Stars align: Original 6 playoff match-ups should be ratings bonanza for NBC

Forgive me if I get nostalgic, but two playoff series featuring four Original 6 teams has me diving into the way-back machine.

Chicago vs. Detroit: Is that Jonathan Toews facing off against Henrik Zetterberg, or Stan Mikita staring down Alex Delvecchio?

Boston vs. New York Rangers: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist may be the man of the hour now, but they still haven’t forgotten Eddie Giacomin in the Garden.

Nothing like a Giacomin mention in a post to perk up your day. If you’re of a certain generation like me, you feel the same way.

The stars have aligned to give hockey fans a rare treat and set up NBC for a potential ratings bonanza. Not only are there two revivals of age-old rivalries, but they also feature huge major markets that are crazy about hockey.

With NBC and NBC Sports Network having exclusive coverage of the playoffs the rest of the way, they figure to register impressive local ratings in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Boston. And don’t forget Pittsburgh. In terms of ratings points, the Penguins generate the highest local rating in the league.

In my town, the Blackhawks did a 10 rating on Comcast Sports Net Chicago for their Game 5 clinching victory against Minnesota. That number will go up even more for a series against hated Detroit, and all those games will be exclusively on NBC and NBC Sports Network.

If the Chicago-Detroit and Boston-Rangers series go deep, there will be plenty of smiles at NBC and at the NHL administrative offices.

It is fitting that the stars aligned to give Chicago fans one last chance to chant “Detroit sucks” before the Red Wings head to the East next year. It’s been a great rivalry.

I will be watching today’s players, but I’ll also be recalling yesterday’s stars. I mean, does it get any better than Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull?

In terms of announcers, NBC is assigning its No. 1 team of Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire to at least the first four games of the Chicago-Detroit series. Here’s the rundown through May 23.

Wed., May 15  
8 p.m. Detroit (7) @ Chicago (1) NBCSN Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
Thurs., May 16
7:30 p.m. New York (6) @ Boston (4) NBCSN Dave Strader, Pierre McGuire
10 p.m. San Jose (6) @ Los Angeles (5) NBCSN John Forslund, Joe Micheletti
Fri., May 17  
7:30 p.m. Ottawa (7) @ Pittsburgh (1) NBCSN Rick Peckham, Brian Engblom
Sat., May 18  
1 p.m. Detroit (7) @ Chicago (1) NBC Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
9 p.m. Los Angeles (5) @ San Jose (6) NBCSN John Forslund, Joe Micheletti
Sun., May 19  
3 p.m. New York (6) @ Boston (4) NBC Dave Strader, Pierre McGuire
7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh (1) @ Ottawa (7) NBCSN Rick Peckham, Brian Engblom
Mon., May 20  
7:30 p.m. Chicago (1) @ Detroit (7) NBCSN Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
Tues., May 21  
7:30 p.m. Boston (4) @ New York (6) NBCSN Dave Strader, Pierre McGuire
10 p.m. Los Angeles (5) @ San Jose (6) NBCSN John Forslund, Joe Micheletti
Wed., May 22  
7:30 p.m. Pittsburgh (1) @ Ottawa (7) NBCSN Kenny Albert, Brian Engblom
Thurs., May 23
7 p.m. Boston (4) @ New York (6) CNBC Dave Strader, Brian Engblom
8 p.m. Chicago (1) @ Detroit (7) NBCSN Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
10 p.m. San Jose (6) @ Los Angeles (5) NBCSN John Forslund, Joe Michelett

Leave a Reply

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