IN THE conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs, OLN will have all but one game — and the OLN telecasts will be exclusive, meaning no local carriers.

Last week, Game 2 of the Sharks-Oilers could be seen only on OLN in the Bay Area on Monday, and it drew a 2.1 rating.

On Wednesday, Game 3 (the triple-overtime game) was also an OLN exclusive, and the rating improved to 3.0.

That's much better than in the Los Angeles market, where Game 3 of Anaheim Mighty Ducks' sweep over Colorado on OLN got a dismal 0.3 — compared to 5.7 in Denver and 0.9 in the Bay Area.

As Larry Stewart wrote in the Los Angeles Times: "The NHL, still reeling from last season's lockout, should be concerned with exposure above all else. To award OLN so much exclusivity during the playoffs has proven to be a big mistake."

-For Friday night, FSN Bay Area is in a holding pattern: the Giants-A's game

(7 p.m.) and a potential Sharks-Oilers Game 7 (6 p.m.) are a potential conflict.

If Barry Bonds is still looking for a historic homer, FSN will carry the baseball game and FSN+ will have the hockey.

"Playoff hockey trumps regular-season baseball, but historical accomplishments trump playoff hockey," Ted Griggs, FSN vice president, programming operations, explained.

-The "Sports Byline USA" radio show, which began in the Bay Area but can no longer be heard here on any radio stations in our market, is being taken on quite a road trip by host Ron Barr — to Germany (May 22-23) and then to Afghanistan (May 26, 29-30).


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NFL commentator Randy Cross will join Barr on the venture.

The trip abroad will be Barr's second into a war zone to do his show. He was in Iraq last year. He called the scene around his broadcast location "dicey."

Barr's guests during his overseas stint will include A's pitcher Barry Zito, former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo, former 49ers coach Bill Walsh, Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and Sharks MVP candidate Joe Thornton.

For more info on how to listen, check out http://www.sportsbyline.com. The show airs weeknights from 7 to 10.

-In order to promote its playoff coverage — sometimes billed as "Bonus Coverage" for no apparent reason — OLN has hired a 57-year-old man named Stanley Cup.

Cup, of Saltsburg, Pa., is a descendant of Pennsylvania coal miners who works at a steel mill. He is 6 feet tall and etched with tattoos.

The network is flying Cup to New York this week to tape some promotional spots. He is taking vacation from work to do the promotions, and OLN will cover his travel expenses and provide a small stipend.

Cup wants only three things for his trouble: a picture with the real Stanley Cup trophy, tickets to one playoff game and another tattoo.