The first night of the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs featured plenty of action – and a surprising amount of scoring – and it appears that audiences took notice. Generally speaking, ratings were up based on a wide variety of criteria, including a new high mark or two.
For one thing, the first night of action on NBCSN and CNBC was up 53 percent from last year. CNBC saw its best opening night of action, besting its previous high by a whopping 153 percent.
Here’s the full slate of ratings information from NBC:
Opening night of the 2014 NHL Playoffs averaged 472,000 viewers across the three games on NBCSN/CNBC (+53% from opening night in 2013), 305,000 P18-49 (+53%).
NBCSN’s two games averaged 486,000 viewers (+22% from the comparable coverage in 2013; 397,000), 289,000 P18-49 (+14%) and 260,000 P25-54 (+21%).
In its third year of NHL coverage, CNBC posted its best audience for a playoff opening night with 450,000 average viewers (+34% from the previous high in 2012), 329,000 P18-49 (+103%).
The combined NHL audience across NBCSN and CNBC from 7:30P-10:30P ranked #1 in cable for the time period among Men 18-49 (524,000).
Last night’s Columbus-Pittsburgh first-round game on NBCSN averaged 584,000 viewers, up 39% from NBCSN’s early game on opening night of the playoffs last year (Minnesota-Chicago)
Last night’s Dallas-Anaheim first-round game on NBCSN averaged 390,000 viewers, up 12% from NBCSN’s late game on opening night of the playoffs last year (Detroit-Anaheim)
Last night’s Montreal-Tampa Bay first-round game on CNBC averaged 450,000 viewers, making it the most-watched game for a Stanley Cup Playoffs opening night on CNBC, up 153% from CNBC’s early game on opening night of the playoffs last year (Los Angeles-St. Louis)
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.