Raffi Torres ; Tim Thomas;Johnny Boychuk

Bruins-Canucks 2011 Stanley Cup finals opener produces best Game 1 ratings since 1999


Going into Wednesday night’s Game 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, there was an intangible sense that the NHL was on fire. Almost every indicator pointed toward hockey going “up,” with maybe the best sign being that the Sports Business Journal named the NHL its professional sports league of the year.

That notion of positive momentum can be justified by the ratings for the first match between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks’ 1-0 win produced the best overnight ratings for a Game 1 since 1999, generating a 3.2 rating and 6 percent share. That 3.2 rating is a 14 percent increase from the 2.8 rating produced by Game 1 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals. Improving upon last year’s ratings is an especially impressive feat considering the fact that last year’s match featured two large American markets going head-to-head when the Philadelphia Flyers took on the Chicago Blackhawks. Having a Canadian team as one of the conference representatives didn’t derail a telecast that produced the best ratings since the Buffalo Sabres and Dallas Stars produced a 3.7 rating for Fox in ’99.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the game was especially huge in Boston, with the 25.5 rating and 39 percent share topping Boston’s ratings for Game 1 of the 2010 NBA finals match between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers (which drew a 19.1 rating and 34 percent share).

Want more ratings information about Game 1? Check out these interesting details from NBC’s press release on the matter.

  • This is the first Stanley Cup Final featuring a Canadian team since the Ottawa Senators faced the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. The 3.2 overnight for last night’s game is 113 percent higher than the first network broadcast of that series (1.5/3 for Game 3).

Top Metered Markets For Game 1

1. Boston, 25.5/39
2. Providence, 16.7/24
3. Buffalo, 7.2/11
4. Hartford, 5.5/8
5. Pittsburgh, 4.3/7

It’s great to see the momentum continue in such a resounding way. Hopefully sports fans will remain just as interested in the next 3-6 games of this series.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.