Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night Seven of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 4 (PHX Leads 2-1), 6:30 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)
Play by Play: Gord Miller
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

Regional TV (Phoenix): FS Arizona
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Color: Darren Pang
Reporter: Todd Walsh

Regional TV (Detroit): FS Detroit (HD)
Play by Play: Ken Daniels
Color: Mickey Redmond
Inside the Glass: Larry Murphy

Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa, Game 4 (PIT Leads 2-1), 7:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Bob Cole
Color: Gary Galley
Reporter: Elliot Friedman

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Darren Eliot
Reporter: Charissa Thompson

Regional TV (Pittsburgh): FS Pittsburgh (HD)
Play by Play: Paul Steigerwald
Color: Bob Errey
Reporter: Dan Potash

New Jersey vs. Philadelphia, Game 4 (PHI Leads 2-1), 7:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN 2 (HD)

Regional TV (New Jersey): MSG Plus
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Chico Resch
Reporters: Steve Cangialosi and Stan Fischler

Regional TV (Philadelphia): CSN Philadelphia (HD)
Play by Play: Jim Jackson
Color: Keith Jones/Bill Clement
Reporter: Steve Coates

Chicago vs. Nashville, Game 3 (Series Tied 1-1), 9:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada): TSN (HD)
Play by Play: Chris Cuthbert
Inside the Glass: Ray Ferraro

Regional TV (Chicago): CSN Chicago (HD)
Play by Play: Pat Foley
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Reporter: Sarah Kustok

Regional TV (Nashville): FS Tennessee (HD)
Play by Play: Pete Weber
Color: Terry Crisp

San Jose vs. Colorado, Game 4 (COL Leads 2-1), 10:00 PM ET

National TV (Canada): CBC (HD)
Play by Play: Mark Lee
Color: Kevin Weekes

Regional TV (San Jose): CSN California (HD)
Play by Play: Randy Hahn
Color: Drew Remenda
Reporter: Brodie Brazil

Regional TV (Colorado): Altitude (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Haynes
Color: Peter McNab
Reporter: Kyle Keefe

VERSUS/TSN Local Nets Tout Big Ratings Gains

VERSUS EARNS best NHL postseason start on cable since 2002
VERSUS’ first five nights of Conference Quarterfinal round coverage averaged a .6 HH rating and 543,000 viewers making it the highest-rated and most-watched start to the postseason on cable since 2002.  The HH rating and average viewership is up 50 percent and 21 percent, respectively, as compared to VERSUS’ first five nights of last year’s postseason (.4 HH rating and 447,000 viewers).  Additionally, the start of the 2010 Playoffs is the most-watched among all key male demos on cable since 2002 with each of the demos showing viewership increases over last year: Men 18-34 (up 6%), Men 18-49 (up 8%) and Men 25-54 (up 18%).

This overall success is highlighted by Game 2 of the Montreal/Washington series on Saturday, April 17, which garnered a .9 HH rating and averaged 731,000 viewers making it VERSUS’ highest-rated and most-watched first round game in network history.  The game surpassed the previous rating high set by the Pittsburgh/Ottawa series Game 2 the day before (.8 HH rating) and the viewership record set by the Philadelphia/Washington Game 7 on April 22, 2008 (682,000 viewers).

NHL ON NBC EVEN WITH LAST SEASON THROUGH TWO BROADCASTS
Through its first two playoff broadcasts, the overnight rating average of 1.4 on NBC is even with last year. National ratings and viewership will be available on Thursday.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS ON TSN AND CBC POSTING “BOFFO NUMBERS”
TSN and CBC are posting “boffo numbers in these playoffs – without Toronto in the hunt,” according to the The Globe & Mail.  The Stanley Cup Playoffs on TSN have averaged 992,000 viewers for nine telecasts through April 18, a 112 percent increase over last year to date (467,000 viewers).  Meanwhile, CBC is averaging 1,268,000 viewers for its 10 broadcasts through games of April 18, a 33 percent increase over last season (951,000 viewers).

NHL ON RDS UP 12%
RDS is averaging 451,000 viewers for its 12 telecasts through April 19, up 12 percent over last year (414,000 viewers).

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORKS
· Game 1 of the Chicago-Nashville series on CSN Chicago earned a 5.9 overnight rating, up 24 percent over last year (4.5).
· Game 1 of the New Jersey-Philadelphia series on earned a 1.4 overnight rating on MSG Plus, a 100 percent increase over last year (0.7).
· Game 1 of the Phoenix-Detroit series earned a 4.1 overnight rating on KTVK, up 116 percent from the last time Phoenix made the playoffs in 2002 (1.9).
· Game 2 of the Phoenix-Detroit series generated a 4.7 rating/8 share on FOX Sports Arizona. That rating is second best all-time for the Coyotes on the network and highest since May 4, 1999. The 4.7 rating means that an average of 84,722 Phoenix households watched the game.
· Game 1 of the Washington-Montreal series on CSN DC earned a 5.1 overnight rating, a 55 percent increase over last year (3.3).
· Game 1 of the Buffalo-Boston series on MSG Network, earned a 12.2 overnight rating, a 53 percent over last year (8.0)
· Game 1 of the San Jose-Colorado series on CSN California earned a 4.4 overnight rating up 19 percent over last year (3.7).
· Game 2 of the Phoenix-Detroit series earned a 10.1 overnight rating on Fox Sports Detroit, up 5 percent over last year (9.7).
· Game 2 of the Washington-Montreal series on CSN DC earned a 4.4 overnight rating, a 132 percent increase over last year (1.9).
· Game 2 of the Chicago-Nashville series on CSN Chicago earned a 5.9 overnight rating, up 48 percent over last year (4.0).
· Game 3 of the Pittsburgh-Ottawa series earned a whopping 21.6 overnight rating, a 20 percent gain over last year (18.0).

DIGITAL STRATEGY PAYS DIVIDENDS
The NHL is engaging and connecting with more fans than ever on its digital platforms and the first week of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs has continued that trend. Some highlights from the first week include:

· Video starts on NHL.com increased by 140 percent over the first six days of the postseason in 2009
· Unique Visitors to NHL.com are up 23 percent over last year (14 percent in the U.S. and 18 percent in Canada)
· Page Views on NHL.com are up 42 percent
· Mobile page views are up 185 percent
· Shop.NHL.com orders are up 37 percent with gross sales increasing by 43 percent compared to last year
· Game Center Live Race for the Cup packages are up 24 percent first five days of the postseason in 2009
· NHL Mobile page views increased by 185 percent over the first six days of the postseason in 2009

The top NHL markets based on growth of unique visitors to NHL.com through the first week of the Playoffs:
· Phoenix (+121 percent)
· Buffalo (+100 percent)
· Nashville (+ 85 percent
· Denver (+74 percent)
· Boston (+63 percent)
· Chicago (+42 percent)
· *Dallas-Ft. Worth (+41 percent)
· Ottawa (+41 percent)
· Montreal (+34 percent)
· Los Angeles (+34 percent)
· Philadelphia (+22 percent)
· Washington D.C. (+21 percent)
· Vancouver (+17 percent)
· Tampa-St. Pete (+13 percent)
· Pittsburgh (+11 percent)
· *Toronto (+10 percent)
· *Atlanta (+6 percent)
· *Edmonton (+6 percent)

Note: *Team did not make the postseason

U.S. fans in non-NHL markets are also engaging in the Stanley Cup Playoffs as never before. The following markets have all seen year-to-year double digit increases in unique visitors to NHL.com:
· Kansas City (+85 percent)
· Baltimore (+54 percent)
· Seattle (+37 percent)
· Rochester, N.Y. (+34 percent)
· Richmond (+32 percent)
· Portland, Ore. (+28 percent)
· Milwaukee (+28 percent)
· Salt Lake City (+27%)
· Norfolk (+21%)
· Cleveland (+19%)

FULL HOUSES
All 23 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs games played through Monday night were sold out. In fact, eight teams managed to squeeze in more fans than their buildings’ respective published seating capacities. Averaging 18,720 fans per game, these NHL Playoffs so far are playing to 101.9 percent capacity.

INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENT INCREASES
The start of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs drove a record number of downloads of NHL Ice Time 2010, the League’s official app for the iPhone and iPod Touch that is distributed outside of North America.  As of Sunday, it remains among the top five sports apps sold on iTunes in 17 countries outside of North America.  As further evidence of fan interest in the NHL outside North America, for the first six days of the Playoffs unique visitors to NHL.com from Russia have increased by 82 percent, Slovakia by 116 percent and from Finland by 39 percent.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NHL’S RECORD-BREAKING BUSINESS SUCCESS IN 2009-10
· Corporate sponsorship was up 20 percent
· New League partners this season include Geico, Starwood Hotels, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, LG Electronics and Hershey’s Canada
· Ad spending on NHL® media increased by 37 percent over last season
· Revenue from big event platforms, led by the Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic®, are up 22 percent over last season
· Unique visitors to NHL.com surpassed last year’s record by 32 percent
· NHL.com attracted a single-day record 1.6 million unique visitors on Sunday, April 11 – besting last season’s regular season final day by 54 percent
· NHL Game Center Live™ subscriptions were up 25 percent
· Sales at SHOP.NHL.com were up 12 percent from last year’s record
· Viewership for NBC’s Game of the Week telecasts were up 13 percent
· Ratings for exclusive telecasts on Versus were up 20 percent
· NHL Mobile™ reached 1.6 million page views, an increase of 233 percent over last season

Caps Outdraw Pens on VERSUS

With no local markets factoring in, the ratings for VERSUS games would probably be a good determining factor in what hockey fans across the country prefer watching as far as teams and stars go.  I think you know where I’m going here.  Yes, I’m turning this into a Crosby/Ovechkin thing.  Anyway, looks like this round goes to Alexander the great as the Capitals out-rated the Penguins over the weekend, via John Ourand’s Twitter:

OTT/PIT Game 2: 519,000 households
DET/PHX Game 2: 408,000 households
MTL/WSH Game 2: 549,000 households
PIT/OTT Game 3: 492,000 households

Of course, it could also be due to the draw of the Canadiens and their fans around North America, has the Sens are a bit of a buzzkill team.  But it appears hockey fans give Alex Ovechkin their due over the weekend for now.  From the looks of their current series, we’ll be seeing a lot more of them on VERSUS during the tournament.

Something Mike Milbury Is Quite Good At, and Other Observations From These Playoffs

Some things I’ve noted from just watching hockey coverage this first six nights:

  • Twitter, Facebook and an entire hockey blogosphere exist and yet, aside from Pro Hockey Talk, Brian freaking Engblom on VERSUS, a network that never has anything interesting to say about anything, is the first person to come out and openly defend Dan Boyle and criticize Evgeni Nabokov for, you know, not doing his job and stopping the puck?!?!?! (run-on sentence fun!)  It’s easy to criticize Boyle, but isn’t it even easier to criticize Nabakov, who’s been piss poor at best in the first three games of the Sharks-Avs series?  Cheers to the analyst who thinks it’s still 1986 for getting one right on the nose.
  • Watched all of Sunday’s Phoenix-Detroit broadcast, and noticed something that I must admit will take some pride-swallowing: Mike Milbury is probably better at the “inside the glass” job on NBC than anyone I’ve seen try the position.  He’s not very talkative, when he says something, it’s exclusively him talking about something that only he can see/hear from his position and (gasp!) he almost never injects his opinion in the position.  For a guy who’s only done this a couple times, I’d say he deserves a couple more shots.
  • I hate to beat a dead horse, but Daryl Reaugh is just the best analyst working right now.  Rick Peckham and he for the second consecutive year make up a solid team that likely isn’t getting as many eyeballs as the early games.  Hopefully enough of you stay up late to hear Peckham’s smooth, evenhanded calls and Reaugh’s whimsy, vocabulary aerobics and when necessary, actual tough analysis.  It’s what more hockey pundits could use these days.

Canadian Numbers So Far

With William Houston being a twit for the last week, I go to Chris Zelkovich of the Toronto Star for numbers:

atings have been strong and both Canadian networks can claim victories. The Ottawa opener drew 1.7 million to CBC, while Montreal’s first game hit 1.5 million on TSN.

Heck, even Versus is boasting record ratings, which has a lot to do with the quality of the hockey. The intrigue has been practically Olympian in calibre with almost as much excitement.

Just as there’s little to choose between the two Canadian channels in ratings, there hasn’t been much difference in the way they’ve presented the games.

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