Game 7 got the highest rating for the NHL since broadcast networks began carrying the finals in 1998. The rating was a 4.6 with an 8 share. Now hopefully they can build on this, but I guess that all depends on if they are stupid enough to not get the new CBA hammered out.
I'd find CBS' transition from Sunday golf to Sunday hockey amusing, to say the least. I think the number I heard was 4.8, too. The 8 share seems about right.
Since they're building off of their highest rating (probably) ever, if that won't serve as an incentive to keep players playing over the next 2 seasons, nothing will. You can use baseball as a perfect example of destroying momentum on that one.
The Flames opened the 2005-2006 season with an ugly record. How ugly? They were 4-7-2 and heading into November in last place in the hotly-contested Northwest Divison. Since then...6 straight wins, against Minnesota (3-0), Columbus (2-1), Vancouver (1-0)...