It was a nice evening, but the mild temperature was not on Russ Maill’s mind when he contemplated the term “fair weather.”
Set up at the Scotiabank Place Red Zone before last night’s game, Maill said the atmosphere seemed like just another regular-season game, rather than the Ottawa Senators’ first home contest of the 2008 playoffs.
“People aren’t as excited about the team until we start winning,” he lamented. “Once we get a win it’ll start getting crazy like last year.”
Diehards have held faith, but the Sens’ slow start to this post-season shows there are a number of local fans who may fall under the “fair weather” category.
Chris Emery said fans shouldn’t be waiting to rally behind the Sens because the team needs its supporters now. “We have to give our team a lot more support,” he said. “This year, with the way the team struggled at the end of the season, it put a damper on the first round. The expectations aren’t the same as last year.”
Despite a rapidly-filling Red Zone and thousands more stuck in traffic on the road to Scotiabank Place, Emery said it was not enough. “You gotta look at the fans in Calgary; they’ve got a sea of red — we kind of have a speckle of red at this point,” he said.
The odd Pittsburgh Penguins fan was milling about the Red Zone. Jeff Stanzell, an Ottawa resident for 15 years, wore a vintage Mario Lemieux jersey. “I cheer for the Senators 78 games a year, but against the Penguins, not a chance,” he said.
Still, he wasn’t above offering helpful advice. With the home team down in the series, Stanzell said Senators fans need to pump up the volume.
“Sitting on the hands all the time sucks. If I can help them to be loud, to shut me up, it’s good.”
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