Gretzky: Blackhawks-Heat debate great for NHL; Hawks deliver more record ratings for NBC

What comes first: the Cubs’ first win of the season or the Blackhawks not scoring a point in a game?

With the way they are feeling in Chicago, the betting might be on the Hawks. Not that they ever bet on the Cubs here.

It’s March 8, and the Hawks still have a 0 in the loss column. Even with the NHL’s somewhat confusing tie rule, that’s pretty impressive.

The debate over the wow factor of the current streaks by the Blackhawks and Miami Heat has caused some angst in hockey circles. Some people feel the NHL isn’t getting the proper respect, especially on ESPN.

Stephen A. Smith put down the Hawks in comparison to what the Heat have done. Of course, Stephen A. likely doesn’t know the different between Sidney Crosby and Bing Crosby.

It really doesn’t matter what people are saying. All that matters is that the Blackhawks and Heat are being mentioned in the some breath.

That word comes from the Great One. Wayne Gretzky offered some valuable perspective while appearing as a guest on the Waddle & Silvy Show on WMVP-AM 1000 in Chicago.

“It’s nice to sit down and listen to talk shows and listen to TV shows,” Gretzky said. “People are saying, ‘OK, who is the better team right now and who has the hottest streak? The Heat or the Chicago Blackhawks?’ That only enhances our sport and makes it bigger and better.”

Gretzky envisioned having the debate with Michael Jordan. While Gretzky assumed Jordan would say the Heat’s streak is better, Jordan has been a frequent visitor to Hawks games over the past few seasons.

“If we were sitting here, Michael Jordan would say what the Heat are doing is better than the Blackhawks,” Gretzky said. “And if I was sitting with him, I would tell him what the Blackhawks are doing is better than the Heat.

“We’re all biased to our own sport, and we all loved what we played, and we think the thing we did is the greatest sport in the world. But that’s what sports is all about. People stand around and talk about it. ‘Who’s the best team? Who’s the best player? Who’s the most exciting athletes to watch?’ There’s no true answers, except who becomes the champion of each and every sport. That’s when questions get truly answered.”

The Great One is wise and knows all. The debate is bringing some new fans to the sport. The ratings tell the story.

The Blackhawks continue to set more records for NBC and NBC Sports Network, not to mention Comcast SportsNet in Chicago and WGN-Ch. 9 in Chicago.

Here’s the latest from NBC.

The Chicago Blackhawks (21-0-3) have started the season with a historic season-opening 24-game point streak, the best ever in the NHL, resulting in record ratings across NBC, NBC Sports Network and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, an NBC Sports Regional Network.

NBC Sports Network’s Wednesday Night Rivalry telecast featuring the Blackhawks against the Colorado Avalanche, and Sunday afternoon’s Blackhawks-Detroit Red Wings broadcast on NBC, resulted in record-setting regular-season viewership.

In addition, the Blackhawks have spurred record ratings in the Chicago market for NHL regular-season games on NBC, NBC Sports Network and Comcast SportsNet Chicago.


NBC’s coverage of the Blackhawks dramatic 2-1 shootout victory against the Red Wings on Sunday, drew 1.9 million viewers, the best-ever for a single regular-season game on NBC (excluding Winter Classics) and up 58% vs. last year’s same-weekend coverage (1.2 million viewers, Boston-NYR).

As previously reported, the Chicago market delivered a 9.7 rating, the market’s best-ever for a NHL regular-season game on NBC, with the exception of the 2009 Winter Classic, which was played at Wrigley Field and received an 11.8 local rating in the market.


NBC Sports Network’s coverage of the Blackhawks compelling 3-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche last night drew 720,000 average viewers, (up 57% vs. the 2012 exclusive time period average), and ranked as the ninth most-watched regular-season game in the network’s history. Additionally, six of the Top 10 most-watched regular-season games in NBC Sports Network history have aired this season.

In Chicago, the telecast received a 7.0 local rating, the market’s highest ever for an NHL regular- season game on NBC Sports Network. Additionally, NBC Sports Network was the No. 1 rated cable network in Chicago during the Blackhawks-Avalanche telecast.


The Top 10, and 18 of the Top 19, highest-rated regular-season Blackhawks games in Comcast SportsNet Chicago history have taken place this season. Tuesday night’s Blackhawks game against the Minnesota Wild received 7.9 local HH rating and is the network’s highest-rated Blackhawks game ever.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *