With Round Two of the NHL playoffs facing off tonight, CBC seems desperate to get back into the game, ratings wise.
It was announced in a release today that CBC and TSN are flipping playoff games. CBC will now carry tomorrow night’s Round Two opener between the Detroit Red Wings and the Anaheim Ducks and TSN will get Game Six, if it goes that far, between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals.
CBC will also throw in Don Cherry and three of his suits. Kidding. CBC gets what it wants, a solid, 7 p.m. start (the Wings/Ducks kick off at the Joe Louis in Detroit). The public broadcaster was burned with several late starts from the west coast during round one, with ratings slipping down around the hald-million mark.
But it is stil bizarre that CBC will carry all but one of the Crosby/Ovechkin contests with TSN getting all but one of the Wings and Ducks games. MediaProfile publicist James Lamont explained that, had TSN been stuck with the Wings opener, they would have had a conflict with a Bruins/Hurricanes game, forcing them to bump the Wings to TSN2 (not carried by everybody, including cable giant Rogers). CBC, meanwhile, had a potential conflict with Game Six Pittsburgh/Caps, which could run into the sixth game of the Vancouver/Chicago series. “Both networks wanted the widest distribution possible,” says Lamont.
So far, distribution has not been a problem for TSN, which cashed in big time with Tuesday’s exciting Caps/Rangers Game Seven finale, scoring 1,351,000 viewers for the 9:30 start. Another thriller, Carolina’s 4-3 ouster of the Devils, pulled 886,000 Tuesday at 7.
CBC meanwhile, was off ice Tuesday as the series they were covering wrapped up early. The tried to make do with a Montreal Canadians 100th anniversary special, but, like the Habs 0-4 playoff run, that tanked, drawing a Sophie-like 193,000 (all numbers BBM Canada overnight estimates.
Vancouver starts their Round Two series against the Chicago Black Hawks tonight at 7 p.m. on CBC.

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