Hard to believe but it wasn't so long ago that some NHL games could be accessed only by listening on the radio. Now, virtually every one of the 1,230 games on the NHL's regular-season schedule is on television somewhere; and on the rare nights that they're not, teams are finding creative ways of getting their product out there.
Case in point: Tomorrow (Wednesday) night's date in Tampa between the Lightning and the visiting Edmonton Oilers. It is one of two games this season the Oilers are unable to broadcast through traditional media outlets, according to Allan Watt, the team's vice-president of communications and broadcast. As a result, for the first time in their history, the Oilers are making the game available on their website. Game time is 5:30 MST; but the broadcast will kick off 15 minutes earlier with a pre-game show.
Watt suggested the Oilers were "venturing into new territory with this webcast" (true) and that it would provide fans with "a unique new format to catch the game" (also true).
To enhance the overall viewing experience, the play-by-play team of Kevin Quinn and Louis DeBrusk will be tweeting with fans throughout the broadcast via Twitter. Fans can also submit questions to host Gene Principe that, in turn, will ask during his intermission interview segment. In order to lure more viewers in, the Oilers are running a contest that offers a $500 Pro Hockey Life gift certificate at the end of each period to a viewer who correctly identifies the "mystery" player of the period.
Finally, the Oilers are even making the morning skate available online at 9:30am MST on Wednesday. If nothing else, that should give fantasy players a chance to figure out the starting goaltenders.