NBC DESPERATE FOR NHL RATINGS

Jun 5, 2007 7:56 AM

The Stanley Cup playoffs are huge in Canada, but TV ratings are microscopic. NBC is contracted to televise the Finals, but waited until Game 3 this past Saturday in Ottawa to pick it up. Across the board in Las Vegas books, execs say wagering is modest — and that’s being polite.

Game 3 was terrific, a 5-3 Ottawa victory in which Anaheim three times led by a goal. The Senators scored the last three to narrow the gap to 2-1 in the best 4-of-7 series. But nobody knows who the players are. NBC has been parading personalities like Pittsburgh’s stud Sidney Crosby and hockey legend Don Cherry to stir the pot. It works in Canada, but it’s a lost cause here against Labron.