Your Announcers and Open Thread for Day 18 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Boston vs. Philadelphia, Game 1, 3:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): NBC
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Pierre McGuire

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

Nashville vs. Vancouver, Game 2, 9:00 p.m. ET

National TV (Canada): CBC
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Inside the Glass: Glenn Healy
Reporter: Scott Oake

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 17 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tampa Bay vs. Washington, Game 1, 7:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: Dave Strader
Color: Eddie Olczyk
Inside the Glass: Joe Micheletti

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

Detroit vs. San Jose, Game 1, 10:00 p.m. ET

National TV (US): VERSUS

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

NHL Celebrates Best 1st Round in Seven Years on Broadcast, 16 Years on Cable

NEW YORK (April 29, 2011) – History was made, on and off the ice, in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The National Hockey League, on the heels of announcing the most significant media rights deal in its history, continues to reach new heights across multiple platforms while earning praise from fans and critics alike.

One of the most exciting and compelling Conference Quarterfinal rounds in Stanley Cup Playoff history, highlighted by nine straight days of overtime games, four Game 7s (the most in the first round in 16 years), and 49 total games (tied for the most ever), led to ratings increases and milestones at both the national and local levels, along with record Internet traffic on NHL.com. The first round, which the New York Times hailed as a round “that had everything,” and a “tough act to follow,” also scored in-arena with every arena at 100 percent capacity, achieving an all-time record for average attendance for the first round.

VERSUS achieved the highest U.S. cable viewership for the first round in 17 years, dating back to the 1994 postseason, while on the broadcast side, NBC scored the best U.S. network opening-round audience in seven years. In Canada, CBC’s coverage recorded the best opening round viewership in history, ahead of the previous best in 2004 when five of the six Canadian teams made the playoffs.

Below are some of the first-round highlights:

NATIONAL TELEVISION MILESTONES

NBC: The network earned the best opening-round viewership in seven years, averaging 1.9 million viewers for its four games, a 12 percent increase over last year. The coverage was highlighted by last Sunday’s Game 6 Philadelphia-Buffalo broadcast, which was the most-watched NHL non-Conference Final game in the U.S. in 12 years. The game averaged 2.57 million viewers, up 44 percent over last year’s comparable telecast (Phoenix-Detroit, 1.78 million).

VERSUS: Coverage of the Conference Quarterfinals, which averaged 624,000 viewers, was the most-watched ever on VERSUS, up eight percent from last year’s first round (595,000) and the most-watched on cable in 17 years. It was also the most-watched Quarterfinals for key male demos in eight years, including the best among Men 18-49 in a decade (2001).

CBC: CBC recorded the highest average viewership in its history for the opening round of the playoffs with 2.148 million viewers for 22 first-round broadcasts, up 49 percent over last year. The total surpassed the previous best set in 2004 when five of six Canadian teams made the playoffs. The record was highlighted by the drama-filled Chicago-Vancouver Game 7 overtime classic, which scored the second-best Conference Quarterfinal viewership in 11 years, 3.827 million viewers.

RDS: Playoffs to date, RDS is averaging 616,000 viewers through 31 telecasts, up 10 percent from last year’s average (558,000 viewers). Average viewership for the Montreal vs. Boston series was 1,791,000 viewers for its seven games, an 18 percent increase over last year’s 7 games series against Washington.

REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORK MILESTONES

· NESN’s coverage of the Boston Bruins’ Game 7 overtime victory over Montreal delivered a 17.7 local rating in Boston, a record for any Bruins playoff game on NESN. Overall, NESN’s first-round ratings were up 69 percent over last year.

· The three highest-rated Blackhawks games in Comcast SportsNet Chicago history occurred during the Blackhawks’ seven-game series against the Canucks. The highpoint was Game 7, which averaged a 13.5 rating locally (474,000 households).

· The deciding Game 7 against the Sabres was the highest-rated Flyers game in Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia history, delivering a 12.6 average rating (380,000 households).

· Fox Sports South’s coverage of the Nashville Predators’ Game 6 clinching victory posted a 3.6 local rating, marking the second-highest rating for a Predators playoff game ever on the network.

· The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game 7 clincher on Sunshine delivered a 4.5 local rating, the highest rating for a Lighting playoff game on Sunshine in eight years.

· The Capitals first-round series against the Rangers became the highest-rated Capitals playoff series in Comcast SportsNet Washington history, averaging 5.7 in the DC DMA (and a 2.6 Baltimore DMA average) for a combined average local audience of 165,000 households. The series also included the second-highest rated Caps game in Comcast SportsNet history.

· Buffalo led all markets by averaging an 18.8 locally on MSG (6 games) followed by the Pittsburgh Penguins, which averaged a 16.5 on ROOT (7 games).

NHL.COM*

NHL.com also benefited from the on-ice excitement, with April scoring the most unique visitors in any one month in the site’s history, up 32 percent over April 2010 and up 47 percent over 2010-11 monthly average. Wednesday, April 27, earned the third most unique visitors to NHL.com with two Game 7s being played.

For the playoffs, unique visitors have increased by 25 percent year-over-over while video starts are up 57 percent. U.S. traffic has increased by 25 percent, Canada by 24 percent. Finland leads all European nations in terms of traffic and has shown a 36 percent rise over 2010, followed by Germany (+36 percent) and Sweden (+26 percent). Interestingly, traffic from “down under” has shown significant growth with Australia up 36 percent.

In the U.S., some of the NHL markets with significant increases in unique visitors for the first round of the playoffs are: Tampa (+111 percent); Nashville (+81 percent); Atlanta (+38 percent); New York (+37 percent); Buffalo (+36 percent); Chicago (+36 percent); San Francisco/San Jose (+30 percent); Philadelphia (+28 percent); Los Angeles (+31 percent); Washington D.C. (+27 percent); and Detroit (+24 percent).

In Canada, five of the six NHL markets have achieved double-digit traffic growth.

*Source: Omniture

MERCHANDISE

For the first round of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, in-arena merchandise sales volume and per cap sales increased 19% compared to the first round of 2010 (equal # of games played – 49).

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:

“I’ve been covering the playoffs since ’81, and I can’t remember a first-round series that had that kind of emotion.” – Veteran TSN analyst Bob McKenzie

“The NHL’s slogan for the Stanley Cup playoffs is, History Will Be Made, a maxim that has never been more true than during this year’s first round.” – Sports Illustrated

“Year after year, especially over the past decade, the Stanley Cup playoffs teach us one paramount lesson: Expect the unexpected.” – ESPN.com

“There is no way the second round can be as exciting as the first. Is there?” – New York Times

“It doesn’t feel like a stretch to say that was the best first-round playoff game in NHL history.” – Globe & Mail on Chicago-Vancouver Game 7

“The quality of play throughout round 1 has been almost universally high. We’ve been treated to some very exciting hockey so far and that shows no signs of changing.” – Huffington Post

“Every NHL playoff game now is like a fundamentalist revival or something, every row of the upper and lower bowls converted into pews where the worshipers all wear white (Phoenix), orange (Philly), red (Detroit, Washington), white (Pittsburgh) or black (Boston). The games aren’t games anymore in the playoffs, they are full-on Events.” – Denver Post

“The first round of the 2011 NHL playoffs was quite possibly the best in the history of hockey. Comebacks, overtime intrigue, the typical wars of words, goaltending problems. It really had everything.” – SB Nation

Ratings For the Stanley Cup Playoffs on VERSUS By Night and By Series

I thought we’d organize everything into this one post. You’ll get night-by-night Stanley Cup Playoffs ratings first, then we’ll break it down by series, but only including full broadcasts (or at least scheduled to be full broadcasts) and not joined in progress games. Enjoy.

Night-by-Night

Wednesday, April 13

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 149,000 viewers
7:00 p.m.  Phoenix vs. Detroit, Game 1 – 484,000 viewers
9:44 p.m.  NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 1 – 673,000 viewers
10:38 p.m.  Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 1 – 540,000 viewers
12:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 168,000 viewers

Thursday, April 14

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 62,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 1 – 510,000 viewers
9:35 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 1 – 660,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 1 – 381,000 viewers
1:25 a.m. Hockey Central – 121,000 viewers

Friday, April 15

7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 183,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. NY Rangers vs. Washington, Game 2 – 606,000 viewers
10:09 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 2 – 562,000 viewers
12:35 a.m. Hockey Central – 181,000 viewers

Saturday, April 16

7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 2 – 661,000 viewers
9:51 p.m. Hockey Central – 444,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 2 – 457,000 viewers
12:42 p.m. Hockey Central – 236,000 viewers

Sunday, April 17

 7:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 244,000 viewers
8:00 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 3 – 689,000 viewers
10:43 p.m. Hockey Central – 186,000 viewers

Monday, April 18

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 83,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 3 – 572,000 viewers
9:46 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 3 – 512,000 viewers
10:21 p.m. Hockey Central – 390,000 viewers
10:30 p.m. Detroit vs. Phoenix, Game 3 – 415,000 viewers
1:41 a.m. Hockey Central – 135,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 19

7:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 132,000 viewers
8:00 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 4 – 621,000 viewers
10:44 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 3 – 300,000 viewers
1:41 a.m. Hockey Central – 79,000 viewers

Wednesday, April 20

6:30 p.m. ET Hockey Central – 52,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. ET Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 – 619,000 viewers
11:02 p.m. ET Detroit vs. Phoenix, Game 4 – 491,000 viewers
1:14 a.m. ET Hockey Central – 133,000 viewers

Thursday, April 21

6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 66,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Boston vs. Montreal, Game 4 – 599,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 5 – 590,000 viewers
12:37 a.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 4 – 316,000 viewers
1:21 a.m. Hockey Central – 266,000 viewers

Friday, April, 22

7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 270,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 5 – 
931,000 viewers
10:36 p.m. Nashville vs. Anaheim, Game 5 – 428,000 viewers
1:04 a.m. Hockey Central – 185,000 viewers

Saturday, April 23
12:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5 – 
391,000 viewers
2:48 p.m. Hockey Central – 355,000 viewers
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 129,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 – 841,000 viewers
11:06 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 5 – 455,000 viewers
1:10 a.m. Hockey Central – 208,000 viewers

Sunday, April 24
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central – 
296,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago – 
1,157,000 viewers
10:59 p.m. Hockey Central – 416,000 viewers

Monday, April 25
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 
75,000
7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 – 719,000 viewers
9:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 667,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 6 – 446,000 viewers
1:07 a.m. Hockey Central – 188,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 26
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central –
300,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 – 
984,000 viewers
10:19 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 – 1,135,000 viewers
1:00 a.m. Hockey Central – 283,000 viewers

Wednesday, April 27
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 7 – 
926,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 7 – 1,500,000 viewers

By series

Eastern Conference

#8 NY Rangers vs. #1 Washington  

Game 2 (4/15/11): 606,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/20/11): 619,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11, NBC): 1,553,000 viewers

#7 Buffalo vs. #2 Philadelphia

Game 3 (4/18/11): 572,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/22/11): 931,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/24/11 on NBC): 2,567,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/26/11): 984,000 viewers

#6 Montreal vs. #3 Boston

Game 1 (4/14/11): 510,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/16/11): 661,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/21/11): 599,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11): 841,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/27/11): 926,000 viewers

#5 Tampa Bay vs. #4 Pittsburgh

Game 5 (4/23/11): 391,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/25/11): 719,000 viewers

Western Conference

#8 Vancouver vs. #1 Chicago

Game 1 (4/13/11): 540,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/15/11):
562,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/17/11): 
689,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/19/11):
621,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/21/11):
590,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/24/11):
1,157,000 viewers
Game 7 (4/26/11):
1,130,000 viwers

#7 Los Angeles vs. #2 San Jose

Game 1 (4/14/11): 381,000 viewers
Game 2 (4/16/11): 457,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/19/11): 300,000 viewers
Game 5 (4/23/11): 455,000 viewers
Game 6 (4/25/11): 446,000 viewers

#6 Phoenix vs. #3 Detroit

Game 1 (4/13/11): 484,000 viewers
Game 3 (4/18/11): 415,000 viewers
Game 4 (4/20/11):
491,000 viewers

#5 Nashville vs. #4 Anaheim

Game 5 (4/22/11): 428,000 viewers

Ratings For Nights 11-15 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Plus The Final Top 10 Games of Round 1

As always, an updated Top 10 as well.

Saturday, April 23
12:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 5 –
391,000 viewers
2:48 p.m. Hockey Central – 355,000 viewers
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central – 129,000 viewers
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 – 841,000 viewers
11:06 p.m. Los Angeles vs. San Jose, Game 5 – 455,000 viewers
1:10 a.m. Hockey Central – 208,000 viewers

Sunday, April 24
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central –
296,000 viewers
7:30 p.m. Vancouver vs. Chicago –
1,157,000 viewers
10:59 p.m. Hockey Central – 416,000 viewers

Monday, April 25
6:30 p.m. Hockey Central –
75,000
7:00 p.m. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 – 719,000 viewers
9:44 p.m. Hockey Central – 667,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. San Jose vs. Los Angeles, Game 6 – 446,000 viewers
1:07 a.m. Hockey Central – 188,000 viewers

Tuesday, April 26
7:00 p.m. Hockey Central -
7:30 p.m. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 –
984,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 – 1,135,000 viewers
1:00 a.m. Hockey Central - 

Wednesday, April 27
7:00 p.m. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 7 –
926,000 viewers
10:00 p.m. Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh, Game 7 – 1,500,000 viewers

Top 10

1. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 6 (4/24/11) – 1,157,000 viewers
2. Chicago vs. Vancouver, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 1,130,000 viewers
3. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 984,000 viewers
4. Buffalo vs. Philadelphia, Game 5 (4/22/11) – 
931,000 viewers
5. Boston vs. Montreal, Game 7 (4/26/11) – 926,000 viewers
5. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 5 (4/23/11) – 841,000 viewers
6. Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 6 (4/25/11) – 719,000 viewers
7. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 3 (4/17/11) – 689,000 viewers
8. Montreal vs. Boston, Game 2 (4/16/11) – 661,000 viewers
9. Vancouver vs. Chicago, Game 4 (4/19/11) – 621,000 viewers
10. Washington vs. NY Rangers, Game 4 (4/20/11) – 619,000 viewers

(Source: Son of the Bronx for Nights 11-13, VERSUS for nights 14-15)

Topic of Discussion: The NHL Moves Out Of Typical Hours To Allow For Doubleheaders

This is the schedule for the two games on Tuesday, May 3rd:

6:30 p.m. ET Washington vs. Tampa Bay, Game 3
9:00 p.m. ET Vancouver vs. Nashville, Game 3

I’d like to start a discussion in the comments on this one. Do you feel the NHL is smart to finally figure out what the NBA’s been doing for years, that you can avoid the typical 7/7:30 local time start to create more doubleheaders? Should Vancouver/Nashville have moved to 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. CT instead? If you’re a fan of the Predators, Caps or Lightning, what’s your opinion? If you aren’t, how would you feel as either a ticket holder or a viewer about this being done to your team? I’m a little burnt out on the week, so I felt like just starting a conversation for the rest of the day.

Your Announcers and Open Thread For Night 16 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Nashville vs. Vancouver, Game 1, 9:00 p.m. ET

National TV (Canada): CBC
Play by Play: Jim Hughson
Color: Craig Simpson
Reporter: Scott Oake

National TV (US): VERSUS
Play by Play: John Forslund
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Inside the Glass: Brian Engblom

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