Two television notes to close out the hockey weekend. First, some great news for the NHL on U.S. television: Thursday night's Toronto Maple Leafs' win over the Detroit Red Wings was the most-watched regular-season game on Versus in households (360,944) and total viewers (572,897), according to Kevin Allen of USA Today. The combined viewership for that game and the back-half of the doubleheader (Boston Bruins at Colorado Avalanche) was up 17 percent from last season.
Just magine how high those numbers would have been if Versus could have pre-publicized that the lead singer of Def Leppard would blaspheme the Stanley Cup that evening. Steve Lepore has more analysis of these impressive numbers for the buck huntin'/mixed martial arts/rodeo channel.
But this weekend also marked an important moment for hockey on TV: The end of the CBC's "Canada's Hockey Anthem Challenge," which sought to find new "theme" music to be featured on "Hockey Night in Canada." The winner was Colin Oberst, whose name remains way too close to Conor Oberst for our comfort, with a bagpipe-filled ditty named "Canadian Gold" taking top honors:
Not bad. Sort of catchy, actually. But we all know that one gunshot or crying baby in "Hockey Scores" is worth 200 "Canadian Golds."
Canucks and Beyond has the full video of Don Cherry's announcement of the winner. Robert Fraser Burke, 13, was the runner-up. Oberst gets $100,000 and half of the ongoing performance royalties; Burke received a custom made Patrick Roy Epiphone Les Paul Special II electric guitar. Which is perfect for rocking out to the latest J.O.E. Daking track.