1) When we say 'less loyal' we don't mean less loyal to their particular team but to their purposed favourite sport, ice hockey. Why do we say this? From reading various other hockey blogs/published article, as well as the playoff TV ratings it occurred to us that a majority of fans curtail significantly, or even stop paying attention to the NHL playoffs once their teams' season is completed. Either in the playoffs or after game 82.
2) No where is this more apparent/surprising than in The Hockey Capital of the World' (Canada). Certainly here we would expect that folks would watch every possible playoff game regardless of whom was playing, right? Apparently not. Ratings compared to last year (when Ottawa was in the Finals) are down in the Great White North. In fact overall more hockey fans in the US watched the last Pitt-Wings game than in Canada. Now we can understand that the US has 10X more population than Canada, but if the NHL can't garner better ratings in The Hockey Homeland,(Canada) how can it expect to get much higher ratings in the US where there are large areas that never see ice/snow year round?
3) Non scientific evidence from reading some of the more popular Canadian based hockey blogs seems to indicate that hockey fans up there are not much different than their US counterparts. Once their team is eliminated they essentially lose interest in hockey outside of discussing 'next season' with regards to their team. They may have some passive interest in the playoffs, but nothing like other sports. Compare this pattern to what is seen with regards to MLB, The NBA and especially the NFL. Here in the U.S. most baseball and basketball fans will tune into their sports playoffs/pay attention. The NFL ofcourse is the biggest example of fan loyalty. They attract probably all its fan base for their playoffs regardless of one's teams participation, and their 'Super bowl' gets non fans in droves.
4) We could understand this 'apathy' for NHL playoff hockey here in the states where hockey interest is so regionalized, but find it curious that this situation is so pervasive up in Canada as well where one would think folks are hockey fans first, and partisans of their team second. The NHL, who probably take their Canadian fans for granted, better sit up and take notice!