6 Million Even Tune into USA-Finland

Courtesy of NBC Sports, the network’s broadcast of USA’s semifinal matchup against Finland (a 6-1 Team USA victory) drew 6.0 million viewers in the 3PM ET/12 Noon PT slot on Friday.  This is up a tick from the 5.9 million who watched the USA-Switzerland quarterfinal on Wednesday.  Neither has matched the 8.2 million who watched USA-Canada on Saturday.

It’ll be fun to see what it can draw Sunday.

Saturday and Sunday’s Hockey Action on the Networks of NBC

VANCOUVER – February 26, 2010 – The men’s ice hockey bronze medal game between Finland and either Canada or Slovakia is live on MSNBC and NBCOlympics.com. Live on CNBC, the men’s curling gold medal match between Canada and Norway.

MSNBC
10:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey -Bronze Medal Game (LIVE)

CABLE HIGHLIGHTS:
Men’s Ice Hockey: The men’s ice hockey bronze medal game is LIVE on MSNBC.

Sunday, February 28 (DAY 17)

NBC
Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey – Gold Medal Final (LIVE)

NBC HIGHLIGHTS (Daytime):
Men’s Ice Hockey: Gold Medal Final – The moment Canadians have waited for since learning Vancouver would host the Games some seven years ago: LIVE coverage of the Gold Medal Final in men’s ice hockey. If the home country plays in this game, Canadians across the country will stop and share in a nation-wide communal experience. In 2002, the Gold Medal Final between Team USA and Canada was the most watched television event in Canadian history.

Quotes From NBC’s Coverage of the Semifinals

VANCOUVER – February 26, 2010 – Daytime coverage of the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games continued today on NBC with live coverage of the men’s hockey semifinal game between Team USA and Finland. Team USA defeated Finland, 6-1, and will face the winner of Canada vs. Slovakia in the gold medal game. Also airing on USA Network, live coverage of the women’s curling bronze medal match between China and Switzerland and live on MSNBC speed skating pursuit men’s semifinals and women’s quarterfinals.

Al Michaels hosted the daytime show live from Canada Hockey Place. Joining Michaels for analysis were Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick. Mike “Doc” Emrick provided play-by-play, Eddie Olczyk provided game analysis and Pierre McGuire reported from “Inside the Glass.” Below are highlights from the game.

Michaels also sat down with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman during the second intermission to talk about the NHL and its participation in the Olympics.

NBC

HIGHLIGHTS OF MICHAELS AND BETTMAN INTERVIEW

BETTMAN ON NHL PLAYERS IN THE OLYMPICS: “We worry about the disruption in our season by being here for two weeks and shutting down, but what you’re seeing is really NHL hockey. This is a playoff atmosphere, this is an NHL arena, NHL ice, NHL rules, NHL officials, and NHL players so I’m very pleased with what we’re seeing out there.”

BETTMAN ON NHL PLAYERS IN SOCHI 2016: “It’s an open question. I know the media is making a big deal over the fact that we haven’t made a decision yet. It’s great to be here and these Olympic Games have been fabulous. The hockey has been great. That doesn’t take into account that there are count-availing issues that we’re going to have to deal with in deciding what makes sense going forward. You talk about Nagano in 1998, Czech played Russia for the gold medal game, and we didn’t get much of an impact being halfway around the world. What’s interesting to me is, we haven’t said no.”

“We have to sit with our Player’s Association. It’s a joint decision. We’ll meet with the IIHF and the IOC, to make sure that on things that we’ve learned about participating in these Games over the last four Olympics, three and this one, whether or not we can do things better. Then it’ll be a balancing act, and it’s something ultimately that the clubs will decide, not me.”

FIRST PERIOD

EMRICK: “It’s now the semifinal. Excitement across the country gets higher. The competition from the opponent gets stiffer.”

OLCZYK ON USA’S PATRICK KANE: “He has the ability to be a difference maker. I think the pace of this game hits Patrick Kane right between the eyes.”

OLCZYK ON USA’S ERIK JOHNSON: “Erik Johnson has really been a pillar of strength for Ron Wilson and Team USA.”

MCGUIRE ON SWEDEN’S GOALTENDER MIKKA KIPRUSOFF: “This is a monumental meltdown by Mikka Kiprusoff.”

OLCZYK AFTER USA’S SIXTH GOAL: “Six goals and we’re not even fifteen minutes into the first period.”

MICHAELS ON TEAM USA’S PERFORMANCE: “This is the equivalent of a football team leading another team 42-0 midway through the second quarter.”

SECOND PERIOD

MCGUIRE: “Fearless shot blocking by all American players in this tournament.”

OLCZYK ON TEAM USA’S GOALTENDER RYAN MILLER: “He’s probably the most consistent American player in this Olympics.”

MCGUIRE ON TEAM USA AFTER SIX GOALS: “The team’s still paying attention to little details.”

EMRICK ON TEAM USA: “It is still two perfect periods for Ryan Miller and Team USA defensively.”

THIRD PERIOD

EMRICK ON SLOVAKIA TAKING ON CANADA: “Never underestimate a Cinderella team that doesn’t know any better than to just keep going like Slovakia has been.”

EMRICK ON FINLAND’S ONLY GOAL: “Antti Miettinen has scored a scorcher.”

EMRICK ON TEAM USA’S WIN: “There was no anesthetic, this was surgical this afternoon.”

ROENICK ON THE U.S.-CANADA RIVALRY: “There’s no bigger rival for the United States in international hockey than Canada.”

ROENICK ON THE GOLD MEDAL GAME: “Everybody should show up to watch this game on Sunday.”

On CNBC, Canada held off a late rally to beat Slovakia, 3-2, in men’s hockey and earn the right to face the US in the gold medal game on Sunday on home soil.

CNBC, Men’s Ice Hockey Semifinal:
Canada 3 vs. Slovakia 2
Bill Patrick (Host), Mike Milbury (Studio Analyst), Jeremy Roenick (Studio Analyst), Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Eddie Olczyk (Analyst), Joe Micheletti (Reporter)

Sidney Crosby on the gold medal game: “It’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be intense.”

“We are in the finals now, and we know that our biggest test is yet to come here.”

Milbury on USA and Canada’s physicality: “That’s a real trademark of both of these teams going in to the finals.”

Roenick on the gold medal game: “Everybody at home, watch this game Sunday!”

Albert: “A collective exhale from 34 million residents of Canada.”

“Canada has been waiting for the opportunity to play for the gold on their home soil, and they will have that chance on Sunday against the U.S.”

“Fans continue to chant, we want USA!”

Albert on the final seconds of the game: “Furious pressure by Slovakia.”

Albert: “Slovakia falls just short and Canada will advance to play Team USA for the gold.”

Olczyk on the gold medal: “You just start thinking about a lot of things. You think about where you came from, all the people that helped you along the way, all the coaches, all the hard drives for mom and dad, all the sacrifices.”

Milbury: “I started off this tournament with some doubts about Scott Niedermayer. He hadn’t had a great season at Anaheim, but boy has he come a long way in this tournament.”

Women’s Gold Medal Game Draws 2.5 Million on MSNBC

From TVBytheNumbers via Sports Media Watch:

Canada’s win over Team USA in the Olympic Women’s Hockey Gold Medal game drew a 1.6 U.S. rating and 2.5 million viewers on MSNBC Thursday evening. The game was the 9th-highest rated and 6th-most viewed program of the night on cable television.

So good news that people are tuning in to give women’s puck a shot.

USA-Switzerland Semifinal Draws Nearly 6 Million in Daytime

Team USA may be headed for the Gold Medal game, and that has lead them on to the podium ratings-wise.

NBC Sports passed along to us that daytime coverage, live on the east coast and tape delayed on the west coast, of Team USA’s quarterfinal matchup with Switzerland drew 5.9 million viewers from 3-5PM.  This is a tick above NBC’s usual daytime Olympic average of 5.8 million, and extremely impressive for a hockey game that only aired live to half of the nation.

This comes off the heels of MSNBC drawing 8.2 million for the Team USA round robin game vs. Canada.  It makes one wonder how many viewers a rematch might draw on Sunday.

And So It’s The End of the Week And…

I’m taking next week mostly off.

Now, let me make myself clear.  Monday and Tuesday, Puck the Media is the place to find out the ratings for the Gold Medal Game.  But after that… it’s open threads and guest posts for the rest of the week.

Thank you for reading and commenting.  The Olympics have been the most successful two-week period in Puck the Media history.  As the desire of the fans to see hockey goes up, so does the desire to see what dumb things the broadcasters are doing.  I appreciate you all so much.

See ya.

Puck the Media upcoming schedule

Mar. 1 – 5: Light posting Monday/Tuesday, Wednesday-Friday off
Mar. 8-12: Full Week
Mar. 15-19: Full Week
Mar. 22-26: Full Week
Mar. 29-Apr. 2: Full Week
Apr. 5-9: Week Off
Apr. 12-June 21: On Every Day

Not Too Many More of These, NBC Universal Hockey Schedule For the Next Two Days

VANCOUVER – February 25, 2010 -

The men’s ice hockey semifinal round heats up as Team USA takes on Finland live on NBC and on NBCOlympics.com. The second semifinal game is live on CNBC and NBCOlympics.com between Team Canada and Slovakia.

Friday, February 26 (DAY 15)

NBC
3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey – Semifinal: USA vs. Finland (LIVE)

CNBC
6:00 p.m. – Midnight
Men’s Ice Hockey – Semifinal: Canada vs. Slovakia (LIVE)

NBC HIGHLIGHTS (Daytime):
Men’s Ice Hockey: Semifinal- One team that will play for men’s hockey gold will be determined LIVE with coverage of the men’s semifinal round between Team USA and Finland. The winner of this game is only one win away from the coveted gold.

CNBC HIGHLIGHTS:
Men’s Ice Hockey: LIVE coverage of the second men’s ice hockey semifinal between Team Canada and Slovakia, with a berth in the Gold Medal Final at stake.

Saturday, February 27 (DAY 16)

MSNBC
10:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.
Men’s Ice Hockey -Bronze Medal Game (LIVE)

CABLE HIGHLIGHTS:
Men’s Ice Hockey: The men’s ice hockey bronze medal game is LIVE on MSNBC.

Quotes From Women’s Gold and Bronze

MSNBC included live coverage of the women’s ice hockey bronze medal game between Finland and Sweden.

MSNBC
WOMEN’S ICE HOCKEY BRONZE MEDAL GAME: SWEDEN VS. FINLAND
Bill Patrick (Host), Cammi Granato (Studio Analyst), Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), AJ Mleczko (Analyst), Joe Micheletti (Reporter)
Finland: 3 Sweden: 2

GRANATO ON FINLAND WINNING GOLD: “First Olympic medal for Team Finland in 12 years!”

“These two teams are used to playing against each other. A lot of times it’s been Sweden on top. This time its Finland’s turn.”

GRANATO ON THE GAME: “For those of us that are fans of women’s hockey, this is what we wanted to see. We wanted to see a hard fought battle. We wanted to see an emotional battle. We saw some physical play. That’s what you want, a 3-2 overtime final for an Olympic medal. That’s amazing hockey.”

ALBERT ON THE GAME: “It’s no surprise that these teams are playing for the bronze. If you asked any follower of women’s hockey prior to the Olympics, you would have expected U.S. and Canada in the gold medal game, despite the upset by Sweden in 2006, and Sweden and Finland playing for the bronze.”

MLECZKO ON SWEDEN, FINLAND RIVALRY: “People talk about the rivalry between the USA and Canada, but this one is forgotten. Finland and Sweden play each other a lot through the years. With their geography, they are very close to each other. They are often battling for a bronze medal and you can see the physical nature and the intensity.”

GRANATO ON FINLAND’S MICHELLE KARVINEN: “Karvinen is showing why she’s one of the most exciting prospects for Finland these days. She’s young, she’s 19 years old. But she’s showing tonight why she’s been so good for them.”

On MSNBC, the host nation Canada defeated the US – the reigning world champions – in the highly anticipated women’s hockey gold medal game by a score of 2-0. It was Canada’s third consecutive Olympic gold. The medal ceremony and Canadian national anthem aired in primetime on NBC.

MSNBC, Women’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal Game:
Canada 2 vs. United States 0
Bill Patrick (Host), Cammi Granato (Studio Analyst), Mike Emrick (Play-By-Play), AJ Mleczko (Analyst), Pierre McGuire (Analyst), Joe Micheletti (Reporter)

Patrick: “What we saw today was really unique. Before today, no women’s hockey team had ever won Olympic gold on home ice.”

“The party has just begun here at Canada hockey place.”

Patrick on Canada: “Their 15th straight Olympic victory. Their third straight gold medal.”

Granato on Canada: “They have the crowd here supporting them. It can’t be more special.”

“They had a flawless game.”

Mleczko: “It was a battle as expected.”

Emrick on Canada: “What a wonderful feeling it is for them, to not only win, but to win at home.”

McGuire on Canada’s Szabados: “She is the most consistent goaltender Canada has right now.”

Patrick: “The Canadian team has this building behind it and that’s a big factor.”

Canada’s Gillian Apps on playing well under pressure: “It is something that we have worked on all year just making sure that we have a strong, solid penalty kill. Our defense and our goalie are playing great, so it’s a huge help.”

Mleczko on USA and Canada: “These two teams are ‘it’ in terms of rivalries.”

Granato: “This is four years of work coming down to one game.”

McGuire on USA and Canada: “A lot of tension on both benches.”

Granato on USA: “They’re the most together I have seen a team since the 1998 team.”

Granato On USA Head Coach Mark Johnson: “They absolutely love playing for him. This guy is so well decorated. He was the leading scorer of the 1980 Olympic team that won the gold medal. His father was a legendary coach. He just has loads of experience. He has won three NCAA championships with Wisconsin. He knows how to win. He knows how to coach and they follow him.”

Granato: “For the U.S., you can sense the disappointment. You can see the disappointment. Lots of tears. I have been there. I know what that feels like. In time, they will come to appreciate the silver medal. It is hard for them right now, but they will.”

USA’s Natalie Darwitz on the game: “We played hard, but we just didn’t execute.”

“We have a young team and at times I feel we played that way.”

Washington-Chicago March 14th NBC Game of the Week. No, Really. It is.

No official announcement made, but Bettman just confirmed it on his radio show, and I’ll post the announcement when it’s made by NBC.

UPDATE: From NBC

NEW YORK – Feb. 25, 2010 – The Sunday, March 14, Washington Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks game has been flexed as NBC Sports’ “Game of the Week” and will be played at the United Center at 12:30 p.m. ET/11:30 a.m. CT, the National Hockey League and NBC Sports announced today.

Superstar Alex Ovechkin captains a talented Washington Capitals team that went 13-2 in January and recently amassed a 14-game winning streak. Ovechkin leads the NHL with 89 points and a plus-43 rating. He is tied for the NHL lead in goals with Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby with 42. Meanwhile, Chicago boasts young superstars of their own in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews who are leading Chicago to the top of the Central Division and second place in the Western Conference.

A potential preview of the Stanley Cup Final, this will be the only time these two Presidents’ Trophy contenders will face each other this season.

ADDITIONAL “GAME OF THE WEEK” MATCHUPS

The NHL on NBC schedule resumes on Sunday, March 7, when the Blackhawks host division rival Detroit Red Wings at 12:30 p.m. ET. No two NHL teams have played more regular-season games against each other than Detroit and Chicago. The Blackhawks will be looking to avenge losses to the Red Wings in the 2009 Western Conference Final and 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Wrigley Field.

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING

At least 13 days prior to the scheduled game, one game is selected for broadcast on NBC. All NBC games will be broadcast on Sundays and all games will be presented in HD. Games not flexed to NBC will be available to the teams’ regional carriers and remain at the originally announced start time. The March 14 match-up was first announced on the Thursday, Feb. 25, edition of “NHL Hour With Commissioner Gary Bettman” on NHL.com and SIRIUS XM Radio airing from 6-7 p.m. ET.

Open Thread For Women’s Bronze and Gold Medal Games

Finland vs. Sweden, 2:30 PM, CNBC

USA vs. Canada, 6:30 PM, CNBC
Play by Play:
Mike Emrick
Color: AJ Mleczko
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

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