Saturday Viewers' Guide: NHL and NBA
The San Antonio Spurs get to rest again today while the other six teams still vying for a "Winter" championship are in action Saturday night. The Blackhawks, who started with the season's longest unbeaten streak host the Kings. The Bruins host the Penguins, who threatened the longest winning streak in NHL history. The Heat, who threatened the longest winning streak in NBA history, visit the Pacers.
Stations, streaks, media markets and start times are as follows:
NBCSN, 5 p.m.: The two biggest markets in action are relegated to NBCSN for a 5 p.m. ET showdown between the Kings and Blackhawks in Chicago. Los Angeles will be trying to beat a team that looked simply unbeatable when the NHL finally took the ice this season, gaining at least a point in their first 24 games to set a record. With no New York team still alive in hockey or basketball, the NHL does at least have the next two biggest markets with Los Angeles (2nd biggest market) and Chicago (3rd).
NBC, 8 p.m.: Old-timers will point out that teams did not used to be guaranteed a point when a game went into overtime. For them, the Pittsburgh Penguins streak of 15 straight wins this season - two short of the record - will be even more impressive. The streak ended after Sidney Crosby's injury. The Boston Bruins play in the seventh biggest market, compared to Pittsburgh, which is 23rd.
TNT, 8 p.m.: The Miami Heat likewise threatened the all-time win streak when they took 27 games in a row, and they go into Indianapolis trying to clinch the series. While the NBA averages several times as many viewers as the NHL, the media markets this year are much weaker in Miami (16th), Indianapolis (25th) and San Antonio (37th), which awaits the winner.
Both leagues are lucky to have a player still in action who can be discussed as one of the best few to ever play their respective sports-- the Penguins' Crosby and Heat's LeBron James.
The NHL games Saturday are both the first game in their respective series, while the Heat leads three games to two with a chance to clinch and face the Spurs in the NBA Finals.