From Michael "Hockey-Hater" Hiestand at USA Today:
Eventually, the NHL might want to try replacing playoff games with Sidney Crosby skating around by himself.
Saturday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Penguins star will be on NBC — which will have a "Crosby-cam" on him full time. The move has the Canadian Broadcasting Company seeing red. It pays the NHL $65 million a year in TV rights fees and wanted Pittsburgh-Ottawa on its prime-time Hockey Night in Canada. Instead, it got Tampa Bay-New Jersey so NBC, which pays no rights fee, would get hockey's big star.
The rationale: Canadians already like hockey, while the league needs any help it can get with its microscopic U.S. TV ratings, which are slightly less tiny when Crosby appears. NBC averages 1.1% of U.S. households for games with Crosby and 0.8% without him. Versus attracted 0.19% of U.S. cable TV households with Crosby on, compared to its 0.13% overall NHL average.
NBC producer Sam Flood says the pregame show will cover "the Crosby mania" in Canada. Canadians who can't get NBC will at least get Crosby snippets online: NBC will take Crosby-cam shots from the game's third period and let its studio analysts analyze that footage on nbcsports.com.