Even if it doesn't count, Canadians will watch hockey
I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country needs psychiatric help for its addiction to hockey.
The most-watched sports event of the weekend and one of the most-watched TV shows of the week was not a CFL game, nor an NFL game nor anything that really mattered. It was a pre-season game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs, which featured more guys from Grand Rapids and the Marlies than it did NHL players.
But still, CBC drew more than 1 million viewers. Equally crazy was that fact that 253,000 tuned in for a Canucks-Flames exhibition on TSN2. That's a channel many Canadians don't get and many haven't even heard of.
Come on, people. It's pre-season. It doesn't mean anything. Get a grip.
You can bet, with this new ratings system producing bigger numbers than ever, the'll have champagne on ice at CBC headquarters when the season starts for real on Thursday. Okay, considering the economic climate it will more likely be beer, but they're expecting regular audiences of more than 2 million once the real season starts.
After all, it's hockey.
Here are the top weekend English-language sports ratings, according to BBM overnight figures:
1. NHL, Red Wings at Leafs, Saturday, CBC: 1,031,000
2. CFL, Roughriders at Eskimos, Saturday, TSN: 966,000
3. CFL, Lions at Stampeders, Friday, TSN: 735,000
4. NFL, Bears at Seahawks/Saints at Bills, Sunday, Sportsnet/City: 720,000
5. CFL: Argonauts at Blue Bombers, Saturday, TSN: 714,000
6. NFL: early games, Sunday, CTV: 696,000
7. NFL: Colts at Cardinals, Sunday, TSN: 567,000*
8. CFL: Alouettes at Ticats, Friday, TSN: 476,000
9. MLB: Mariners at Blue Jays, Friday, Sportsnet: 398,000
10,.Auto racing, NASCAR Dover 400, Sunday, TSN: 370,000**
11. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 277,000
12. NHL: Canucks at Flames, Saturday, TSN2: 253,000
13. MLB: Mariners at Blue Jays, Saturday, Sportsnet: 268,000
14. Equestrian: Championship show jumping, Saturday, CBC: 172,000
* Viewers on NBC not calculated
** Viewers on ABC not calculated
SHANNON A STAR?: That's what Rogers Sportsnet is hoping. It has added John Shannon to its Hockeycentral panel. The former Hockey Night In Canada boss, NHL broadcast executive and father of Leafs TV knows his hockey, that's for sure and in his FAN 590 appearances hasn't shied away from expressing strong opinions. But I wonder who'll be the first to give him directions on camera.