NHL probably busting over Finals pairing
With the Red Wings finally defeating the Dallas Stars (I blame the absence of Stu Barnes), we are finally down to the last series of the 2008 playoffs.
The Stanley Cup Finals begin Saturday night, and I’m sure the NHL couldn’t be happier.
They get two of their self-promoted “premier” franchises, Detroit and Pittsburgh. They get to promote the hell out of their savior, Sidney Crosby, and they’ll definitely have large crowds of passionate fans to show to a national audience.
As if the national audience hasn’t seen the teams enough.
Of the ten national broadcasts during the regular season on NBC, the Penguins were on four times, the Red Wings three. Naturally, the other three weeks did include the New York Rangers. Adding in the playoffs, those nine broadcasts featured the Penguins three times and the Red Wings four. So, that means, if a casual fan tuned in to the NHL on NBC at all this season, just once, there was a 74% chance the team they saw is in the Finals, higher than any other possible combination.
The NHL should consider themselves lucky they got the best possible matchup for marketing purposes, aside from if the New York Rangers got there, just so the biggest market was involved. Now they can run the Crosby Gatorade ad every single break.
It really should be a hell of a series. The teams didn’t meet in the regular season, so who knows how they match up. Pittsburgh’s been playing lights out since the playoffs started, so Detroit isn’t going to have an easy road to another Cup.
Game 1 is Saturday at 8:00, and will be viewable on Versus and CBC.