WHOA! Jason Strudwick’s article yesterday and the comments that the fair citizens saw fit to leave was probably one of the more interesting conversations in the history of the Nation Network. We read them all late into the night and were floored at the quality of the debate that went down. All this time we thought we were hanging out with our fellow mouthbreathing Oilers fans, and instead it turns out that most of you are smart as all hell.

We will need to make, sure? that we use proper punctuation in: articles from – here on.


Let’s be very clear on one thing. Jason Strudwick as was noted in the comments of his article "is one of the good ones." Doesn’t matter if he is an NHL player, Viceroy of Argentina or one of us regular working joes, he is a good guy and character has nothing to do with the amount of money in your wallet or what you do for a living.

Well respected among media, players and fans alike Studwick is a man of excellent character. There is a reason that he was in such high demand during his career (19 NHL teams all wanted his services for heavens sakes and he was only too happy to oblige) and why he was offered a gillion different hockey jobs when the on-ice portion of his hockey career came to a close.

If those in charge on both sides of this lockout were more wired like Jason Strudwick the lockout would certainly not be going into its 800th day. Let’s be honest – there are ass hats on both sides of this negotiation, whose stubborn refusal to find common ground is costing us all the opportunity to see the Baby Nuge dingle dangle all over Rexall Ice. 

Moderates and reasonable people are what’s needed to bring this thing to a close.

It was good to see that the overwhelming majority of the comments in the article understood that this is the case. We would expect Jason Strudwick to take the side of the players in this dispute. It wouldn’t make sense any other way. But we would caution people not to take out their understandable frustrations with the lockout on a sensible, moderate voice among a chorus of people hell bent on destroying the sport we love so much. 

That Strudwick came forward to offer his thoughts on the matter is a good thing – it is only through respectful and constructive discussion that the lockout is going to finally come to an end. Good for him for doing it. 

Both sides points of view as to why it is the other side costing us all our hockey season has been hammered to death. There really isn’t much left to say as we wait for the final days of negotiations to go by. However once this lockout unpleasantness is behind us the focus needs to shift from squabbling and infighting to a new chapter of the business of the NHL.

Let’s talk about that for a few paragraphs shall we?


How does the NHL improve the sustainability of the game in the long term? Certainly getting a more equitable cost structure in place that floats with revenues is a start. But then lets get to work on growing those revenues shall we? This is when the 30 billionaire owners and the suits in NYC show us all how they got so rich in the first place. The players get back to playing the game at the highest level and the business people get back to the business of the NHL.

Getting the game into new markets, developing new revenue streams, raising revenues. Getting Jordan Eberle a few more million and a few more millions still for Kay-Z too. We still hold out hope that there will be a new arena to start paying off at some point in the future.

Once the lockout is over, the NHL needs to thank its 11 remaining fans and then focus on making up ground on the crappier bigger sports all around the world. NHL players come from all over the world to take our North American dollars. Let’s go overseas and start getting some of that money back by building the business there.


No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head to make them watch hockey and many commentators in Strudwick’s recent article talked about how they have filled the void in their life without hockey. We can’t get behind the thinking that watching Season 3 of Two and a Half Men is nearly as exciting as watching King Jordan of Eberle go roof daddy on some unsuspecting tender.

And we also think that bringing in the best hockey talent from around the world makes perfect sense if you also monetize the game all around the world. This isn’t really being done in this day and age. If you are pulling out the best players from Russia, who is leading the charge to make money off the considerable interest in top Russian players in Russia? Same goes for all the countries in Europe.

In our mind in the digital age in which we live building NHL revenues in hockey mad European markets is the next place to grow the NHL. There could be more money to be made off Swedish hockey fans in the next 10 years then badgering beleaguered fans in Phoenix to forgo paying the mortgage in favour of watching Shane Doan light the lamp. Especially if the American economy is going to be flat at best for the next while.

Other more popular sports around the world don’t hold a candle to the NHL. We have tried filling the lockout void by going to MLB, NFL, Junior and the ECHL and it isn’t nearly as awesome. Hockey – and NHL hockey for that matter – is the best entertainment there is except for watching Natalie Portman do pilates which we imagine nightly before we retire to bed.


Bet you were wondering what that was about in the title of the article didn’t you? Did you think that your ol’ pal Wanye had forgotten about Bret Michaels? Fat chance! Bret Michaels is never far from our mind.

The good folks at Knoxvilles on Jasper Ave emailed us asking if we would like to come down to the Bret Michaels concert on Friday. We sadly replied that we are in San Francisco and can’t come but wondered if we could be put on the guest list for 50 of our closest friends instead. 

"Tickets are $50 beans Wanye" came the reply. We can’t just hand these out like candy on hallowe’en. Except they can!

If you want to go see the epic Bret Michaels formerly of Poison in concert for free we have 50 tickets preloaded up. All you need to do is click here and go print off the tickets. They will want them at the door and you need to be over 18 to attend. 

Consider it an early Christmas present from OilersNation, Knoxvilles and Bret Michaels.


  • vetinari

    Debate and discussion is always welcome on the boards but some people tend to personalize the issues and can’t separate their feelings on an issue to hear the points raised by the people with contrary views.

    Kudos to Struds on giving us his personal perspective and while I don’t agree with most of his arguments on behalf of the PA, I respect them and learned more about the nature of the dispute and the concerns of the PA.

  • book¡e

    Wow, 50 free $50 tickets, they must be as rare as Phoenix Coyote pre-season game tickets!!

    but seriously, Jason Strudick is a Pinko Communist.

    The problem with trying to build a market in Russia is that only about 30 people have any money (and they are billionaires and most own KHL teams), everyone else in the country pretty much lives off of vodka and dirt.

  • book¡e

    For the record, I fully respect Strudwick and really appreciate him sharing his insights. It gives us a chance to see the game and the league from another perspective.

    He is a shining example of class. Guys like Hartnell, however, are union thugs who use intimidation and violence to suppress people’s right to speak out against their union leadership. Hamrlik suggested that the current NHL offer should be put to a vote by the membership and Hartnell basically threatened him with violence for saying something other than what Fehr tells them to.

  • EasyOil

    Sorry, Wanye, but while there is a global market for professional hockey, I’m afraid it is not going to involve the NHL. The KHL has already expanded to 6 other countries outside of Russia (Belarus, Latvia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Czech Republic and Ukraine), and there is interest in Scandinavia going forward. Over the next season and a half, the NHL will be in full damage control, trying to repair the damage to its reputation and brand name that this ill-conceived lockout has wrought. And with the 2014 Winter Olympics looming in Sochi, Russia (a full 9 time zones away from eastern North America, half a world away from the Pacific coast), I can see more than a few Russian and other European stars defecting from their NHL contracts to play in Europe in 2013-14, both to increase their chances for selection to their national Olympic team, and to avoid the punishing travel that would ensue. I can even foresee the small-minded NHL owners boycotting the Olympics because of the drastic time change. Result? A public relations bonanza for the KHL, and a shrinking of the already diminished reputation of the NHl.

    Fast forward 7-10 years. What I foresee is a European Super-League of 30 or so teams across 10-12 countries, with at least half a dozen teams the equal of the NHL’s best. The NHL will have shrunk to 24 or so teams but even these won’t be as powerful as today’s teams because they won’t be able to monopolize the European stars like they do today. The Stanley Cup will be a regional competition, the real interest being the World Super-League, a 3 week long competition held every second May between the NHL and KHL finalists.

    The boat has probably already sailed. The NHL could have gone European a few years ago, but instead, frittered away its opportunity chasing easy money by convincing rich guys with more money than brains to buy franchises in Florida, Arizona, and Tennessee, where hockey will never be bigger than NASCAR or Monster Truck rallies.

    What we saw last year was probably the high water mark of the NHL. The tide is going out, and while the game worldwide has never been stronger, the era of the NHL as the world’s best hockey league is ending, I’m sorry to say.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Doesn’t matter. With King Jordan Eberle, we will be the champions of all the leagues for years and years!! Especially the pantsless dancing league!!!

    • THIS should be required reading at NHL head offices.

      If this is the case and what you say does transpire they will have missed a massive opportunity.

      I don’t think that the NHL needs to actually put teams in Europe for the record. I think that streaming the games online, getting TV deals in Europe and promoting the crap out of both would be much easier to pull of in this thousand channel world in which we live.

      Look at the work Dangle has done with his KHL highlights. I know more now about those games than ever before simply by making a tiny little digital bridge between the Nation Network and their highlights and putting in English commentary. Imagine this on steroids. Get Euro announcers over here and subsidize media outlets setting up NHL bureaus as a start. Teams don’t actually need to be in the countries.

      The KHL has a long way to go in the credibility market though. They pay their players in cash in many instances, have crappy barns in many other instances. But if it does expand and the NHL boycotts the Olympics -look out.


      • EasyOil

        I agree that the KHL is well behind the NHL in many areas but the gaps could be closed quickly in a number of areas – you can’t underestimate European skill in marketing sport – just look at how they have grown soccer over the past 20 years all over Europe. That knowledge base and skill set is pretty easily transferable to another sport (ie, hockey). If the gap between the NHL and a Kontinental Super-League starts to shrink it could quickly achieve a critical mass where a Russian star starts to think that the economic benefits of a move to North America maybe aren’t enough to outweigh the perks of being a star at home. And once that starts to happen, look out! Things change pretty quickly in this day and age. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a scenario I look forward to, but it seems more and more likely with each passing day.

    • I saw bars opening at all hours of the day to show premiere league games when I was in Asia. I also got to watch a Rangers-Habs game that was a week old at 3 AM on some random channel.

      This gap can be closed.

  • EasyOil

    Who needs NHL hockey when I can watch Paul “The Great One” Bissonnette put up 19 points in 9 games with the Cardiff Devils here in the UK? That’s Tony Hand-like output bitches.

    Seriously though, I know the UK isn’t exactly a hockey hotbed – still waiting for the first UK born-and-bred-and-trained NHL regular – but I wish the NHL would try a little harder here. We’re an English-speaking country after all, which obviously avoids any language barrier, and there are actually a surprising number of ice hockey fans here. Instead, last year they sold the NHL’s TV rights away from ESPN to a company that didn’t even have their own TV channel… clever one, that.

    When the Ducks & Kings came to London in ’07 the 02 Arena was sold out both nights. My one and only NHL experience to-date that was, and I’ve only gotten thirstier for it. Here’s hoping I can save up the money to come out to Canada within a couple of years and finally get to see the Oilers play!

  • Hockey is decent in Russia/Europe, but the worst of it is… time change, who wants to watch hockey at 4 or 6 am in the morning? With the package you get bad ice, bad lighting, bad camera angles and production and a language we
    cant understand. Other than Olympics or World Cups, stay on your side of the pond.