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Blackhawks a reliable draw on local TV

Sports Business Journal released its much-anticipated annual review of NHL teams' local TV ratings Thursday.

What's that? You don't circle this day on your calendar?

While I have little idea what to make of Nielsen ratings, I always keep my eye on these kinds of stories.

With an ever-growing fan base spoiled by two Stanley Cups in four years, the Blackhawks remain a reliable draw on TV. They were fourth in average rating at 4.33, a 40 percent increase from the last full season in 2011-12. That's the third-biggest increase in the NHL.

Chicago, located in the third-biggest TV market, is first in average number of households tuned in to watch John McDonough and Rocky Wirtz, I mean Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, with 153,000 per game.

So, how do these numbers, obtained through public Nielsen data, compare to other teams?

The Pittsburgh Penguins have far and away the best local average rating at 7.57, averaging an amazing 89,000 households in the nation's 23rd TV market, according to Nielsen.

Hockey hotbeds Buffalo (5.56) and Boston (5.04) are also ahead of the Blackhawks.

Phoenix (+85 percent to 0.74) and the New York Islanders (+71 percent to 0.36) had bigger percentage increases, though absolutely miniscule ratings. Boston had the second-highest average number of households at 123,000. The New York Rangers were third at 96,000.

These numbers, along with a 267-game sellout streak, make the Blackhawks a monster in terms of drawing advertising and making money, and a team that everyone at NBC and the NHL is surely rooting for in the playoffs.