Olympic Hockey A Tremendous Success Across United States

4 Comments

Yesterday was a banner day for hockey in the United States, as the
U.S. team took the Canadians to the brink in an electrifying gold medal
game that wasn’t decided until overtime. For many, it was one of the
greatest hockey games they’ve ever seen which is interesting since many
were saying that about the first USA-Canada game.

But it wasn’t
just the hardcore hockey fans that enjoyed the game in the United
States. On the last day of the Olympics, the gold medal game became
became the most-watched hockey since 1980.

Per Steve
Lepore of Puck The Media
:

According to Sports
Business Daily (reg.
required
), the Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Game drew an astronomical
17.6/33 overnight rating.  This is up 46% from the 2002 USA/Canada
showdown, and will very likely be the highest-rated hockey game since
1980.  The share means that 1 in every 3 Americans with a TV were
watching the game.  This is, to put it professionally, out of this
world.

Via Sports
Media Watch:

Sunday’s game is on pace to finish as the highest rated hockey
telecast in the United States since 1980.

To put the numbers in perspective, Sunday’s game drew a higher
overnight rating than every World Series game since 2004 (including
every game of Yankees/Phillies last year), every NBA Finals telecast
since 1998, and every NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four game since at
least ’98.

Excluding the NFL, the 17.6 overnight for the game is the
second-highest of the year for any sporting event, behind only the
Texas/Alabama BCS National Championship Game in January (18.2).

It was a triumphant day for USA hockey and hockey fans all over the
United States, as 25 million people tuned in to watch the game. Despite a
heartbreaking loss in overtime, the hope is that the NHL retains the
fans they gained for the day, building the sport even more in the U.S.

This
is a sport that has been working valiantly to recover from the lockout
five years ago, and yesterday’s incredible game is being talked about in
every corner of the United States. That can only be a good thing for
the NHL moving forward.

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

1 Comment

Hot take: the Pittsburgh Penguins probably won’t deal with a goalie controversy going into Game 7.

(Ugh, that’s a failed hot take … you can’t use “probably” in those things, right?)

Matt Murray was fantastic at times during Game 6, much like his counterpart in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s net in a 5-2 win. Granted, there were some tense moments during the Bolts’ late-game push:

Much has been made about experience, especially from those calling for Marc-Andre Fleury earlier in this series. It’s telling that the praise Murray draws sure sounds like what you’d expect from a “veteran.”

“He has a calming influence,” Sullivan said. “He doesn’t get rattled. If he lets a goal in, he just continues to compete. That’s usually an attribute that usually takes years to acquire that, and to have it at such a young age is impressive.”

Thanks in part to Murray’s efforts in Game 6, he’ll get a chance to prove his resolve in something new: a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Final.

Once again, his teammates seem pretty confident in this elimination situation.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

7 Comments

The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

18 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

11 Comments

With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.