The 2014 NHL playoffs, which features a new playoff structure that puts an emphasis on early divisional matchups, has been very popular so far.
The first two days of the postseason featured seven games and the contests averaged 448,000 viewers on NBCSN/CNBC. That’s up 43% from 2013 when an average of 313,000 viewers per game (six contests total) tuned in to see the first two days of playoff action.
Not surprisingly, the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in triple-overtime was a big draw as 697,000 average viewers watched the game. It ranks second on the all-time list of NBCSN first round Game 1s, behind the opener of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in 2012 (that game drew 844,000 viewers).
The contests have also been popular on NBC Sports Live Extra. Among authentication-required NHL games, the Blues-Blackhawks contest attracted a record 161,000 live starts.
WATCH LIVE: Detroit Red Wings at Boston Bruins (Game 1)
WATCH LIVE: Montreal Canadiens at Tampa Bay Lightning (Game 2)
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.