It seems as if every week we're writing a new post covering NBC breaking records due to their NHL coverage. This week is no different. NBC and NBC Sports Network both set new records with their coverage of hockey on Sunday, further proving that despite the lockout people are tuning in to the sport in larger numbers.
Starting with the NHL on NBC, the network saw a 1.6 rating for their broadcast of the Chicago Blackhawks - Detroit Red Wings game, the highest rating for a regular season game excluding Winter Classics. The network has attempted to turn hockey into a marquee event on Sundays, and their efforts mixed with Chicago's insane point streak had people watching in record numbers.
Locally, Chicago posted a 9.7 rating, an impressive figure that only trails the 2009 Winter Classic.
Flipping over to NBC Sports Network, the channel's coverage of the Montreal Canadiens - Boston Bruins game had 813,000 viewers, making it the fifth-most watched regular season game in the network's history. It also was the most-watched regular-season game featuring a team from Canada in almost 13 years.
The NHL may be as hot as it's been in the last few years in spite of a lockout that threatened to cripple the sport. Ratings are up around the league and that combined with the Blackhawks streak becoming a national story has put the NHL on a pedestal it hasn't seen in quite some time, at least during the regular season.
If Sunday doesn't pick up more Hockey fans, I don't know what will. That Blackhawks game was the best game I've seen all year, and really spotlighted how awesome of a Game Hockey is. Yeah the NHL suffered through a lockout and it sucked, but Sunday showed why Hockey is a beautiful game, and why I'm glad it's never on ESPN. Hell, ESPN is doing Hockey a favor by not spotlighting it, since other than the website and a few on air personalities, they don't know how.