Purists can decry the inhumanity to man that the Penguins and the Flyers exhibited for each other in a fight-filled Game 3 of their playoff series, but the numbers don't lie. Violence sells.
The NHL has announced that Game 3 drew a 2.3 overnight rating, which is paltry compared to some other sports but which was the biggest rating for a conference quarterfinal game in 11 years. It also was the biggest rating for a non-Stanley Cup Final game in a decade.
This is always a line that the NHL has to walk. And there are parts of it that clearly don't belong -- specifically, the hits delivered by Arron Asham and James Neal of the Penguins. Both of them are headed to the dean of discipline's office on Tuesday -- Asham for his work against Brayden Schenn and Neal for hits against Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux, presumeably -- and some kind of penalty will likely be announced.
But as for the rest of it -- the scrums and the fights -- you can hate it all you want. And some have argued that it keeps fans away from the sport. At the same time, it is hard to dismiss the highest rating for a non-Final game in a decade.