A disappointing series on the ice was also disappointing in the ratings and the two are obviously related. Alan Pergament reports on the final three games of the Sabres season:
The Versus coverage is dominating CBC’s coverage in the ratings even though Amherst resident Harry Neale is a CBC analyst and Versus carries the game on a three- to five-second delay. The Sabres’ victory Wednesday had a 20.8 rating on Versus and a 4.5 on CBC for a combined 25.3. The Sabres’ loss Monday had a 17.4 rating on Versus and a 4.5 on CBC for a combined 21.9.
The Sabres final playoff game had a combined rating of 28.4 on NBC (26.8) and CBC (1.8). One Sabres game on NBC had a 30 rating, but generally, the national playoff games averaged in the low to mid-20s here.
Combined final totals for the ECF (US National broadcast in parentheses, all games on CBC additionally):
Game 1 (VS): 23.8
Game 2 (VS): 27.6
Game 3 (VS): 21.9
Game 4 (VS): 25.3
Game 5 (NBC): 28.4
Obviously, those are great numbers relatively speaking, but there wasn't an increase from the round 2 figures. In fact, the two highest rated Sabres games this season were Games 3 and 6 of the NY Ranger series.