Blackhawks

Everybody's watching the Blackhawks-Lightning Stanley Cup Final

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Everybody's watching the Blackhawks-Lightning Stanley Cup Final

The Tampa Bay Lightning-Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup final has averaged 4.965 million viewers on NBC and NBCSN through the first four games making it the second-most watched final through four games in 18 years.

Only the 2013 Stanley Cup Final between the the Blackhawks and Bruins had more viewers through the first four games. (5.341 million).

Last night’s Game 4 produced the most-watched Stanley Cup Final quarter-hour ever on NBCSN (5.489 million, 10:30-10:45 p.m. ET).

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

Through four games, this year’s Final has produced a 2.91 HH rating.

Locally, Chicago’s average rating of 24.1 through four games is up 18 percent compared to its four-game average rating for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final (20.5). In Tampa, Game 4 set the record for highest rating in the market for a Lightning game on NBCSN (13.9).

Chicago’s Game 4, 2-1 win, produced a 2.23 HH rating and averaged 3.914 million viewers replacing Game 3 of the series as the third-most watched Stanley Cup Final game ever on NBCSN. Viewership of last night’s game was up 16 percent compared to last year’s Rangers-Kings Game 4 on NBCSN (3.383 million).

Between 8-11 p.m. ET NBCSN ranked as the top network on television among the 18-49 demographic.

Game 5 of the series goes Saturday night in Tampa with puck drop set for 8 p.m. ET on NBC.

This post originally appeared on ProHockeyTalk.

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.