Some good ratings news, via the NHL’s daily email:
* The Devils-Rangers game drew a 1.6 overnight rating on NBC, a record on the network for a regular-season NHL game (excluding regionals and Winter Classics).
* The game also drew a 5.1 rating in New York, the highest-ever rating in the New York market for a regular-season NHL game on NBC and tied for the best New York game ever (with Game 1 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final).
* NBC was the No. 1 network in the New York market within the 1:30 – 4:30 p.m. ET time period.
* Saturday’s game between the Kings and Ducks drew a 2.38 rating in Los Angeles, the highest rating ever in the L.A. market for a regular-season NHL game on NBCSN.
* From 10:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. PT, NBCSN was the No. 1 cable network in market and the No. 2 network overall.
Pretty solid proof that the novelty for these games hasn’t quite worn off yet. Which is reassuring for both the league and its broadcasting partners, because there are three outdoor games left this season, starting Wednesday at Yankee Stadium between the Rangers and Islanders. On March 1, the Blackhawks host the Penguins at Soldier Field. The next day, it’s the Canucks and Senators at Vancouver’s BC Place.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.