With the Celtics essentially earning themselves a bye week with their first round sweep of the New York Knicks, the Bruins have been the hot topic of discussion this week with their electrifying seven-game first-round series win over the Montreal Canadiens.
After dropping the first two games of the series at home, many fans and media were calling for coach Claude Julien's head on a platter. As the Bruins proceeded to win the next three games, including an overtime and a double-overtime game, the team captured the attention of the region.
The Bruins are everywhere; people are talking about them in offices around the region; they're a hit topic on both sports radio stations in town, even though some (many?) are ill-informed to talk about the team or the strategy of the game. The games are pulling in record ratings for NESN; People either love or hate Jack Edwards and his crazed calls and expressions during and after games; Dan Shaughnessy is writing front page stories in the Boston Globe about the team.
It's called Bruins.
With their game seven win on Wednesday night, the Bruins moved into the second round of the playoff, ensuring at least another 10 days or so of hockey madness here. With the chance to extract some revenge on the Flyers team that came back from an 0-3 series deficit last year, you can expect this series to grab similar numbers and attention from the fans and media.
One downside to the second round is that there won't be as much Jack Edwards to love, or hate. In fact, NESN is only guaranteed one game in the series: Game 4, on next Friday, May 6. The first game will be broadcast nationally on NBC Saturday, and Game 2 and 3 will be exclusively broadcast by Versus on Monday and Wednesday, respectively.
If the series goes to a sixth and seventh game, both of those will be shown regionally here on NESN, along with a national broadcast to the rest of the country.
The full schedule:
Game 1: Saturday, April 30, at Philadelphia, 3 p.m. ET (NBC)
Game 2: Monday, May 2, at Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. (Versus)
Game 3: Wednesday, May 4, at Boston, 7 p.m. (Versus)
Game 4: Friday, May 6, at Boston, 8 p.m. (NESN)
Game 5*: Sunday, May 8, at Philadelphia, 3 p.m. (NBC)
Game 6*: Tuesday, May 10, at Boston, TBD (NESN)
Game 7*: Thursday, May 12, at Philadelphia, TBD (NESN)
Not to be outdone, the Celtics begin their second round matchup this Sunday afternoon, in a series that will also test the limits of the media hype machine. They will face The Chosen Ones, or rather The Ones That Chose Themselves, also known at the Miami Heat.
The bad news for Celtics fans in this round, and going forward in the playoffs, is no more Mike and Tommy. All games (see schedule below) will be on the national networks, whether it is ABC, TNT or ESPN.
CSNNE will, however, continue to provide expansive pre- and postgame coverage during this series, starting each pregame show one hour prior to tip off. CSNNE enjoyed a combined 235 percent increase in the ratings for their shows during the first round of the playoffs, and interest seems only likely to increase going forward.
Celtics Postgame Live established a new all-time high with a 4.1 (180,000 New England homes) for Celtics-Knicks Game 1. Celtics Pre-Game Live also established a new all-time high with a 2.3 rating (101,000 New England homes) for Celtics-Knicks Game 1.
Game 1 Sunday, May 1 at Miami, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 2 Tuesday, May 3 at Miami TBD (TNT)
Game 3 Saturday, May 7 at Boston 8:00 p.m. (ABC)
Game 4 Monday, May 9 at Boston TBD (TNT)
Game 5* Wednesday, May 11 at Miami TBD (TNT)
Game 6* Friday, May 13 at Boston TBD (ESPN)
Game 7* Monday, May 16 at Miami 8:00 p.m. (TNT)
While the Celtics will not have a Jack Edwards type on their televisions broadcasts, they will still have radio voice Sean Grande, who is prone to scripted soliloquies of his own, to carry on that same spirit. But I'll miss the rage of Tommy Heinsohn on the telecasts as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade get all the favorable calls.
May has the potential to be a very good month for Boston sports fans. It all starts this weekend.