Game 7 Ratings, Koken's Prediction, Etc.
Forgive the morning absence. Figured the next couple weeks could be busy. Pacing matters. Now, some thoughts.
* Game 7, as might be obvious, earned the highest rating of any game in this series in the D.C. DMA, despite being on Comcast SportsNet instead of NBC. It was also the highest-rated Caps game of the '08-'09 season, though there were higher-rated games in last year's playoff series.
The rating last night was 4.0, good for about 94,000 households in this market. During the peak 15 minutes from 9:15-9:30, the rating surged to a 6.1, or 143,000 households. When 143,000 households are on Comcast SportsNet, the old "15,000 hockey fans in D.C." argument doesn't look so good.
(The average rating for the five games shown on CSN this series was 2.94 (69,000 households), a bit less than for the '08 Flyers series, though Penguins games are always among the network's best-rated, and you can expect this second-rounder to smash records.)
* Props are due to Smokin Al Koken. Working at rink level for the CSN broadcast, he dropped this thought with about 10 minutes left in the third: "Guys, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see 39-year old Sergei Fedorov have something to say about this one before we're done." That's called knowing your stuff. (Watch the video below.)
* Props also are due to D.C. United PR man, Web guru and all around Bog friend Kyle Sheldon, who threw this Tweet up in the third: "I feel good about the #caps winning this one. I'm going with a goal from Federov." Bad spelling; great prediction.
* A pet peeve: All those "only 12.074845 percent of teams have come back from a 2-0 deficit" and "only 8.29457847 percent of teams have rallied from 3-1" were willfully ignoring the specifics of this situation. That the Caps were the higher-seeded, more talented team. That the Caps had home-ice, unlike many teams that trail 3-1. That perhaps their worst loss of the series came with a since-benched goalie between the pipes.
I have a good friend who's an ex-sports writer, a hockey savant and a die-hard Rangers fan. He told me repeatedly last week that Rangers fans were just happy to have dragged this thing out, that they all knew the Caps were far better, and that, even after Game 4, he figured the Caps had about a 40 percent chance of winning the series. The 8 percent thing was meaningless, with these teams and this circumstance.
* Not that you care, but our Web numbers are going to go gonzo with this Penguins-Caps thing. Biggest crossover NHL series in 15 years, according to Puck Daddy. Awakening a host of playoff memories in D.C. Stirring up all sorts of more general feelings of dislike between Washington the the 'Burgh. Enough with Gary Bettman talk; I'm half-convinced Don Graham ordered the Devils to lose yesterday.
* Some research for a potential A1 story that never materialized, due to obvious reasons. No Washington baseball team has won a playoff series since 1924.
1933, if I'm adding right The Wizards have lost four straight playoff series, and 11 of their previous 12. The Redskins have two playoff wins since Bill Clinton's first inaugural. And the Caps had lost five straight playoff series since advance to the Cup Finals in '98. This was long, long, long overdue.
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