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.

Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

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Two injury updates in one post.

First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

“We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.

Getzlaf didn’t love the ‘dead’ atmosphere at Coyotes game

Martin Erat, Ryan Getzlaf
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Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf wasn’t impressed with at least two things last night in Arizona:

1. His team’s performance in a 4-2 loss to the Coyotes.
2. The atmosphere inside Gila River Arena, where the announced attendance was just 11,578.

“It’s hard. When you come into a building … it’s dead,” Getzlaf told the O.C. Register. “Nothing against the fans. It’s hard to fill a big building like this and have the amount of people in it to build your energy. So you have to do it yourself. You have to be ready when you step on the ice. I thought we came out flat.”

Anaheim’s record fell to 8-11-4 with the defeat.

The Coyotes’ average attendance also fell, to 13,144 in eight games.

Jarred Tinordi becomes the latest youngster to be sent to the AHL for ‘conditioning’

Jarred Tinordi, Brendan Gallagher
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Like Frank Corrado (see here), Tomas Jurco (see here), Stanislav Galiev (see here), and Patrik Nemeth (see here) before him, Canadiens defenseman Jarred Tinordi is off to the AHL for a conditioning stint.

Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season; however, because he’s no longer exempt from waivers, the former first-round pick has remained on Montreal’s roster.

It’s an issue that’s received a good deal of attention lately. Some believe the league should do something about it, lest more young players get “stuck” in the NHL.

Tinordi will only be allowed to spend two weeks in St. John’s, as per the rules of his conditioning loan.

Safe to say, if you’re an NHL general manager who thinks Tinordi still has potential, Marc Bergevin would welcome your best offer.

Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth

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Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.

With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi‘s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.

Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.

The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth after the 23-year-old completed his 14-day conditioning assignment.

Related: Campbell credits ECHL stint for turning his game around