Your Announcers and Open Thread for the 47th and Final Night of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Boston vs. Vancouver, Game 7, 8:00 p.m. ET

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

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


Ratings Figures For the Last Four Game 7’s in the United States

Anaheim vs. New Jersey (ABC)
Overnight rating:
Final national rating: 4.6/8
Viewers: 7.2 million

Calgary vs. Tampa Bay (ABC)
National: 4.2/7
Viewers: 6.3 million

Edmonton vs. Carolina (NBC)
National: 3.3/6
Viewers: 5.3 million

Pittsburgh vs. Detroit (NBC)
National: 4.3/8
Viewers: 8.0 million

NOTE: 2003, 2004, 2006 games took place on a Monday, 2009 on a Friday.

Puck the Media’s Predictions For Game 7 in the United States, Canada and Boston

I owe some of my loyal readers a bit of an apology: Puck the Media has gone almost all TV ratings, all the time for the past month or so. Frankly, I’m a little burned out on hockey. I’m gonna’ love Game 7, but after getting no break last summer due to the Kovalchuk saga, I think I’m going to take a bit of a break from all things puck for a month or two once the draft and free agency are finished.

That said, let’s take a look at this Game 7, and the fact that hockey provides the most nerve-wracking, spine-puncturing (sorry, Mason Raymond), sweat-inducing experience of them all when it comes to Game 7’s. I’m nervous right now, and I don’t care who wins. I just get to thinking about how a hockey player even deals with a Game 7. How do you sleep before this? I can barely do so. Do they have satchels full of Xanax at bedside? It’s amazing to me how any hockey player is able to compose themself for any playoff game, but this is particularly true when it comes to a Stanley Cup Final Game 7.

That said, the ratings will likely not set the earth ablaze. It may not even reach the 7.51 million that watched the Penguins defeat the Red Wings in 2009, or the 7.57 million that saw the Blackhawks finish the Flyers in an overtime-Game 6 last season, that matched a 35-year high for the NHL on television. There will be, however, a respectable number that everyone can live with. Two weeks ago, (holy cow, this series has lasted longer than the OJ trial, it feels like) I predicted that a Game 7 would draw an even 7 million viewers. While I think that may have been a little too optimistic, I still believe there’s a chance for it to happen, and I’m sticking with that number.

I’ve been about 500,000 viewers too optimistic on Games 5 & 6, so 6.5 million is likely your safe bet. Either way, for Vancouver and Boston, it’s a terrific showing. It’s a sign that the league has built itself to a point where they don’t need two massive markets to avoid sweating out some embarrassing ratings figures. That people are discussing this series as if it’s a success is a big win for hockey all-around. The fact is, the NHL knew the Canadian ratings would be dynamite, so anything the Americans pull in is a bonus. All that matters is that NBC doesn’t embarrass themselves, and they haven’t. They’ve drawn low numbers on Fridays and Saturdays, which were expected, but solid figures Mondays and Wednesdays.

By the way, just how big can the numbers get in Boston? I’m setting the over under at a 45-rating for this. The Red Sox have a divisional game against Tampa, but once it’s over, it’ll be time for the third period, which I’m betting will draw over a 50 in the Boston market, especially if the Bruins are winning or the game is tied. The one thing we learned the past two weeks, hell, the past two months is that Boston is an A-list hockey market again, no doubt about it. They will provide big ratings for NBC tonight.

Now, as for Canada, this game is going to be an all-time blockbuster. The series has averaged a record-breaking 5.7 million viewers for the CBC. The network is charging $140,000 for every 30-second commercial spot, only falling to the 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Game in terms of cash for ads. I think we’ll see an obscene number for Game 7. I don’t know if it’ll hit 10 million, which would be insanity (considering Canada has about 35 million people, that’d be similar to the 100 million that watch the Super Bowl here). I’d bet a lot on the audiences for the third period giving CBC an average of 9 million viewers. If we go to overtime and/or the Canucks raise Lord Stanley’s Cup, I think we’ll see that 10 million.

Wouldn’t it be cool to know that 15-16 million people watched a hockey game? It’d be a uniting experience for NHL fans across both countries, much like the last time Vancouver played for a Stanley Cup Final. Enjoy the game tonight, and hopefully enjoy reading some good ratings news in this space tomorrow.

Game 1
4.56 million
CBC: 5.6 million

Game 2
3.56 million
CBC: 5.6 million

Game 3
2.75 million
CBC: 5.4 million

Game 4:
2.71 million
CBC: 5.3 million

Game 5
4.32 million
6.1 million

Game 6
5.48 million
CBC: 6.6 million