Tag Archives: Oil Change

Was October a month from hell? Oil Change lets you be the judge

If the Edmonton Oilers ever become as good as the documentary series, Oil Change, that has been following them for the last four years, they’d be sitting pretty on top of NHL standings.

The second episode of this season’s show aired on Sportsnet Sunday night. As has been the network’s habit, we can expect repeats throughout the month, till time for the next episode comes in December. Viewers south of the 49th parallel can catch it on the NHL Network. Come to think of it, it airs on NHL Network in Canada from time to time, too.

October was a month from hell for the Oilers, and Oil Change doesn’t sugarcoat it. But its behind-the-scenes looks do give us a key to a more detailed understanding of what does and what doesn’t ail the club. After all, most Oilers’ fans had known for a fact that their beloved team has turned the corner, at long last. Not that we should begin sketching Stanley Cup parade routes right away, but the optimism was palpably there, and pre-season games seemed to confirm it was well-founded.

Guess what: it wasn’t, and experts who warned in their pre-season assessments that the Oilers still had a ways to go must have noticed something that the fans haven’t.

What was it?

Oil Change lets head coach Dallas Eakins try his own explanation. Whether it is really valid, Oil Change wouldn’t say. It is a documentary, after all, not a soapbox for commentators.

In any case, according to Eakins, some of the system changes might be difficult to adjust to as it is, and players’ muscle memories might encounter hard times trying to do the coach’s bidding. As he put it, a player might be trying as hard as he can to do what his coaches told him to do, but – from time to time – he might slip to old and tried habits whether they used to be successful or not. That, says Eakins, is quite understandable. Changing muscle memory simply takes time.

To the show’s credit, not all is doom and gloom.

Joey Moss celebrates his 50th birthday, and Oilers’ players prepare a celebration in style: they gather in Ryan Smyth’s house and surround a wrestling rink where two professionals fight, much to Moss’s enjoyment: professional wrestling is his second-most popular spectator sport.

Much laughter and joy. So much laughter and joy, in fact, that a viewer might ask: are these guys whistling as they walk past the graveyard?

Not really: they go out and deliver a present that Joey Moss must be enjoying the most: down by three, on home ice, to boot, they end up defeating the New Jersey Devils, vanquishing Martin Brodeur in the shootout.

It is most unfortunate that they do not continue winning on a more consistent basis.

All the nibs are in agreement that what ails the Oilers at the moment is inconsistent defence and even more inconsistent goaltending. Oil Change investigates whether the U.S. Marines are coming, and if so, when and whence. Its Aquila Productions crew visits the Oilers’ AHL farm team in Oklahoma City just in time to witness how its group of young defencemen is settling down, signing living quarters leases, practicing and playing. The Barons’ GM Bill Scott is of the view that some of his club’s defencemen are getting quite close to being ready for the show, while head coach Todd Nelson provides further details.

Young defencemen Milan Marincin and Oscar Klefbom tell us what the Oilers’ coaches have asked them to do to get ready for the show.

An almost forgotten name pops up: Oil Change visits with goalie Tyler Bunz. He is now playing for the Bakersfield Condors of Bakersfield, California, an ECHL affiliate of the Oilers. The 2012 Del Wilson Trophy winner for the best goaltender in the WHL (Medicine Hat Tigers), picked 121st player overall by the Oilers in the fifth round of the 2010 NHL draft, is even more removed from the NHL than his colleagues in Oklahoma City, but he’s fighting hard, with his eyes firmly set on his life goal: making the Oilers.

One trend where this season’s Oil Change differs monumentally from its previous three seasons: its crews spend more time with individual players outside of the rink, telling us their stories.

Many might have heard of Andrew Ference’s obsession with the environment, but watching him work in his basement, preparing the right mix for compost to be used in his backyard next spring, now, that’s a sight. And spending time with him and school children, with whom he shares a presentation on what happens to our garbage after it’s been taken away by garbage trucks, as enlightening a scene as can be.

Also: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins meets his brother Adam in Montreal. Adam is five years older than the Oilers’ young centre. He studies kinesiology (some describe it as treatment by movement) at Concordia University. He also became a regular defenceman on the school’s hockey team, Concordia Stingers. As a walk-on, too.

The older brother helped his younger sibling with his rehabilitation practices over the summer, trying to help him recover from a shoulder surgery. But, they both agreed, laughingly, other than that, they’ve always competed. And Ryan says it was his older brother’s example that made him the player he is today.

Many a fan is asking: what’s wrong with Nail Yakupov? This segment features the two games that his coach sent him to watch from the press box, but Oil Change found Slava Malamud, a Russian journalist with the Sport-Express newspaper who attended a few Oilers’ games. Malamud has been watching Yakupov since the young phenom’s junior years, and he offers some precious insights.

This episode is, again, a fast-paced production, filled with the sounds of the game, including the chatter on and off the bench (sub-titled, on occasion, so we know precisely what is said), great music selection, only a few words of narration, sharp camera work and editing.

Great entertainment, not only for those who love hockey in general, and the Edmonton Oilers, in particular. A fascinating teaching tool to help us understand what makes a team tick (and what doesn’t, too).

Oil Change’s second installment this season features October from hell

The first month of this NHL season was a month the Edmonton Oilers would rather forget, and that’s putting it mildly.

Oil Change, the television documentary that has been following their ups and downs with unique backstage looks, for the last four years, will provide us with more insights Sunday, Nov. 17, on Sportsnet.

Here are the times as provided by Sportsnet: 9 p.m. Eastern time on the East and Ontario regions, 7 p.m. Mountain on the West region, and 9 p.m. Pacific on the Pacific region.

Write these times down as this upcoming episode promises a lot for Oilers’ fans to frown upon. But it promises moments to enjoy, too.

Of the 14 games the Oilers played in October, nine took place on the road, six of them in the east, a region where the Oilers have traditionally had difficulties.

Why?

Who knows?

In any case, their head coach Dallas Eakins has maintained throughout the ordeal that his club is better than its October record seems to indicate. Whether he knows something the rest of us don’t, only future will tell. It would be good, not only for the Oilers and their fans, but for Eakins, personally, too, if he is right.

As is the tradition of Oil Change, we’ll see in this episode scenes mostly hidden from general view when and as they happen.

For example: a morning off in Montreal, with top centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and his brother Adam, a student at Concordia University. Or the Oilers celebrating their beloved, long-time dressing room attendant Joey Moss’s 50th birthday with a laugh-filled pro-wrestling show at Ryan Smyth’s house. Or a group of the team’s young stars having some four-wheeled fun in the parking lot outside Rexall Place during a TV commercial shoot for Ford. And a glimpse of some young prospects on the Oilers farm teams in Oklahoma City and Bakersfield, as they are chasing their NHL dreams.

Many fans could be forgiven if they ask: who are these guys? Mark Arcobello, Will Acton and Luke Gazdic, classic underdog success stories, all of them. Or fellow rookie Anton Belov, who passed up much bigger money in Russia’s KHL this year to try to make a name for himself as an NHL defenceman. That he might earn himself an invitation to join Team Russia at the Sochi Olympics in February would be an added bonus.

And what’s wrong with Nail Yakupov? The first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft has been struggling as an Oilers sophomore, ending eventually as a healthy scratch for the first time in his starry career.

Edmonton’s award-winning Aquila Productions has created the entire Oil Change series that has developed a healthy, cult-like following across the entire North American continent.

If previous seasons and installments are any indication, we have great television to look forward to.

Oil Change opens new season with a bang

This year’s Edmonton Oilers’ first-round draft pick was Darnell Nurse. A defenceman, and, as this season’s first episode of Oil Change mentioned, he was the first defenceman the Oilers picked with their first selection since 1989, that is, a quarter of a century ago.

Oilers’ fans should hope this year’s pick would turn out better than his predecessor: Jason Soules would never make an NHL squad. Neither in Edmonton, nor anywhere else.

The fourth-season television documentary premiered on Sportsnet Sunday. It’s going to see a number of repeats before time for the second episode rolls around in November.

It takes off where last season’s Oilers left off, documenting the monumental crash that left the club on the outside of the playoffs picture yet again, looking in with longing and more than a bit of anger.

Oilers’ faithful will remember the avalanche of changes: general manager Steve Tambellini gone, new general manager Craig MacTavish introduced, Scott Howson coming back to take care of player development again, Ralph Krueger gone in a rather sensational twist of events, to be replaced by Dallas Eakins and an unconditional air of no-nonsense approach to life in general and professional sports in particular descending upon the club.

Just keep your cameras rolling and you’ve got a gem of a documentary, right?

Wrong.

Aquila Productions’ creative crews, experienced in producing what has become a series with a huge, cult-like following, both in Canada and in the U.S., know that even improvisation requires structure. What they have achieved is breathtaking. They have created structures where even an experienced film and television watcher would be hard put to find the seams.

Opening with the doom and gloom of last spring, we get to see the behind-the-scenes action before this year’s draft. The club is in a different position than it had been the three previous years: no Nr. 1 pick this time. This opens avenues to an altogether different decision-making process. Does the club select a player who, it thinks, would be the best available no matter what position? Does the club select a player who, it thinks, would fill its particular needs best in the near future? Does the club opt to trading this draft pick for an established player who might (and, then again, might not) fit its needs immediately?

Through the three previous seasons of Oil Change we got used to the Aquila people getting access not many other crews have got anywhere else. This season is different. Not that there isn’t as much access to behind-the-scenes processes. It’s a different kind of access. Judging by the first episode of this season’s Oil Change, the access is organized so as to tell the real story better.

There have been numerous compelling stories during and after the free-agency frenzy, during training camp, during pre-season games, and Oil Change makes sure we witness them as they happen.

Telling the Oilers’ story better than the previous three seasons of Oil Change had, now, that is a most difficult proposition. The Aquila people have been always pushing themselves to be better than they had been the last time out. But there are limits, are there not?

Not really. The story keeps changing and developing, the production crews have to keep up, and they have to keep in mind that they can’t succumb to the wish of making stories more interesting than they are in reality just to keep up with the Joneses.

Speaking of the Joneses, the last couple of seasons have seen an increasing number of made-for-TV shows that follow the ups and downs of their favourite clubs. Some of them are better than others, but there are two qualities that distinguish Oil Change and keep the Joneses in the dust. One is passion, the other is storytelling.

Passion can’t be taught. It either is there, or it isn’t. And the storytelling? Yes, you can teach the theory of storytelling, but can you learn it as a practical ability?

As has become its trade mark, this season’s first episode of Oil Change presents its story with sharp cinematography, brisk editing, smart mix of music and real sound, and as few words as possible. Pictures, after all, are worth thousands of words.

The first few weeks of this NHL season haven’t been all roses for the club. These weeks of blood, sweat and tears will be the topic of the second episode of Oil Change. The Oilers might (and might not) meet the lofty expectations so many fans have had.

One thing we know for sure: there will be no sugar-coating. Not from Oil Change, there won’t.

Oil Change skates back

Oil Change is back on Sportsnet. Entering its fourth season (third on Sportsnet), the series has developed a cult following across the continent.
Watch for it Sunday, Oct. 20. If the American League baseball game 7 doesn’t happen (or if it ends on time), this season’s Oil Change premiere will air at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sportsnet East, Ontario, West and Pacific. Baseball’s game 7 would move Oil Change all the way to 1 a.m. nationally (meaning all channels: East, Ontario, West and Pacific).
There will be replays Sunday at 9 p.m. Mountain Time on the West channel, and at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on the Pacific channel.
And, of course, there will be replays throughout, until Episode 2 comes along in November.
This season’s Oil Change opener will have its plate full with events that happened since that fateful day when the Edmonton Oilers missed the playoffs. On April 13, they had drubbed their arch-enemy, the Calgary Flames, and were sitting pretty. It would take just a dozen days for them to lose the next five games and be out of it, no questions asked.
Next thing we knew, general manager Steve Tambellini has become a former general manager, with Craig MacTavish taking over.
Oil Change’s first segment will concentrate on the wild days, weeks and months that followed.
To begin with, MacTavish announced he was impatient and all and sundry should expect some pretty bold moves. Luckily, he didn’t specify when those bold moves would be forthcoming.
But come they did, and most of them were not really expected.
With head coach Ralph Krueger’s support and understanding, MacTavish started looking for an associate coach. He found a kindred soul in Dallas Eakins and realized he was talking to a full-time coach, not an associate. That was the end of Ralph Krueger.
In short order, the Oilers would choose Sault Ste. Marie Greyhound Darnell Nurse of Hamilton, Ont., with the seventh pick at the NHL Entry Draft. That would be the first time Edmonton took a d-man with their first pick since 1989 when they picked another Hamilton native, Jason Soules, 15th overall. Soules’s NHL record is perfectly clean, as he never made it. What about Nurse? Future will tell.
But the summer fever didn’t stop there. Captain Shawn Horcoff went to Dallas. The Oilers’ 2009 first round draft pick Magnus Paajarvi went to St. Louis, both through trades. Gone were also pending UFA’s such as Ryan Whitney, Nikolai Khabibulin and Theo Peckham. The Oilers have gone out to pick up several players they are describing as significant. Free Agency brought them defenceman (and new captain) Andrew Ference, centre Boyd Gordon and back-up netminder Jason LaBarbera. The Horcoff trade delivered defenceman Philip Larsen, while Paajarvi’s departure resulted in the arrival of winger David Perron. By summer’s end, almost half of the roster had changed.
Oil Change tracks the team’s busy summer and follows the Oilers into a much-anticipated September training camp. It shows pitched battles for jobs on the blueline and third and fourth lines. Highlights of camp include the sparkling play of rookie d-man Nurse and several other young propects, a move by star winger Taylor Hall to centre as the club’s number one pivot Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still rehabbing from last spring’s shoulder surgery, and the emerging on and off-ice leadership of former Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference.
The first episode culminates as camp and the exhibition season close. It shows how coach Eakins had to approach some difficult final roster decisions. The Oilers sell out their regular season opening night game at Rexall Place against the Winnipeg Jets.

Kevin Lowe preaches calm: easy for him to say

There’s no need to be ashamed, depressed, even, when your coach calls you into his office and gently informs you that you will be joining the NHL club’s minor league affiliate or, Heavens forbid, return to your junior club.

Thus said Kevin Lowe, Rexall Sports’ president of hockey operations, in the most recent installment of TV documentary Oil Change, a.k.a. Overdrive.

This segment, by the way, airs Sunday, at 11 p.m. on Sportsnet West.

A player who is told to go to the farm team (or return to his junior club) should accept this as a challenge. Basically, the NHL team tells him, we like you, love you, even, otherwise, we wouldn’t have kept you. But we think you need to learn this and master that, to make yourself really indispensible for the top club.

That’s the gist of the train of thought behind Lowe’s statement.

Of course, this is playing with words.

Imagine you’re at school. Your teacher tells you you’ve had unsatisfactory marks in, say, math and you will have to repeat the year. What the teacher is telling you is simple: you’ve failed in math. If you have any ambition left in your mind and/or body, you will be livid. The teacher will be the first culprit. She or he doesn’t know how to teach math in the first place, how was I supposed to understand? The fact that the rest of the class understood with admirable ease doesn’t become part of the equation. Not yet.

Your next step would be that the teacher doesn’t like you. Never liked you, anyway. Why? Because of your strong personality? Whatever, your failure is a sign of the teacher’s personal animosity towards your wonderfully bright and talented persona. And, besides, Albert Einstein failed his high school math, too. So there.

If you’re lucky, but only if you’re lucky, you’ll figure out you’ve failed because you didn’t work hard enough, or you were not talented enough, or both. Now, you’ll have two options: sulk or start working. Hard work, by the way, is more often than you imagine more important than talent. In any case, if you do apply yourself, and if you do succeed eventually, you’ll be looking at that year of repetition as the best thing that could have happened to you: you’ve learned how to work. That should count for something special.

This is exactly what Kevin Lowe would like his players to understand.

Of course, it’s easy for him to say. One of the original NHL Oilers, the guy who scored their first NHL goal (shocking indeed: no, it wasn’t Wayne Gretzky, it had to be Kevin Lowe, of all people, to perform the feat for the new NHL franchise!), former player, captain, coach and general manager, he’s got it made. Never ever sent to the minors, now he can dispense advice as an elder … ooops, more mature statesman, right?

The question is not whether Kevin Lowe is right. The question is whether Oilers’ players think he’s right.

Based on conversations with many who had the misfortune befell them throughout the years, the consensus opinion would be: Oh, yeah?

Here’s the issue: hockey players (just as players in all team sports) have been trained to know that there’s no I in team. Except, to be able to make the team, especially in the rarefied top-notch leagues’ air, athletes have to concentrate on themselves. Without individual skills, nobody will bother to give them a look, or a second look, even. What does it mean? It means there is a certain level of egocentrism and egotism involved. You’ve got to push yourself. No need to push the others.

After all, there is a certain level of egocentrism and egoism in all of us. We all think of ourselves as the standard by which we measure the rest of the world. It has nothing to do with whether we’re right or not. It’s just the way it is, that’s all, and nobody can blame you (or me, or her, or him, or anybody else).

A hockey player who’s trying to become an NHL club’s member knows perfectly well that there are four vacancies on right wing, four at centre, four at left wing, there are so many spots on the blue line, and there can be only one goalie in the net at a time, with another to back him up, and having three goalies on an active rosters more often than not spells trouble.

Will a particular, say, centre, sigh and say, aaaaaaah, this is perfectly rotten, there are four better centres than I am on the team already, and now what’s a guy to do? I can either ask for a trade to a team that is short on good centres, and God knows I am one, or I can accept a demotion and work hard to become better than those four centres ahead of me. I’ll compete with them, and I’ll win.

You see, it’s not always about money. Much more often, it’s about pride. And you cannot become the top dog in anything without at least a certain amount of pride.

After all, it’s even the dictionary that defines it. You’re cut. You’re demoted. You’re sent down. You’re returned. Does any of these words have any positive connotations?

Kevin Lowe meant well, obviously. What Kevin Lowe meant was there’s no need to succumb to negative thinking because THAT gets you nowhere. Positive thinking has become a cliché, but it still exists. It may help get you closer to your goal. Then again, it mightn’t.

But even if you lose at the proverbial numbers game and it’s Oklahoma City or bust for you, at least, you’ll fly there with a smile on your face.

Oil Change sets a new standard, and it’s pretty high

As the Oil Change series goes, this one takes the cake.

Broadcast Friday night on CityTV, to be repeated Sunday at 11 p.m. on Sportsnet West, this season’s first installment, titled Overdrive, begins where the last season’s Oil Change ended: at the end of last season.

A lot has happened between then and now, and this season’s opener takes us on an incredible journey, looking at the twists and turns and turning points we, mere mortals, wouldn’t have seen and known without this show.

Aquila Productions’ people, creators of Oil Change, have obviously won a lot of confidence from the Oilers. The club now knows they have never abused this confidence, shown in unprecedented access to what is going on behind the scenes.

Just a few examples: we witness a serious between-you-and-me-and-the-lamppost conversation between general manager Steve Tambellini and his chief scout, Stu MacGregor. The topic: why the chief scout is of the view that the club’s Number 1 draft selection has got to be Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and nobody else. The train of thought in and of itself is interesting, but the fact Oil Change people were privy to the conversation to the extent they could record it and broadcast it, now, this is perfectly surprising.

A conversation between Steve Tambellini and last year’s No. 1, Taylor Hall, during the draft, in which the top pooh-bah explains his strategy to his rising star, is an eyeopener, too.

This season, there was an unusual twist of fortune for Oil Change creators: three of former Oilers’ kids got drafted that day, too. Frank Musil’s son David went to the Oilers as No. 21, Kevin Lowe’s son Keegan went to Carolina as No. 73, and Craig Simpson’s son Dillon stays home in Edmonton at No. 92. To see these former greats as happy dads rather than as hockey professionals made for pretty good television.

We saw team brass negotiating about potential free agency deals last year, too, but that was from a bit of a distance. This time, we get as close as possible to seeing (and hearing) how the team managed to land Eric Belanger and Darcy Hordichuk.

And we saw that Steve Tambellini is about much more than just finding players and signing them, or trading them, or trading for them, or sending them down to the minors, or calling them up. Remember the incident in an exhibition game in Minnesota where Taylor Fedun broke his leg trying to chase the puck for an icing call? An Oil Change camera caught Tambellini standing alone in a corridor, talking to someone on his cell phone, confirming that young Fedun would be staying in the Minnesota hospital a few days before being allowed to fly back to Edmonton, and then telling whoever was on the other end of the call to please make sure the Oilers bring Fedun’s parents down so they can be with their son at this difficult time. Now, that was a touch of humanity if there ever was one. And, unlike such would-be reality shows like Survivor, this wasn’t staged or rehearsed. This happened. In real life.

There are more such moments in this version of Oil Change.

From a professional point of view, one of the things that catch the eye is the ability of the show’s creators to adjust the pace of the story they’re showing on the screen to the story they are telling. Face-paced where the story calls for it, they don’t hesitate to go for longer takes and slower cuts in spots where viewers deserve (and need) to get enough time to be able to absorb what they see on the screen.

And, as is usual for great television, they let the pictures do the talking, rather than overwhelming their viewers with too much commentary. So far as the sound is concerned, reality and great (but not overwhelming) music selections should suffice. They do.

What comes across loud and clear is the Oilers’ coaching staff’s basic philosophy. Head coach Tom Renney sounds like a teacher, one of those types who insist they’re strict but fair. Players might agree with the strictness part but, some of them, at least, might be (privately) inclined to raise an eyebrow or two about the fairness part. Especially those who think they deserve more ice time, or they don’t deserve to be healthy scratches, never mind being demoted.

In his first speech to the troops as the main training camp opens, Renney tells the assembled 70-plus hopefuls to remember that if they think that good enough is good enough, they’re terribly wrong.

And, during a drill in practice, Renney tells a player he mustn’t be surprised by anything at all. He must be ready for anything and everything.

That says it all, doesn’t it?

This season’s opener for Oil Change has set the bar pretty high. It’s a great documentary, unbelievably good television, and the Oilers should be counting their lucky stars to have this talented Aquila Productions group on their side.

Oil Change about to hit the airwaves

Popular documentary’s second-season opener to appear Friday on CityTV, Sunday on Sportsnet West

Oiler fans, this is a reminder: at 8 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 21, turn your television sets on, click all the way to CityTV, and watch. This season’s Oil Change is about to begin. If you can’t make it on Friday, turn to Sportsnet West on Sunday, Oct. 23, at 11 p.m. This is the lone occasion for such a late start: major league baseball’s World Series airs right before Oil Change.

Ah, baseball. The best non-toxic replacement for sleeping pills. Especially when compared to hockey, the fastest team game on earth.

The documentary series caused a splash last season, taking hockey fans behind the scenes to show how a professional hockey club goes about re-building a once famous franchise back to its glory. The fast-paced series showed us almost everything. From the internal debates regarding whom the Oilers should select with their first overall draft pick (remember the arguments? Taylor or Tyler?) through their occasional ups and more frequent downs, with everything in between.

It didn’t waste too many words, relying on the power of pictures, instead. It was unbelievably creative in its music selections, something the show’s executive producer (and the boss of Aquila Productions, and the Oilers’ director of broadcast) Don Metz is very particular about.

Oil Change has found an almost cult-like following, seen as it was both in Canada (on TSN) and in the U.S., through the NHL Network.

Why the change of venue?

Simple. TSN is going all out to help the renewed Winnipeg Jets by broadcasting 60 of their games, while Sportsnet has committed to broadcasting 60 of the Oilers’ games. The switch, then, was perfectly logical.

Still, it’s going to be the same crew that’s going to give us this season’s series, meaning that the quality will remain as high as last season’s – if not even higher. After all, experience counts for something. And, considering this Aquila crew has been around for quite a while, no need to fear the proverbial sophomore jinx.

So, remember, Oil Change is back on. Its backstage access will give you ammunition for reasoning why your beloved club has done this and not that. It will make you better-informed fans. It will entertain you, too.

Now, what can be better?

Happy viewing!

The Oil Change TV series returns: THREE CHEERS!

Oil Change is coming back. That’s very good news.

The six-part series of one-hour documentary shows that looks behind the scenes as the Edmonton Oilers have been going through an intensive re-building phase of their existence used to be broadcast on TSN. It became a favourite, developing an almost cult-like following right across Canada, and throughout the U.S., too.

This year, we’re going to see six one-hour parts, again, except the show has found a new home, on Sportsnet West and Citytv Edmonton. Quite logical, considering Sportsnet carries some 60 Oilers’ games this season.

If last year’s experience is any indication, we can expect fast-paced, very honest and open documentaries made by an incredibly talented crew concentrated around Edmonton’s own Aquila Productions. The Oilers have opened their doors to the creators in an unprecedented fashion, and the creators have never betrayed the trust. Still, the behind-the-scenes footage must have amazed even the crustiest of viewers.

Don Metz will again serve as executive producer, with Gord Redel returning as the show’s producer.

The series’ subtitle is Overdrive. Quite fitting, really. The Oilers have given their fans several years of frustration that developed into last year’s season of hope. As we all know, hope springs eternal, but who knows whether fans’ patience does, too.

In any case, Oil Change gives Oilers’ fans a unique chance to look what is really going on, and to appreciate their development with more knowledge and, dare we say it, empathy.

Last season’s series was a masterpiece. Not only was it deserving of its Gemini nominations, but, frankly, it should have won some of these awards, too.

Aquila can’t say what each episode will be about. They couldn’t say it in advance last season, either. Yes, they do have a rough idea that is based on some events that they can predict (first nine games for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, for example, the trade deadline, and such), but other than that, they follow their subjects’ lives as they live them, and film their series as life dictates, rather than going the other way round.

That, by the way, is one of their strengths. So is their skilful and very creative use of music, and incredible camera work and editing. Besides, unlike many who claim they know how to document, creators of Oil Change are aware that pictures are much worthier than any number of words. And so, there’s not too much talk in the series, just the bare and necessary minimum. The rest is action.

And that’s what hockey is all about.

If you wish, clip the information below and attach it to your fridge. You will need it.

Episode 1

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Oct. 21 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Oct. 23 @ 11 p.m. (MT)

Episode 2

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Nov. 25 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Nov. 27 @ 9 p.m. (MT)

Episode 3

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Dec. 30 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Jan. 1 @ 9 p.m. (MT)

Episode 4

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Feb. 10 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Feb. 12 @ 9 p.m. (MT)

Episode 5

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Mar. 16 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Mar. 18 @ 9 p.m. (MT)

Episode 6

· Citytv Edmonton – Friday, Apr. 20 @ 8 p.m. (MT)

· Sportsnet West – Sunday, Apr. 22 @ 9 p.m. (MT)