Will OLN NHL Game Be Iced?

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With its second National Hockey League telecast less than two hours away, OLN didn’t know whether Cablevision Systems Corp. and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network would be part of its distribution lineup Monday night.

After reaching an accord with Adelphia Communications Corp. to carry the NHL contests, OLN executives said at press time that they were still engaged in “active discussions” with Cablevision and Dish about trying to come to terms on a pact that would provide puck participants with access to the game.

Looking for digital placement, OLN -- which was scheduled to cover the game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres at 7 p.m. (EST) Monday -- has said it will not make NHL games available to distributors on which OLN is available to less than 40% of its subscriber base.

Cablevision carries OLN on a $4.95-per-month sports tier and counts fewer than 25,000 customers. The MSO ran ads for its iO Sports Pak in New York metro-area newspapers Monday. For its part, Dish distributes the Comcast Corp.-owned network on its “America’s Top 180” offering.

Neither Cablevision nor Dish could be reached by press time.

An OLN spokeswoman said the network had “authorized Adelphia to carry its NHL games for the balance of the season.” An Adelphia spokeswoman confirmed that an accord had been struck. But neither party would disclose any deal terms, nor where OLN would be positioned on Adelphia systems. The MSO’s spokeswoman would only say that OLN previously had been available on a variety of packages.

OLN in August scored a two-year, $135 million deal for national regular-season games on Monday and Tuesday nights, as well as a spate of playoff contents. The 2004-05 NHL season was canceled over a labor dispute.

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