No, I'm not saying we have a long way to go to win the Cup, but we have a long way to go until we can really call ourselves true fans. Every time I think that Ottawa is closer to being at our goal of one million passionate and crazy Senators fans, Toronto comes to town and I'm reminded of how far we are, collectively, from being a genuinely massive and forgiving fan base. Two incidents in the past twelve hours have made me particularly sick to the stomach, and please feel free to disagree with me if you feel I'm out of line.
First, how the hell do we allow our captain to be booed in his home arena? Considering that there were plenty of walkup tickets available leading up to the home opener last night, we certainly didn't jump at the opportunity to fill the rink with red, did we? Instead, we let 6,000-8,000 Toronto fans come from out of their doldrums and into our house and ridicule our own captain, the face of our franchise. For God's sake, they might as well have stood in front of our faces and booed us, and apparently we'll just stand there and say, "yeah, well, I don't think that was very polite of you and I expect that I'll receive a letter of apology in the mail shortly." When we see that Toronto (and to a lesser extent, Montreal) is coming to town, we ought to be buying up our tickets on the day they go on sale, just because we know how obnoxious it is to have visiting fans cheer louder in our building. In nearly 10 years of games at the Palladium/Corel Centre/Scotiabank Place, we haven't done a damn thing about it, and that is absolutely ridiculous.
Second is our goaltending situation. I know that we are used to years of relying on backup and minor league goalies, but we need to take it down a peg or two. Our new #1, Martin Gerber, comes with years of solid experience, two trips to a Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, winning once, and the ability to stand on his head on a regular basis for us. Obviously the pressure on him in Ottawa will be far greater than what was on him in Carolina last year, but can everyone please calm down and wait out the 82 games? Did we offer Martin Gerber an $11.1M contract so that he could lead our team to a 2-0 start? Speak into the microphone with your answer, please. Let me share with you Don Brennan's headline in the Ottawa Sun this morning: The Senators were awful in their home opener, but nobody looked worse than their new No. 1 goaltender. I understand that it is the responsibility of the media to cover the games and bring a combination of the facts and their related analysis to the common public, but come on now. Gerber last night was far from the goalie he was on Wednesday, but can we tone it down a bit? If I hear the term 'goaltender controversy' in reference to the situation in Ottawa, I'll snap.
These two occurrences, combined with the fact that I just hate losing to the Leafs, have led me to the conclusion that we, as fans, are far from the loyal groupies of our two Eastern Canadian rivals. I don't ever want to be as delusional as either of those fans, but at least they stick up for their team through thick and thin. As Kevin Lee said yesterday, what will happen to our fan base, season ticket base, etc., when the Sens are merely an average team? I weep for the future.