What is this "hockey'' you speak of

Westwing What do Martin Sheen and hockey have in common? Yeah, I know Sheen's son (Emilio Different Last Name) played Gordon Bombay in the those Mighty Ducks movies. That's not what I'm getting at. Sheen and the NHL hold the distinction of having the worst primetime rating in NBC history.

Saturday night's Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final (shown locally on Catch 47 via Channel 38 via Channel 8) drew a 1.9 rating with a 3 share. I could break down exactly what those numbers mean, but essentially what it means is a couple of house cats and a guy named Jacques were watching. And that's about it. It equalled a re-run of The West Wing on July 23, 2005 as NBC's worst primetime broadcast ever.

Now there are a couple of ways to look at this. First, Saturday night is traditionally an awful night for television. And, second, network numbers have been dwindling over the past decade with the cable TV explosion.

Still, the worst-rated broadcast in network history?

Hockey is going to have to figure out something to get the numbers back up. More fighting. Bigger nets. State-sanctioned executions during the intermissions. Something.

Long-time NHL player Jeremy Roenick had a cool idea. He thinks the NHL should strike a deal with HBO or Showtime and put microphones on the players so you can hear exactly what is said on the ice. That would be the R-rated version and sure to be a hit. A G-rated version of the game could still be shown on Versus. And, speaking of Versus, the network is trying. Their broadcasts are good. But, for the love of Barry Melrose, the NHL needs to get back on ESPN. Then, by golly, the NHL will show Jed Barlet who's in charge here. (Photo: Associated Press.)

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 3:40pm]

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