NHL TV ratings 2013: Saturday's regional coverage draws best NHL numbers since 1999

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Some ratings notes for NBC and the NBC Sports Network from opening week.

NBC sent out a press release today trumpeting great ratings news for various aspects of their NHL coverage. Let's go through them, shall we?

* NBC's coverage of Penguins-Flyers and Blackhawks-Kings on Saturday -- with drew the highest overnight rating since 2000 - drew the highest viewership for a non-Winter Classic regular season NHL telecast since 1999. 2.77 million viewers tuned in, the most for NHL coverage since Apr. 18, 1999, when Fox broadcast the final game of some fellow named Gretzky. Coverage peaked just after 6 p.m. ET, with 3.8 million viewers checking out the last minutes of the Penguins victory.

* NBC Sports Network began it's NHL coverage on a less than thrilling note. 260,000 people watched Blackhawks-Coyotes in the network's premiere broadcast of the season. Now, to be fair, plenty of context: the game aired at 10 p.m. ET on a Sunday, after the world had been football'd out by the conference championship games. Oh, and the game didn't air on NBCSN in Chicago, who had it regionally on CSN. NBCSN, no CSN, got it? Anyway, NBC Sports Network had their best audience ever for a regular season game in Phoenix, drawing a 1.44 rating in the market.

* Speaking of records, Monday's Red Wings-Blue Jackets game -- which was blacked out in Detroit -- drew a 2.5 in Columbus. That's a regular season record for the network, and down just barely from the 2.6 the market drew on FS Ohio for the Blue Jackets' season opener against Nashville.

* Finally, the Devils-Flyers game on Tuesday drew an 0.77 rating in the New York market. It may not seem like great shakes, but it is a record for a Devils telecast (against a team that wasn't the Rangers or Islanders) in the New York market.

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