|NHL returns, but TV viewers may come back slower|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 15 January 2013 12:51|
By RACHEL COHEN
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL is hoping its television viewership will bounce back from another lockout.
Ratings rebounded - eventually - after the last work stoppage, which wiped out an entire season. Healthy numbers from recent years in many cases matched or exceeded pre-lockout levels in an era of ever-increasing entertainment options.
When this year's lockout-shortened slate opens Saturday, NBC will show the Los Angeles Kings raising their championship banner, then regional coverage of Blackhawks-Kings or Penguins-Flyers. The network plans to show the most hockey since it started televising the league after the last lockout, with 14 regular-season windows for games.
Executive producer Sam Flood says: ``The hockey fan is a passionate group, and we're cautiously optimistic they'll come back.''