching (really fancy VCR). Still, takes 5 seconds to change channels, contract, and only good price if you bundle with their net. But telus cares if you download illegal torrents

        • I may have misunderstood you – that PVR that you’re referring to doesn’t exist anymore…at least not for new subscribers anyways.

          The new Optik service was the one I was describing – like @Reggie was saying…it’s pretty impressive.

          I have heard that old service was pretty awful though.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          not trying to hijack the thread but:

          1) multi tuner has been out since about february. depending on qualifications and area up grades, you could have up to a quad tuner

          2) instant channel change. there is no delay..at all. with the newer optik

          3) you can get it with no contract

          4) as with any provider, you get a deal if you bundle

          i will agree 110% it is far from perfect, but it is light years ahead of where it was a year ago. i download tons of torrents, and have never been questioned at all, no letters no e-mails, nuthin.

          personal preference always trumps bells and whistles though

  • R.A. Slapshotzky

    I really like Rishaug. He’s the third tenor at TSN in my humble opinion. At first I liked the idea of him being the next play-by-play guy, but the more I thought about it I changed my mind.

    Main Reason: his “TSN voice/news voice” kept playing in my head over and over when I tried to imagine him calling games. Hard to imagine his voice with any sort of emotion at all.

    Other reason: his voice is also a little soft/high for radio. Call me old school, but I like a Foster Hewitt/Rod Phillips or a Pat Laforge type voice. I think a play-by-play voice is something you’re born with…kinda like a goal scorer and if you don’t have “it” then you don’t have it, but… I would’ve loved to hear him do a try-out call to hear his voice in a different setting… or at least to give him a chance to prove me wrong.

    Another reason: It replayed in my head over and over “Ryan Rishaug reporting, TSN…Ed Mon Ton” when I tried to imagine him yelling “HEEEEEEEEE SCOOOOOOOOOORES!”

  • As far as I know Telus is not actively pursuing overages on downloads. However the tools are in place and it won’t be long before this takes place.If you log on to your web account you can check you bandwidth usage each month. The Optik mediaroom product is great and is lightyears above any other provider to this point. I’m hearing that shaw has plans to flip to their PVR anywhere service sometime in Nov or Dec around the same time they pull the analog channels. We’ll see if that ever happens.

  • Yet another update . . .
    Just got a text telling me Rod Pedersen has been informed he isn’t getting the job. This, less than 24 hours after I was told he was to be interviewed.

    So, confirmed out of the running from the list of finalists I compiled are Rishaug, Karius and Pedersen. That, based on my info, has us back to Bartel, Bartlett and Beyak. I’m sniffing around to see if there’s a name I’m missing because I have a suspicion there is.

      • Hemmertime

        These certain individuals know something or are they offering their opinion? And that opinion is based on . . .?

        As for Kouleas having the job, that goes against everything I’m hearing.

  • Jamie B.

    This search is being conducted in so much secrecy that you’d think that the it was a CIA mission. Public opinion? Who cares. Certainly not the Oilers, or they would leak out to the media who is still in the running. I think someone in Oiler head office is forgeting something. We are the ones who are going to be listening(or not) to this guy for probably the next 30 years or so. Shouldn’t they perhaps get a feel of the fan’s feelings towards thier final picks? Just me but I think there is just too much secrecy going on in this whole process. But what do I know. I don’t get paid for my opinion.