By Lisa Ovens
You see, for diehard hockey fans recently bounced out of the playoffs because their team lost their first round series, wondering out loud about the size of TV Markets is a popular activity. I guess it helps mask the pain they are feeling after some of the epic oustings we witnessed during this year's Quarter Finals. So, they turn to the rankings of TV markets in order to decide which teams actually “deserve to still be playing” and in some cases; bolster their NHL Conspiracy theories arguments. However, many fans don’t actually look up the TV Market rankings.
When the Phoenix Coyotes eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Florida Panthers appeared to be in the driver's seats of their first round series with the New Jersey Devils, many a fan jumped to a "Stanley Cup Final conclusion" featuring those two teams, and it wasn't pretty: plenty of these speculators felt the Coyotes and the Panthers don't deserve to be in the Finals. If they did check out the TV market rankings, they'd see the Coyotes are in the 12th largest market, and the Panthers reside in the 16th largest. That's not too bad! Yes, I did the research, and this is how the TV Markets are matching up in Round Two…
Let’s see, in the East we have Number One Seeded TV Market, the New York Rangers vs. Number Nine TV Market, the Washington Capitals. In the other Eastern Conference Series, Number Four TV Market, Philadelphia Flyers up against New Jersey Devils, who appear to have one foot in Number One (Ranger’s market) and the other foot in Number Four (Philadelphia’s market) Yep, Stanley Cup parking lot parades, no unique TV Market to call their own…nothing comes easy for those Devils.
Out West, the high flying Los Angeles Kings, tops in Left Coast TV numbers (the Number two US TV Market) vs. Number 21, the St. Louis Blues. Phoenix is looking steady at Number 12 , vs. the smallest Round Two TV Market (29th), the Nashville Predators.
The best part about the four Western Conference teams: none of them have won a Stanley Cup, therefore one of these virgin teams is guaranteed at shot at winning it all this year! Both the Kings and the Blues have played in the Stanley Cup Finals: the Blues lost three years in row (1968, 69 and 70) and the Kings were finalists in 1993, losing to the Montreal Canadiens (that was last time a Canadian based team won the Stanley Cup). The Predators and the Coyotes have yet to make it to the Finals, and considering they are playing each other right now, one of them isn't going to make it any further than Round Two :o(
Out East, the Capitals are the last remaining Cup-less team in this year's Playoffs, only tallying one appearance in the Finals (1998, and they were swept by the Detroit Red Wings). Who knows how this is going to play out, but if the Capitals make it all the way to Round Four, then one of the final two teams will bring The Stanley Cup home for the very first time. Trust me...this is one story line that will keep many of the fans in Canada watching. What else are we gonna do?
Happy viewing :o)