When it comes to getting the coverage you want, 2012 might just represent the greatest time ever to be a hockey fan. NBC and its network of channels is primed to put together unprecedented coverage of the 2012 playoffs, so if Sunday’s duo of games serves as a dress rehearsal, it’s going to be an amazing run through June.
First up, here’s a look at the ratings for the captivating Sunday afternoon game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins, which aired from 12:30-3:30 pm ET (modified from information via NBC’s press release):
- The match drew a 1.2 overnight rating, which represents a 20 percent increase compared to last week’s Rangers-Flyers game. That 1.2 rating is the best regular season mark – aside from Hockey Day in America’s coverage and Winter Classic games – in more than two years. (A Penguins-Capitals game that aired on Feb. 7, 2010 drew a 1.3 rating.)
- It also tied coverage from an ABC regional game on April 7, 2001 as the best overnight for an April regular-season NHL game since April 1, 2000 (which drew a 1.4).
- It generated a 4.7 rating in Philadelphia, which aside from the Winter Classic was the best in the market for a regular season contest in 10 years. Pittsburgh tuned in too, with a whopping 12.7 rating.
April Fool’s Day turned out to be a great one in general, too, as a Boston Bruins-New York Rangers carried some great momentum on NBC Sports Network. Here are some rating stats from that contest, which aired from 7-9:30 pm ET:
- The game drew 664,000 viewers, the most since opening night. It was the sixth most-watched game in NBC Sports Network/Versus’ history.
- It generated a 4.97 rating in Boston, up 86 percent from the Bruins’ average takeaway on NBC Sports Network (which is 2.67).
- That game made NBC Sports Network the No. 1 rated cable network in Boston during the game and the third-ranked network overall.
- It also drew a 1.44 rating in New York, an 82 percent increase from average Rangers game, which is normally .79.
Sunday was a great day to be a hockey fan, but with the playoffs approaching on April 11, it’s only going to get better. (The rest of this week shouldn’t be too shabby either with teams jostling for final position, by the way.)
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.
Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.
As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.
Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.
Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.
Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:
Things could get ugly in Game 3:
One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:
Also, lateness of the check:
The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.
Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.
Read reactions to the check here.