It's tough to envision the NHL postseason playing out any better than this for the league head office.
From a revenue standpoint, perhaps there's an argument they would prefer a Detroit or Montreal instead of Tampa. But from every other angle, this spring has been a huge win.
The NHL conference finals both go to Game 7 this weekend – Friday in New York and Saturday in Anaheim – in two games that will close out what's been the league's best third round in recent memory. This is only the third time in league history the two penultimate series have gone the distance, after 1964 (Leafs-Habs and Wings-Blackhawks) and 2000 (Flyers-Devils and Stars-Avalanche).
That one of those involved the Maple Leafs eventually winning the Stanley Cup highlights how rare this is.
There also remains the possibility of an absolute revenue and ratings bonanza if the final ends up being between the Rangers and the Blackhawks, with the two most valuable and highest-revenue-generating U.S. teams squaring off in a series for the first time in 42 years.
It's a matchup that has the suits in Manhattan salivating at all the potential hockey-related revenue.
Even if they don't get that, the NHL has made out incredibly well in this postseason simply because the quality of play has been so high.
The Ducks-Blackhawks series has been must-see viewing from the beginning, pitting two of the league's top teams against each other in a physical, fantastic battle that will move to NBC nationally in the United States for Game 7. Rangers-Lightning hasn't been far behind, as it's featured remarkable scoring outbursts from each team. Even those involved are glued to their televisions on the off-nights – and not solely for scouting purposes.
"Watch every game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I'm watching it to get entertained."
"This series is the most exciting series I've ever been a part of," Ducks defenceman François Beauchemin added. "As far as games changing, being up, being down, coming back … it's been a great series."
The entertainment level has obviously been high, but what's also been a blessing for the NHL is there has been so little controversy in these conference finals.
No suspensions. No head shots. Not even any fights or gruesome injuries for weeks. In fact, the only two players of note absent from either series were injured by a puck to the head (New York's Mats Zuccarello) and a broken ankle while falling (Chicago's Michal Rozsival).
That doesn't mean there has been a lack of physicality this postseason. Far from it. But the games have simply been clean, perhaps a sign that the league's years-long crackdown on player-on-player violence is finally paying some dividends.
That both of these series are going to seven games isn't a coincidence, either. One of the benefits of the NHL's incredibly high parity level is there are simply more Game 7s than ever, with the rate especially high the past five seasons.
Between 1939 and 2010, less than a quarter of series were decided in the full seven games, with five- and six-game outcomes the most common.
Since then, including these two conference finals, 28 of the 74 series – nearly 40 per cent – have been Game 7s.
Few in the game are complaining about the extra mileage.
"Game 7, as a player, those are the type of games you want to be a part of," Quenneville explained. "The disappointment that we exited with [in last year's conference finals loss in Game 7 to the eventual champs] is something that should get us excited."
"It's very similar to just playing overtime, to be honest with you," added Blackhawks vet Patrick Sharp, who will play in his fourth Game 7 in the past five years on Saturday. "Right from the drop of the puck in the first period, every shift is important."
"It doesn't get any better than a Game 7," Rangers coach Alain Vigneault said.
If it does, it's only when there are two on back-to-back nights.