The game was played in Pittsburgh last night, but Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs officially marched into Ottawa yesterday afternoon at the head of an army of Senators supporters.
A convoy of cars decked out in Ottawa Senators team colours departed from ScotiaBank Place yesterday and travelled downtown to City Hall for the first public rally intended to marshal community support for a struggling team that advanced to the Stanley Cup final last season, but which started the 2008 post-season as a first-round underdog against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators’ recent woes were no barrier to the team’s supporters. The fact the team squeaked into the playoffs, they said, is all the more reason for true fans to rally behind their players.
“The party begins today,” said Mayor Larry O’Brien, who — decked out in full team regalia — hoisted a Senators flag over city hall and proclaimed Sens Army 1 Mission Day.
“This is a brand new season and I think the Sens are going to pull out a couple of surprises.”
Some Sens fans at the rally acknowledged that injuries to team stars and the Sens’ recent poor play bode ill for playoff prospects, but optimism reigned overall.
O’Brien said he had the Beavertails ready to go for any wager Pittsburgh is willing to make. “It’s going to be men against boys.”
Optimistic fans held signs saying “Believe.”
“We’re winning it,” said Jody Larocque, 31. “In my (hockey) pool, I took Ottawa in six. All they got to do is stick together.
“I know there’s been a lot of criticism toward them lately but I wanted to come out and show my support,” Larocque said.
Kathy Perce and her children skipped work and school yesterday to take part in the rally for the Sens
“They’re going all the way,” said Perce, standing next to her decorated, blue Sienna van.
“We just hope they’ll win them all.”
Senators fans rally
The game was played in Pittsburgh last night, but Round 1 of theStanley Cup playoffs officially marched into Ottawa yesterday afternoonat the head of an army of Senators supporters.