Absence makes the heart grow fonder and ratings go higher. The much delayed start of the NHL season over protracted negotiations between players and the league scored for NBC. Yesterday’s two-game regional coverage on the network (Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Philadelphia Flyers) posted a 2.0 overnight rating from 3:30-6:15 PM ET. That was the highest overnight rating for regular-season coverage on any network in more than a decade and the highest overnight for regular-season coverage on NBC since its recent coverage of the league began in 2006, up 67% vs. last year’s 2011-12 regular-season average.