NHL needs to capitalize on buzz from Games
After the epic USA-Canada gold-medal hockey game at the Vancouver Winter Games drew record television ratings in North America, the onus is on the NHL to continue its Olympic buzz.
"It's great to see fans of hockey — and I think they're passionate, a growing group — and when you see the numbers, you see the excitement, you see the drama that played out, you hope it continues," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. "When you go back to '60 and then '80, I think there is a building that's happened within the game because of how it played on bigger stages like the Olympics. Hopefully, we look back and say: 'The game grew because of this.'"
While Canada was captivated by watching its countrymen capture Olympic gold in a 3-2 victory punctuated by Sidney Crosby's overtime goal — 80 percent of Canadians watched the game, an average of 16.6 million viewers — the momentum carried over this week to the NHL regular season.
It created what FSN Pittsburgh executive Ted Black called a "halo effect" for Tuesday's game between the Penguins and Buffalo Sabres, which drew an 11.73 rating. It ranked second only to Mario Lemieux's comeback game in December 2000 in ratings for a regular-season game on FSN.
"The TV ratings were through the roof," Penguins winger Bill Guerin said, "so you've got to strike while iron is hot and get something done."
A free preview of NHL Center Ice, the out-of-market subscription package of live NHL games, was offered this past week to digital cable viewers, as was the league's Race For The Cup package for the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs at a price of $79.90 or two payments of $39.95.
Crosby hasn't stopped answering questions about the Olympics and believes that the excitement surrounding the Winter Games could propel the NHL into the Stanley Cup playoffs.
"I think they did capitalize when you had Canada and the U.S., and you had that many people watching," Crosby said. "That says a lot about the direction of the sport, and that's a good sign for everybody. I don't think people ever thought hockey was struggling, but I think it's definitely getting better with things that are happening here."
FOUR IN PLAY
The four players who surprised Tribune-Review Penguins beat writer Rob Rossi the most at the Olympics:
1. Jaroslav Halak (Slovakia)
NHL team: Canadiens
» Better than any goalie not named Ryan Miller or Johan Hiller, and that was saying something.
2. Patrick Kane (USA)
NHL team: Blackhawks
» I saw USA Hockey's future, and its name is Patrick Kane.
3. Shea Weber (Canada)
NHL team: Predators
» The national stage opened my (and many) eyes to his all-around greatness.
4. Jaromir Jagr (Czech Republic)
NHL team: None
» Forget surprised; I can't believe he bounced up from Alex Ovechkin's hit in the preliminary round.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Bennett to miss about 2 weeks
- Ehrhoff finding his way with Penguins
- Penguins notebook: Bennett status remains fluid
- New assistant Agnew has Pens’ PK, defense among league’s best
- Penguins’ Dupuis diagnosed with blood clot in lung
- Penguins notebook: Johnston calls Quinn ‘phenomenal’ coach, person
- Penguins notebook: Penguins getting fewer power-play opportunities
- Finding balance between toughness, excessiveness key for Penguins’ Downie
- Mears savors success, credits legendary Lange for guidance, inspiration
- Fleury collects career win No. 300 in crucial game against Bruins
- Starkey: Pens move on with, without Dupuis