2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six

2013 Stanley Cup Final delivers record ratings for NBC


The numbers are in, and the grand conclusion of this year’s Stanley Cup Final was another boon for the National Hockey League, NBC and the NBC Sports Network.

According to the NBC Sports Group, Game 6 of the 2013 final between the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks was watched by 8.16 million viewers, making it “the most-watched game of the final.” The number of viewers for Game 6 peaked at 10.424 million.

But it gets better for NBC.

This year’s final averaged 5.76 million viewers across NBC and and NBC Sports Network, making it “the most-watched Stanley Cup Final on record.” (Data goes back to 1994)

It’s not hard to figure out why. The final between the two Original Six teams provided constant thrills, exceptional hockey and came down to the wire in all six games.

Three games were decided in overtime, including that spectacular triple overtime game to begin the series.

The drama hit its peak when the Blackhawks scored twice in a span of 17 seconds late in the third period to reverse a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, before hanging on for the final 59 seconds of regulation time to defeat the Bruins 3-2 and claim the Stanley Cup.

That makes it the second Stanley Cup for the Blackhawks in the last four years.

So, where does Monday’s game rank compared to the other “most-watched” playoff games for NBC?

The 4.7 household rating from Monday put it third on the top-five list of “most-watched” NHL games on NBC, dating back to 2006.

Below is the info graphic from NBC Sports Group. (Viewers in millions)

Rank Program Episode Date Rtg Viewers
1 Game 7 Boston at Vancouver 6/15/2011 4.8 8,537
2 Game 6 Chicago at Philadelphia 6/9/2010 4.7 8,279
3 Game 6 Boston at Chicago 6/24/2013 4.7 8,160
4 Game 7 Pittsburgh at Detroit 6/12/2009 4.3 7,992
5 Game 6 Detroit at Pittsburgh 6/4/2008 4.0 6,781

The 2013 playoffs – not just the final – also included three of the five most-watched NHL games in NBC Sports Network history. (Viewers in millions)

Year Game Teams Viewers
2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 3 Chicago @ Boston 4.001 million
2013 Stanley Cup Final, Game 2 Boston @ Chicago 3.964
2010 Stanley Cup Final, Game 3 Philadelphia @ Chicago 3.600
2009 Stanley Cup Final, Game 4 Detroit @ Pittsburgh 3.448
2013 Conference Semi-Finals, Game 7 Detroit @ Chicago 3.354

“For the entire playoffs, NBC, NBCSN and CNBC combined to average 1.467 million viewers for 84 games, making it the most-watched Stanley Cup Playoffs on record (since 1994),” stated the NBC Sports Group.




Replacing Beauchemin with Bieksa hasn’t worked out so great for Anaheim

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Are the Anaheim Ducks missing Francois Beauchemin more than they thought they might?

It’s a question we’ve been hearing more and more lately, as the Ducks’ goal-scoring woes of October have been replaced by defensive issues in November.

Anaheim is 3-4-2 in its last nine games. The Ducks have allowed 27 goals in regulation during that stretch — that’s three per game on average — plus two more in a pair of overtime losses.

In a related story, per the O.C. Register, here’s what coach Bruce Boudreau said the other day about offseason acquisition Kevin Bieksa:

“He’s a veteran guy that has to fight his way out of this. We count on him to not make mistakes. We will go as far as guys like him take us.”

Bieksa, 34, is minus-7 in his last four games combined. True, he’s forced to play a lot of hard minutes against good players. But then, that’s exactly what he was brought in to do. The Ducks even gave him a two-year, $8 million extension, locking him up through 2017-18.

Now consider what Boudreau said during last year’s playoff run, about the guy Bieksa was brought in to replace:

“He’s the voice. Everybody else is so young. [He] is the voice back there.”

And Beauchemin was more than just a talker. He led the Ducks in ice time. He had nine assists in 16 playoff games. Bottom line: he was a big part of a team that fell one win shy of making the Stanley Cup Final.

Beauchemin, of course, signed a three-year deal with Colorado on July 1, for a cap hit of $4.5 million. So far, he’s been as advertised for the Avs. The 35-year-old has two goals and 10 assists. He gets the most ice time on the team, an average of 23:33.

Looking back, Anaheim GM Bob Murray never did want to lose Beauchemin. The Ducks just weren’t prepared to offer what the Avs did.

“Beauch’ has been a pretty good warrior for us,” Murray said in June. “He has a one-time chance for free agency and maybe somebody will give him $5 million.… I couldn’t do that.”

One has to wonder now if Murray wishes he’d found a way.

The Ducks host the Blackhawks tonight on NBCSN.

Devils sign veteran Kennedy to one-year, $600K deal

Tyler Kennedy, Lee Stempniak
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A second forward has converted a PTO with New Jersey into a shiny new contract.

Tyler Kennedy, who’s on his second professional tryout with the club, has agreed to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 at the NHL level, the Devils announced on Friday.

Kennedy, 29, first caught on with the Devils in the preseason, only to be released in early October. He then rejoined the club on a second PTO in mid-November, and earned himself a deal from GM Ray Shero (previously, the two were together in the Pittsburgh organization).

A former 20-goal scorer with the Pens, Kennedy fell on hard times last year. It began in San Jose — where he never fit in Todd McLellan’s plans — and ended on Long Island, where he sat for over half of the Isles’ opening-round playoff loss to the Caps.

As for where he’ll fit in the Devils lineup?

Kennedy said he’s ready to play tonight — the Devils take on Montreal — and it’s possible Stefan Matteau could be scratched, allowing Kennedy to stpe into a bottom-six forward role.

As for how the Devils will free a roster spot — Jiri Tlusty remains on IR with a shoulder issue, while David Schlemko could be away from the club for a bit, as his wife is due to give birth.

Rangers park Boyle, Stalberg in press box for Thanksgiving Showdown

Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Seven
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I’m not going to make the “it really is Black Friday for Dan Boyle and Viktor Stalberg” joke, but had to recognize it as a semi-viable lede.

So that’s out of the way.

Now, onto the business at hand — per the New York Daily News, Boyle and Stalberg will be scratched today when the Rangers take on the Bruins in the annual Thanksgiving Showdown (1 p.m. ET, NBC). Dylan McIlrath will draw in on defense for Boyle, while Emerson Etem will take Stalberg’s spot up front.

It’s not really surprising Alain Vigneault made some lineup changes.

The Blueshirts’ last outing was arguably their worst of the season — a 5-1 home loss to the Canadiens, a game in which Boyle finished minus-2 and Stalberg played the least among all Rangers skaters, with just 11:20 TOI.

More: Dan Boyle isn’t thrilled with all these healthy scratches

What’s more, McIlrath hasn’t played in nearly two weeks (Nov. 15, versus Toronto). It’s been even longer for Etem — he’s been out of the lineup since a win over the Blues on Nov. 12.

Related: Just a friendly reminder about Friday’s Bruins-Rangers Thanksgiving Showdown, on NBC

Goal-starved Flyers recall AHL Phantoms leading scorer Cousins

Nazem Kadri

Desperate for offense, Philly made a fairly noteworthy move on Friday — Nick Cousins has been brought up from the minors.

Cousins, 22, has been a solid scorer at the AHL level in each of the last two seasons. He led Lehigh Valley with 56 points in 64 games in ’14-15 and, this year, has 18 through 15 — putting him in a tie for seventh in league scoring.

The former OHL Sault Ste. Marie standout does have some NHL experience, having played 11 games for the Flyers last season. He averaged just under nine minutes per game over that span, and failed to register a point.

Looking ahead, Cousins could make his season debut today, when Philly hosts the Preds. Right now it’s unclear where he’d fit in the lineup.

To make room for Cousins on the roster, the Flyers sent Taylor Leier down to the Phantoms.