Mar 30, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) and Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Beau Bennett (19) fight for the puck during the second period at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Last season as a part of the NHL Stadium Series, the Chicago Blackhawks squared off against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Up until recently the Penguins had been the golden child of the NHL. The NHL has featured the Pittsburgh Penguins in three outdoor games since 2008. They played in the 2008 Winter Classic vs. the Buffalo Sabres, the 2011 Winter Classic vs. Washington Capitals, and the 2014 Stadium Series vs. the Blackhawks. The NHL seems to love the Penguins as they are featured in many primetimes game a season.
My question is: Is the NHL turning the Blackhawks into the Penguins?
The answer is YES! The Blackhawks are becoming the face of the NHL like the Penguins of old. Last season the Blackhawks played on NBCSN 16 times during the regular season. The Blackhawks will be playing in their third outdoor game this coming season and their second winter classic since 2008. The Blackhawks will be squaring off against the Washington Capitals in that DC area for the 2015 Winter Classic.
Why is the NHL using the Blackhawks so much?
The NHL using the Blackhawks in primetime games because of its JUGGERNAUT fan base. The Blackhawks fan base was voted as the most loyal fan base in the NHL by Forbes magazine. The Blackhawks draw fans in primetime games. The Blackhawks are responsible for two of the highest games in NBCSN history. The Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins set the record for the highest rating on NBCSN for Game 3 of the 2012-13 Stanley Cup Final. The Blackhawks and LA Kings then broke that Game 3 record in Game 7 of the 2013-14 Western Conference Finals. In Game 7 the Blackhawks vs. Kings Game drew a 3.17 rating. In Chicago Game 7 drew a INSANE 22.7 rating. The Kings in LA drew a 4.8. The proof is in the numbers, the Blackhawks draw viewers.
That is why the Blackhawks are turning into the Penguins. The NHL used to get big rating from Sidney Crosby and his team. Now the Blackhawks with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have surpassed the Penguins as the flagship franchise of the NHL.
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