Hockey Night without the Leafs just ain't the same for CBC
While stories hit the news from time to time telling us that interest in the Toronto Maple Leafs is dropping faster than, well, the Leafs' playoff chances, the fact is the Blue-and-White still drive ratings no matter how bad they are.
Further proof came Saturday night in one of those rare instances when the Leafs are not the main attraction on Hockey Night In Canada. In fact, this Saturday they weren't even playing. Instead, the nation got the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators -- an all-Canadian matchup featuring one team with deep roots across the country.
It was a pretty good game, too.
The result? The lowest Game 1 rating on CBC this season. It drew 300,000 fewer viewers than the previously ratings dog and drew only 130,000 more than a Detroit-Toronto pre-season game.
It was almost beaten out by the Pittsburgh-Vancouver late game and finished behind three NFL playoff games. Actually, it was four because the 1,040,000 who watched Sunday's Jets-Chargers game included only those who tuned in to TSN. The game was on CBS, too.
For those who long for something other than the Leafs on Saturday night, keep longing. Despite the fact the Leafs are horrible, they still bring in the eyeballs.
Speaking of eyeballs, one team not bringing them in is the Toronto Raptors, who bring up the bottom of the weekend list -- behind bobsleigh in one case.
Here are the top English-Canadian sports ratings over the weekend, according to BBM Canada calculations.
1. NFL, Cowboys at Vikings, Sunday, CTV: 1,640,000
2. NFL, Cardinals at Saints, Saturday, CTV: 1,500,000
3. NFL, Ravens at Colts, Saturday, CTV: 1,200,000
4. NHL, Senators at Canadiens, Saturday, CBC: 1,169,000
5. NHL, Penguins at Canucks, Saturday, CBC: 1,085,000
6. NFL, Jets at Chargers, Sunday, TSN: 1,040,000*
7. NHL, Leafs at Capitals, Friday, TSN: 702,000
8. Figure skating, Canadian championships, men's free, Sunday, CBC: 676,000
9. Figure skating, Canadian championships, original dance/women's free, Saturday, CBC: 514,000
10. NHL, Hockey Night In Canada pre-game, Saturday, CBC: 396,000
10. Curling, Casino Rama final, Sunday, TSN: 396,000
12. Curling, Casino Rama semifinal 2, TSN, 388,000
13. NFL, Saturday pre-game show, CTV: 380,000
14. Figure skating, Canadian championships, dance free, Sunday, CBC: 375,000
15. Figure skating, Canadian championships, pairs free, Saturday, CBC: 338,000
16. NBA, Raptors at Knicks, Friday, TSN2: 215,000
17. Bobsleigh, World Cup, Saturday, CBC: 208,000
18. NBA, Mavericks at Raptors, Sunday, CBC: 205,000
* Viewers on CBS not calculated
OTHER STUFF: Not surprisingly, the folks in Vancouver are a tad upset over Ron MacLean's hatchet job on Canuck forward Alexandre Burrows. MacLean could easily use the insanity defence, though. His ``reading" of Burrows' lips as he lay on the ice in that one clip would convince anyone that MacLean had lost his grip on reality. ... Those keen on taking another look at Canada's top junior hockey players can catch the Top Prospects Game on Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Rogers Sportsnet. ... CBS announcer Jim Nantz had one of those d'oh moments during Sunday's Jets-Chargers playoff game. Doing a promo for 60 Minutes, he talked about a feature on athletes raising money to send to ``Haitia." Maybe watching another Norv Turner team collapse fogged his brain. `