MONTREAL - There are going to be millions of Canadians rooting for the Montreal Canadiens and the Vancouver Canucks Tuesday night.
A few of them work at the CBC.
The national broadcaster has been drawing strong audiences in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs: an average of 2.6 million viewers a game for the Montreal-Boston Bruins series and 2.27 million for Vancouver and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Canucks' rating is up about 200,000 viewers on the CBC from last spring's first round (the Habs were on TSN in the first round last spring).
With the Canucks in a Game 7 and the Habs facing elimination in Game 6 of their series, the CBC should be in for killer ratings.
"It's a great confluence of two big matchups that have captured the nation's interest," Trevor Pilling, the executive producer for Hockey Night in Canada told QMI Agency. "It's hard to calculate (what the ratings might be) because so many things impact ratings, but in the end, I don't see much else of interest to Canadians (Tuesday night) than the outcome of those games."
The down side for the CBC is so much is at stake. There could be a second round without a Canadian team.
"First and foremost, we're fans of great hockey and great games," said Pilling. "Like most Canadians, we'd like to see either or both Canadian teams advance from a patriotic point of view and, yes, from a ratings point of view. Like everybody else, we're just passengers. We'll be biting our nails and yelling at the TV."