A few months before this blog launched I got into lengthy discussions with Washington Capitals owner and former AOL executive Ted Leonsis about Nielsen ratings for the Stanley Cup games. He took the time to educate me on how someone who actually owns a hockey team views all that. I'm crossing my fingers that the Caps make it into the Stanley Cup this year and that we can revisit the discussion plus measure whether there is any "Ovechkin Effect".
Ted has to be the most accessible owner in all of sports between his blog and Facebook, and e-mail and instant messaging. But he's been very magnanimous in educating me about stuff I am not really all that smart about from time to time and not just the Nielsen ratings. While I haven't quite figured out how to take all he's taught me and put it to good use, I'm hopeful I will get around to that. I appreciate him being generous enough to educate me from time to time.
Recently my brother Steve asked me if my man-love for Ted was so great that I actually watched hockey because of it. I confessed that I did which prompted my brother to roll his eyes at me. Ted's been good to me, but more than Ted, the Caps are a fun team and I am particularly impressed with Alexander Ovechkin.
NBC smartly chose the Philadelphia Flyers vs. Washington Capitals as the national game today, starting at 2pm EDT. I say smartly because a.) the Caps kind of have the "team of destiny" thing going - with like 3 weeks left in the season they weren't in the playoffs but then they ended like 9-1 and went from not in the playoffs to winning their division outright and b.) Alexander Ovechkin, who is like the Tiger Woods of hockey.
Woods may be the most compelling figure in all of sports to me. I know some people say golf isn't a sport, but Woods - he's a fierce competitor. Two days in a row Woods put his tee shot in the pine straw on 18 and still made par both times. His demeanor seems like "pine straw? Pssh..I LIVE for this shot! I wouldn't have it any other way!"
I don't know squat about hockey really beyond "get the puck in the other team's net, and don't let the other team put the puck in ours", but Ovechkin embodies the fierce competitive spirit and love of the game in the same way that Woods does. Game tied on the home ice with time running down? GIVE ME THE PUCK! He took the puck and scored an unassisted goal with less than 5 minutes left to break a tie and give the Caps a 1-0 advantage in their playoff series on Friday. Ovechkin may not be the household name Lebron James is, but according to the Nielsen ratings, Lebron doesn't draw a Nielsen crowd like Michael Jordan did.
I will be watching the Caps game in high definition. Ratings-wise I'm not sure how the game will do because after the first hour, Ovechkin, the Caps and NBC will be competing with Tiger Woods, The Masters and CBS (which I may or may not get to see in HD). I like Ovechkin over Tiger in a face-off, if it's on the ice. If it's on TV, I like Tiger. Of course if Nielsen measured the 100 million people in Russia who'll likely watch the hockey match, I'd take Alex O... Either way, Go Caps!
(image via capitals.nhl.com)