Your TV Guide and Open Thread for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals

7:30 PM ET, Carolina vs. Pittsburgh, Game 1

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Joe Beninati
Color: Daryl Reaugh
Reporter: Chris Simpson

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

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BREAKING: Western Conference Finals Game 1 Draws a 2.0 on NBC

What’s that funky-looking number next to the zero?  According to SportsBusinessDaily (reg. required), NBC’s coverage of Game 1 of the Detroit/Chicago series drew a 2.0/5 on Sunday.  That rating marks the best ever rating for an NHL On NBC broadcast, excluding obviously the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.  The number is also up from last year’s comparable broadcast (Flyers/Penguins Game 5, which drew a 1.7). 

We’re working on getting local numbers and attempting to find out when the last time hockey drew a 2.0 on broadcast was, and we’ll update later if we get that info for you.

UPDATE 1:07 PM: This is the first time a non-outdoor or Stanley Cup Final hockey game has drawn a 2.0 overnight on broadcast since regional playoff action (DET/NSH Game 6, NJ/PHI Game 5, COL/DAL Game 5, ABC) on April 17, 2004 drew a 2.1/5, according to Sports Media Watch.

UPDATE 1:10 PM: Thanks to NBC Sports spokesman, the perpetually helpful Brian Walker, we now have the local numbers for Game 1:

Chicago – 7.7/19
Detroit – 16.9/38

Also from Mr. Walker, the news that this is the highest-rated single-game (non-regional) NHL telecast (obviously excluding outdoor games and SCF) since May 25, 2002 (DET/COL Game 4, ABC, 2.2/6).  Impressive numbers for a series that’s just beginning.  If the set remains close, NBC can expect even higher numbers for it’s telecast of Game 4, next Sunday at 3:00 PM ET.

Your Mid-Day YouTube Compulsory: Hey, I Remember This!

Why Can’t I Hear You, Doc?

Some Notes from NBC’s coverage of Wings-Hawks Game 1, which we hope to get the ratings for by mid-day:

  • We know how much some of you hate the early start times, but couldn’t today have been one of those days where NBC thinks to itself “Hey, we got this Lakers Game 7 goin’ on over at ABC, that might deflect some attention”.  As you may or may not, the Lakers are the Yankees, Red Wings and Cowboys of the NBA, and are likely to draw as high as a 5.0 overnight for a Game 7 against the whoevers from Whoville.  A 1PM start, while a little early in the Central Time Zone for Chicago fans, would’ve probably helped out the NHL.  What could’ve been as high as a 2.0 overnight without the hoops in the way might fall as low as a 1.0.
  • Does anyone else feel like Doc Emrick’s microphone is kept too low on NBC?  Now, we’ve been to our share of concerts to have our ears destroyed at this early stage in our live, but does anyone else struggle to hear the Hall of Fame voice’s work during the NBC telecasts?  This has been a recurring problem throughout the year.  NBC’s sound people do great work (They’ve been nominated for an Emmy for it in the past) but if we could hear the only redeeming broadcaster the network has for hockey, that’d be just great.
  • While NBC might feel obliged to provide some sort of primer for those interested in the all-cable Pittsburgh-Carolina series, the pre-taped interview with Sidney Crosby was superfluous, a slant to Detroit and Chicago fans, and further evidence that NBC has little interest in the NHL aside from Crosby, and the league is willing to let them show it however they like.  Exactly what do you accomplish from Mike Milbury asking Sid the Legal Adult if he has “a dark side”?

Tell us some of your thoughts on the game in this thread.