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Volume 25 No. 134
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Opening Weekend Stanley Cup Playoffs Ratings Increase On NBC

NBC saw ratings increases for its three Stanley Cup Playoffs windows this weekend, led by the Penguins' 5-1 rout of the Flyers yesterday afternoon. Pens-Flyers Game 3 earned a 1.6 overnight rating, up 33% from a 1.2 rating for Game 3 of the Blues-Wild series last year, which fell on Easter Sunday. On Saturday, NBC drew a 1.3 overnight for Maple Leafs-Bruins Game 2 (up from a 1.2 last year) and a 1.3 for its regional playoff window from 3:00-6:15pm ET, up from a 1.2 overnight in the same window in '17 (Josh Carpenter, Assistant Editor).

CAN'T GET ENOUGH: Nashville-based WTVF-CBS Program & Research Dir Mark Binda said that Game 2 of Predators-Avalanche on Saturday "earned a whopping 10.3 rating." In Nashville, Mike Organ writes that "means 106,162 [local] households watched the Predators take a 2-0 lead in the series." The rating for the first game of the series was a 7.5, and Saturday's was the "highest since the Predators set a franchise record with a 27.4 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last season" against the Penguins (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 4/16).

WHAT ABOUT BOB? The NATIONAL POST's Michael Traikos noted for the "first time in almost five decades," longtime "HNIC" play-by-play announcer Bob Cole "won’t be calling any playoff games." It is a "decision that caught Cole by surprise," and one that he "still doesn’t quite understand." Cole: "The decision sure wasn’t mutual. It was right out of the blue. Rogers decided to go with other (broadcast) teams and I have to live with that. But it was their decision -- not mine.” Though Rogers did not indicate why Cole "isn’t part of the plan this year, the decision isn’t that surprising." Cole’s workload has been "cut back more and more over the years." Now he "isn’t sure whether he will be back in the booth next season" (NATIONAL POST, 4/14).

CALLING CARD: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Jason Gay writes under the header, "Doc Emrick: Hockey's Beloved Soundtrack." The longtime NBC hockey broadcaster is to the "point where his voice is synonymous with his frenetic, fast-moving sport." Emrick’s "erudite preparation and relentlessness ... could make any action sound interesting" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 4/16).