Sens might star on silver screen

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 10:07 AM ET

Coming soon to a movie theatre near you ... the Ottawa Senators?

No, we're not talking about some behind-the-scenes flick about the capital's NHL boys -- and wouldn't you want to be a fly on the wall during the team's current sorry stretch? -- but rather, the new venture that's beginning to grow among the league's Canadian teams.

We speak of bringing pay-per-view telecasts to the big screen at your neighbourhood movie house, with HDTV pictures and stereo sound. While the Senators, who are joining the PPV world with five telecasts this season, haven't cut any deals yet with theatres, it's on their radar screen.

"There have been discussions about it, for sure," Jim Steel, the Senators' VP of broadcast services, told the Sun yesterday.

Cineplex Entertainment announced two weeks ago it had entered into agreements with the Toronto Maple Leafs (seven games) and Vancouver Canucks (13) to put pay-per-view games on their movie screens.

Nothing along those lines has been signed or sealed in Ottawa, Steel stressed, but there's still time. The first PPV game isn't until Dec. 12, a Sens-Red Wings matchup in Detroit.

In the meantime, the Senators announced this week they've signed deals with more than 90 bars in Ottawa-Gatineau and Eastern Ontario to carry the games. In the capital, that includes several of the higher-profile chains, including the Royal Oak, Local Heroes, Boston Pizza and Broadway Bar and Grill.

Of course, if you've got the right-sized (read: large) TV in your living or rec room and you're a Rogers digital, Bell ExpressVu or Star Choice subscriber, you can see the games right at home. It's as simple as a few clicks on your remote, and you can place your order even minutes before game time. The charge: $10.95 per game.

Worth noting: The games won't be available as part of the Centre Ice premium package offered by Rogers and Bell ExpressVu.

The pay-per-view telecasts are also coming together on the production side. Steel said the same crew that puts together local Sens broadcasts on A-Channel will be used, with Dean Brown and Gord Wilson handling the play-by-play.

"We've started to build content and graphics," said Steel. "It will be a bit of a different look than what you see on A-Channel games.

"Since there's no advertising, that time has to be filled with other content. We'll have interviews with players and other features that we wouldn't have time to put on (on Rogers Sportsnet and A-Channel local broadcasts)."

The other pay-per-view dates: March 8 (vs. Toronto), March 13 (at N.Y. Rangers), March 18 (at Pittsburgh), and April 3 (at New Jersey).

FIT TO BE TIE-D: TSN insists its decision to create 'Win, Lose and Tie' shouldn't be perceived as a negative statement about the performance of its newest NHL analyst, ex-Leaf enforcer Tie Domi. In fact, the network bristles at the use of the word 'demotion' to describe Domi's new role in the rapid-fire segment with NHL on TSN host James Duthie. "We're happy with Tie's progress, for sure," said Rick Chisholm, TSN's senior VP of production. "We see it as an opportunity to do something a little different with him that fits our show."

PLAYOFF PAYOFF: It's playoff time in the CFL and, as is the norm, viewers are on board in large numbers. CBC recorded an audience of 878,000 for last Sunday's East semi-final (Toronto-Winnipeg), a gain of 26% over 2005. The West semi (Saskatchewan-Calgary) drew 1.052 million viewers, down 17% from a year ago, when the game aired in prime time ... TSN, Sportsnet and The Score will be all over the Grey Cup starting early next week, with daily reports a regular staple of their news shows.

AROUND THE DIAL: 67's coach Brian Kilrea is the featured instructor during the Think Hockey segment that's part of tomorrow's edition of Saturday Night, the Hockey Night in Canada pre-game show that airs at 6:30 p.m. ... TSN covers the Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony Monday at 7 p.m. ... Rogers Television offers taped coverage of the Ottawa high school football finals Sunday at 7 p.m. ... GOL TV carries the Canada-Hungary men's soccer friendly Wednesday at 2 p.m.


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