Your TV Guide and Open Thread for Game 3 of the Western Conference Final

8:00 PM ET, Detroit vs. Chicago, Game 3 (DET Leads 2-0)

National TV (US): VERSUS (HD)
Play by Play: Mike Emrick
Color: Eddie Olczyk 
Reporter: Bob Harwood

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

CBC Promotes Beginning Conference Final Coverage

It’s been Canada’s only home to the Stanley Cup for 56 years, and as of Friday, May 22, the tradition continues as CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA will be the nation’s exclusive home to the remainder of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs and 2009 Stanley Cup Final. (Please see below for CBC’s complete Round Three broadcast schedule).

All eyes will be on CBC’S HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, May 22 as Hockey Tonight, hosted by Ron MacLean, primes viewers for Game Three of the Western Conference Final. During the pre-game show, Inside Hockey features sophomore sensation Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks looking back at his teenage years and the time he spent living with former Detroit Red Wing Patrick Verbeek. Then at 8 p.m. ET, the first puck of the night drops as Kane and the Blackhawks host the Red Wings, as Chicago looks to rebound from a 2-0 series deficit. Play-by-play announcer Jim Hughson, analyst Craig Simpson and rinkside reporter Scott Oake will cover the series from Chicago along withKelly Hrudey and Mike Milbury.

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More on Ratings For the Conference Finals

From Sports Business Daily (Reg. required):

Versus earned a 1.6 cable rating and averaged 1.717 million viewers for Tuesday’s Blackhawks-Red Wings Eastern Conference Finals Game Two. The net drew a 15.5 local rating in Detroit, beating the final performance episode of Fox’ “American Idol” by 26% in the market. Versus through two Conference Finals games, Monday’s Hurricanes-Penguins Eastern Conference Final and Tuesday’s Blackhawks-Red Wings, has seen cable ratings and viewership increase 36% and 58%, respectively, from a 1.1 and 1.073 million viewers through two Conference Final games last year, which aired on Thursday and Friday 

Updating our chart:

Conf. Final Ratings                                                                                                                                                                   Game 1, CHI vs. DET (NBC, 5/17/09): 2.0
Game 1, CAR vs. PIT (VERSUS, 5/18/09): 1.1 (1.4 cable rating)
Game 2, CHI vs. DET (VERSUS, 5/19/09): 1.3 (1.6 cable rating)

NBC Hypes Game 4 Coverage

NEW YORK – May 21, 2009 – The defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, who won the first two games of this best-of-seven series on home ice (Game 3 is tomorrow night), visit “Original Six” rival the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final Sunday, 3 p.m. ET on NBC. Hockey Hall of Famer Mike “Doc” Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass reporter) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty, hosting NBC’s studio show alongside analyst Mike Milbury on site in Chicago. 

“Chicago can definitely get back in this series,” said McGuire. “The home ice crowd in Chicago is a huge ally for the Blackhawks. It’s going to be really important for them to score early and keep the crowd in it. 

“I don’t think Chicago has been overmatched; they can play with Detroit. It’s going to be key for Patrick Kane to find a way to break down Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski.” 

The Blackhawks have captivated the Windy City in reaching the Conference Final for the first time in 14 years. Detroit is seeking to advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row. The teams opened NBC’s 2009 schedule on New Year’s Day in the NHL Winter Classic from historic Wrigley Field, which became the most-viewed NHL regular season game in 34 years. 

NBC VIEWERSHIP SHOWS 23 PERCENT INCREASE: NBC Sports’ broadcast of the Stanley Cup Playoffs has averaged 1.8 million viewers, a 23 percent increase over last year (1.4 million) through the first weekend of the Conference Final. 

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Thoughts on Our First Look at the Eastern Conference Finals

We didn’t get a chance to watch Game 1 of the series, but we caught most of Game 2 (we’re ridiculously more invested in the Western Finals, sorry) and here are some issues:

  • Regardless of what you think of Joe Beninati (and based on the plethora of lame jokes that come in my inbox everyday, most of you don’t think too highly) his call of Evgeni Malkin’s hat trick goal showcased the pure hockey ecstasy the moment required.  In fact, it seemed like it was Daryl Reaugh left with a rare speechless moment, trying to come up with the adequate words to describe what had just happened.
  • If you’re keeping track, the Stanley Cup Finals are still on pace for a May 29th beginning, as both series are currently headed for sweeps.  If either Chicago or Carolina wins one game, we begin the Finals on June 5th and have to deal with the two days in a row of Finals games.  
  • As Greg Wyshysnki pointed out, VERSUS got it wrong when it cited Martin Straka in 1999 as the Penguins most recent playoff hat trick.  The real answer: Uh, Sidney Crosby a couple of weeks ago against the Caps?  Did we not all just obsess over that series?