I'm not a hockey fan, but I had to check a little of this game out. And I gotta say, I wish more games could be shown out doors. Asides from the rink being a long ass ways away from the seats, being outdoors was pretty cool.
I spent just about the whole game grinning like an idiot at how good it looked, with the rain and snow and sleet, and goalies wearing toques. You can never do more than one a season (or one every couple of seasons) especially if the weather is less than perfect, but it does look cool when it happens.
There are already rumors about the next one, Rangers-Isles at the new Yankee Stadium, and Bruins-Canadiens at Gillette (or Fenway, but it would wind up too small I think), are the big ones right now. Also hearing Red Wings-Blackhawks at Soldier Field (though if they did that at Ann Arbor, they could probably plow 100,000 in for a hockey game, which would be amazing).
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I used to be a casual hockey fan although I confess I liked the jerseys and the video games more than following the league itself. It was always a nice alternative to Pro Football or College Basketball in the winter months, but I haven't followed it even casually in the past 5 years or so (marriage and kids'll do that to you).
That being said, I very much enjoyed what I saw of this game. I saw the opening minutes (and goal) and through my dual tuner TiVo, I was able to see quite a bit of the game and the really cool/informative intermissions in between Michigan/Florida breaks, but had to put the football game on pause to watch the Shootout live. Awesome. Hopefully, the league picked up a few new fans (I've been wanting to get into the league a bit more this year and just noticed a few weeks ago that I have the NHL Network on my DirecTv package), and I hope to catch a few NBC and VS. games as the season goes on.
It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them. P. G. Wodehouse (1881 - 1975), The Man Upstairs (1914)
Overnight ratings, for the top 55 markets are in, and for the NHL, it probably couldn't get any better.
A 2.6 rating, making it the most watched, nationally-televised game since 1996 (A combined 3.0 for a 6-game regional schedule on Fox), it also outdrew Wayne Gretzky's final game, which drew a 2.5.
Of course, the best market was Buffalo, where it drew a 38.2 rating and a 58 share, meaning that in the Buffalo market, 58% of televisions were tuned to the game. It was a 17.7/30 share in Pittsburgh. Out of the top 55 markets, the top 10 for the game were: 1- Buffalo 2- Pittsburgh 3- Minneapolis 4- Denver 5 (tie)- Providence/Las Vegas (!) 7- St. Louis 8- Boston 9- Sacramento (!!) 10 (tie)- Richmond/Hartford
Now, of course, this all goes out the window if Rangers/Bruins draws a 0.4 for the first game of the week in 2 weeks, but for now, they've got to be patting themselves on the back in the head offices.
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It's interesting to note that the top four seeds advance from the East, while the bottom four seeds advance from the West (sigh). East: Buffalo vs. Ottawa New Jersey vs. Carolina West: Edmonton vs. San Jose Colorado vs. Anaheim