25 years ago the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in a shocking trade. The only thing possibly more shocking is TSN and Sportsnet’s dueling coverage of the trade 25 years later. Next week TSN’s SportsCentre and Sportsnet’s Connected will air special features every day of the week to give fans a glimpse of how crazy coverage would have been if the two competed a quarter century ago. TSN’s coverage is called “The Trade at 25”, while Sportsnet has simply opted for “The Trade.” Here are the details.
On Monday TSN’s Michael Farber looks at how Gretzky’s move to Los Angeles has spawned a new type of ice hockey player, former roller hockey players from California while Sportsnet recaps “why [the trade] mattered.” On Tuesday TSN’s Dave Naylor looks at how Gretzky’s restructured contract in LA sent players’ salaries skyward, while Sportsnet interviews owners Bruce McNall and Peter Pocklington, as well as Jimmy Carson, who the Oilers got in return for Gretzky. Sportsnet also has 25 ways the trade changed hockey forever (how ambiguous), Mark Spector looks at how it changed the Oilers. TSN’s Naylor interviews Carson a day later than Sportsnet on Wednesday. Sportsnet’s Wednesday lineup features the trade that didn’t happen between the Oilers and Canucks, while Michael Grange looks at whether August 9, 1988 was “the most devastating day for Canadian sports fans.”
By Thursday the networks will mostly run out of exciting features, so TSN has DJ Steve Porter (of HNIC fame) do a mash-up of old news clips and Sportsnet interviews celebrities (Donovan Bailey, Jim Cuddy, Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Mansbridge, Steve Nash, Alan Thicke, and Mark Messier). Sportsnet will also show the front pages of the Edmonton Journal and Los Angeles Times from the day of the trade (what thrilling TV!).
On Friday Sportsnet has Scott Morrison offer his reflections, followed by a panel of talking heads while TSN’s Ryan Rishaug hits the streets of Edmonton to talk to fans.
I guess when its a boring offseason Canadian sports networks can just find a previous, more exciting, hockey offseason to talk about.