Can you imagine Titans or Ravens fans not watching the Super Bowl because the hated Pittsburgh Steelers were in it? Only the hardcore NBA fan follows the regular season yet the ratings for the playoffs continue to be better than the regular season. Then why is it the NHL suffers from the reverse phenomena? If the team you cheer for doesn't make the playoffs or advance that teams fans lose interest. This trend must stop at least for this year. After three years of the ratings on the upswing in the Stanley Cup final. This year's matchup the ratings outlook is shaky at best. http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/05/28/boston-win-saves-nhl-stanley-cup-finals-tv-ratings-calamity-whats-your-guess-for-the-viewership-poll/94152/ The prospect for strong ratings was even worse for a Tampa(12th TV market) versus Vancouver(Not included in US TV rating) final.
With a new TV deal reported to be two billion dollars for the next ten years the NHL must develop the its own brand of fans. This fan must be a fan of the NHL hockey and not just his favorite team. This is a huge weakness of the NHL in comparison to other leagues. The NFL has convinced many Titans, Ravens, Cowboys and Bears fans to watch the Super Bowl even though their hated rival was in it. The NFL has succeed in getting each member team's fans to follow the league and not just their team. With Boston(#7 US TV Market) and a strong original six following the ratings fall from last year has been cushioned but the need for NHL Stanley Cup Finals fans will remain.
I'm imploring you the Nashville Predators fan and other teams fans to step up and support this years final. Us the fans must be NHL hockey fans too. Its June time to follow the league and the Stanley Cup finals.