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Greg Wyshynski

Should Game 4's TV ratings determine the true Hockeytown?

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Seems like everyone wants to be Hockeytown, USA.

Remember those claims that Detroit doesn't deserve the honor because of a myriad of attendance issues? They bubbled up to the surface again when Pittsburgh columnist Gene Collier recently offered his take on the appropriateness of the name for what used to be "Murder City." Before that, there was the movement to shift the title from Detroit to somewhere in Minnesota. And then Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wanted his counterpart from Motown to put up the moniker in a Stanley Cup finals wager.

Everyone has his or her own criteria for whether one city or another "deserves" the Hockeytown title. Robert Seidman of TV By the Numbers offers up some of his own today, based on the stellar 18.2 rating Game 3 garnered in Detroit on Wednesday and the blockbuster 33.1 rating the game snagged in Pittsburgh:

What this means is that a third of all homes in Pittsburgh (even including people who weren't home or didn't have their TVs on) were watching the quest for the Stanley Cup and almost half of the televisions that were turned on (47%) were watching the NHL. That was only the case with 28% of the TVs in use in Detroit.

All bets are off for Saturday night's contest when for the first time the Red Wings and Pistons will not be playing at the same time. Both Pittsburgh and Detroit are great hockey cities but if Pittsburgh winds up with the higher local market ratings, it will have a fair claim to the Hockeytown USA title. At least from a Nielsen ratings perspective.

Who do you think will have the better local ratings on Saturday?

Our immediate reaction would normally be "who cares?" but this is an interesting scenario. The Pittsburgh Penguins' local viewership has been outstanding; Detroit fans have had their attention divided. With the Pistons out of the way, and with the game on NBC, it'll be interesting to see what kind of number Detroit Red Wings fans can pop.

Still, are television ratings ever going to be a fair measurement for who gets to call themselves Hockeytown? And why can't Detroit just be Hockeytown, and some other city be HockeyLand or Hockeyville? These poor fans have had to watch Lions football for over 70 years; why can't we let'em have this silly name to hang on to?

Remember kids: Live blog here on Saturday night. Much fun to be had.

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