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Eichel return propels Sabres to season-high TV rating

This is what I’m thinking:

Jack is Back and so are the viewers for Buffalo Sabres games.

The return of Buffalo Sabres star Jack Eichel, who had a goal and an assist in a 5-4 victory over the Ottawa Senators Tuesday night, led to a season-high 9.8 rating on MSG.

That is well above the 5.5 rating the Sabres have averaged to this point in the season.

To put the rating in further perspective, the rating for the Sabres game beat the popular NBC entertainment program “This is Us” (8.4) on Channel 2 and the annual favorite “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (8.1) on Channel 4.

NBCSN’s plans to highlight the game between Toronto rookie Auston Matthews and Edmonton star Connor McDavid took a hit Tuesday when the game before it between Boston and Philadelphia went to an extended shootout. The shootout, won by Philadelphia, didn’t end until there was 3 minutes and 37 seconds left in the second period of the following game won by the Maple Leafs, 4-2.

Needless to say, the delay in joining the Matthews-McDavid game in progress didn’t help ratings. The game between the superstars averaged a 0.4 rating from 10:45 p.m. to midnight in Buffalo, hitting a peak of 0.6 in arguably the best TV market for hockey in America.

I wish people would quit picking on Thanksgiving football.

On Monday, radio sports talk host Colin Cowherd, now heard on 1270 The Fan, joined the chorus of people saying that the NFL has become overexposed on television by adding Thursday Night Football and Sunday morning games from foreign countries.

But let's not include the three Thanksgiving games as a problem. After all, two games have been played in the afternoon on the holiday for decades. And it is hard to see anything wrong with adding a prime time game after the turkey and the apple and pumpkin pies were eaten.

It sure beats shopping on Thanksgiving night.

The football ratings in Buffalo prove the popularity of three Thanksgiving games.

Detroit’s 16-13 win over Minnesota in the early afternoon game had a 17.7 local rating on WIVB-TV, the local CBS affiliate.

Dallas’ 31-26 victory over Washington in the late afternoon game carried on WUTV, the local Fox affiliate, had a 15.4 local rating.

And Pittsburgh’s 28-7 victory over Indianapolis in the night game carried on WGRZ-TV, the NBC affiliate, had a 16.5 rating.

In other words, the interest in all three games was pretty close.

To put those ratings in further perspective, the top-rated prime time entertainment program in Western New York this season, “The Big Bang Theory,” averages a 17.4 rating and that’s for only 30 minutes.

On the other hand, the league should consider dropping Thursday Night Football games for multiples reasons, including player safety.

Western New York loves to hate New England quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots’ 22-17 victory over the New York Jets Sunday had a higher rating than all of the Thanksgiving games. It had a 21.6 rating on Channel 4 after the Bills victory served as its lead-in.


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