(UPDATE: Puck The Media has the final Game 2 numbers, and they're up from 2009: "The NHL On NBC scored a 3.3/6 final rating, 5.9 million viewers and a 2.5 rating among adults 18-49.")
The ratings for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals seemed, much like Willie Nelson most of the time, delightfully high.
It was a Saturday night on Memorial Day weekend, but it was also an 11-goal game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers that appeared to give NBC its best Game 1 ratings in 11 years.
The good news, as the final numbers come out on Game 1: The ratings were still strong. The slightly frustrating news: Not as strong as first reported via the preliminary numbers.
Game 1 of the Flyers/Blackhawks series drew a 2.3 final rating and 4.4 million viewers on NBC Saturday night, down 4% in ratings and virtually flat in viewership compared to Penguins/Red Wings Game 1 last year (2.4, 4.4 mil), and up 92% and 83%, respectively, from Penguins/Red Wings Game 1 on Versus two years ago (1.2, 2.4 mil).
Sunday's game tied Hurricanes/Red Wings Game 1 on ESPN in '02 as the second-highest rated Stanley Cup Final opener since '99.
Paulsen from SMW reports that Game 1 was No. 1 for viewers 18-49 for the night.
Again, the NHL should be thrilled with a repeat of last year's numbers for Game 1, and we're sure the final tallies for Game 2 will remain strong. But will these ratings finally put to bed the stupid notion of an "Olympic bump" for the NHL?
The Associated Press played hockey fluffer with an article titled "Olympic hockey, playoffs making the NHL cool again," which would indicated hockey hasn't been cool in, say, the last three years even though it was.
It's a nice celebration of the NHL's accomplishments on television, at the gate and in sponsorships; but there's not logical correlation between the NHL's success and the success of hockey at the Winter Games. The nationally televised regular season games that were shown in the weeks after the Olympics didn't have significantly higher ratings, but the playoffs are up because of the Olympics? Makes zero sense.