NHL TV ratings 2013: Local audiences came back, too

The NHL didn't just score nationally, as a ton of regional networks saw big increases and record audiences in some cases.

Look, you all know the narrative at this point. Hockey is back. The NHL is back. The fans are back. The TV ratings are back. So I'm going to spare you all that, and just post -- in a notes column format -- some local TV numbers from around the league. I'll provide context when necessary, but I'll try not to overdo it.

*The Penguins continued their ratings momentum following the massive 19.4 NBC scored for their debut against the Flyers. ROOT Sports Pittsburgh scored a 12.6 rating for Sunday night's game against the Rangers. That Penguins win over the Rangers was on at the same time as the AFC Championship Game. To think there was talk of moving the team not many years ago.

*The St. Louis Blues is one of the few teams that actually grew from its first local telecast of the season to the second. According to a team press release, St. Louis' 6-0 rout of Detroit on Saturday night drew an eerie 6.0 rating in the Gateway to the West. That victory must have sparked a lot of buzz in the market, because their Monday evening road tilt with the Nashville Predators drew an FS Midwest regular-season record 7.4 rating.

*Minnesota is most certainly a hockey market, but it's been a stubborn NHL market. The Wild's stingy style and lack of star-power never made them a massive local draw. A Ryan Suter and a Zach Parise will change that, for sure. FS North drew a regular-season record 7.6 local rating on Saturday for the Wild's victory over Colorado. That counts for more than 132,000 Minnesotans.

*The Blue Jackets are a small-market team but, when the team is competitive, its ratings are not bad by any stretch. The team's opening night win over the Columbus Blue Jackets hit a 2.6 in the Columbus market for FS Ohio, up 130 percent from last year's season opener.

*The Florida Panthers saw a 300 percent increase over their opening night from last season. That is generally positive, but holy man, how few people watched last year's opener?

*According to a network press release, NESN broke its regular-season record with a 9.4 rating for the Bruins' victory over the Rangers on Saturday night. The previous record? An 8.9 for that bananas game against the Canucks last season. Seventeen percent of all televisions in Boston were tuned in to the Bruins game.

*The Washington Capitals had its highest-rated opening night ever. The Capitals' loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning hit a 2.3 rating in the District, with more than 54,000 homes tuned in. It was up 77 percent from last season's opener.

*Finally, Canada. The Leafs drew a crazy 1.1 million viewers on Sportsnet Ontario for their loss to Buffalo Monday night, an all-time regional record for Sportsnet. Calgary drew 296,000 viewers for its loss to San Jose, up 120 percent from the team's first broadcast last season. Edmonton (386,000, up 24 percent from first broadcast in 2011-12) and Vancouver (623,000, up 32 percent from first broadcast in 2011-12) combined for more 1 million viewers for their game on Sunday across two different Sportsnet stations. Meanwhile, the Senators' first Sportsnet broadcast on Monday drew 308,000 viewers, up 50 percent from their first broadcast of last season.

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