Habs fans, Leaf Nation eight times a year is 'uncool'

ERIN NICKS

, Last Updated: 9:01 AM ET

I love it when the media tells us at what time it's acceptable to discuss something and consequently, when the subject loses its flavour, or has become -- in their words --"uncool."

(You know I would never describe anything as "uncool" -- being forced to use it twice has already made my teeth hurt.)

A perfect example recently occurred when the media went ballistic over the idea of not altering the NHL schedule. The talk eventually peaked, and was followed with a declaration to get over it and move on.

There were more important things to do, like trash the YoungStars Game.

If only it were that simple. If only these media members knew what it was like to deal with the NHL's current schedule in Ottawa. I realize that all teams are crippled with the same affliction -- being forced to play their divisional opponents eight times per season.

Ottawa's circumstances have been altered by a psychological Petri dish with a number of variables: A teenage franchise in a conservative town, with a front office that wants to keep the seats full ... no matter who is sitting in them.

Name me any of the 29 franchises where not one, but two visiting teams are guaranteed equal or greater support eight times a season.

Welcome to the divisional home games at Scotiabank Place, where it's become less about rivalry, and more about reviving The Three Faces of Eve.

That's the reality the Sens face whenever Montreal or Toronto comes to town -- the crowd comes down with a case of multiple personality disorder. And when you struggle for an enthusiastic response from Ottawa fans at the best of times, the opposition's crowd seems, shall we say, rather prevalent.

Sure, the Senators' front office has mentioned it, recognized it and on at least one occasion, made an attempt to stop it. Remember during one of the many playoff series against Toronto, when you were required to input a "secret" code to purchase tickets online?

How clever -- until you remember many of the opposition's fans live within city limits, and have access to any type of necessary information.

When the league's board of governors cast the most recent votes, Ottawa was portrayed by some media as the franchise with the swing ballot.

It was also suggested that team's ideas to alter the schedule (seven divisional and three conference games) were not competitively sound.

It's hard to believe that the Sens were overly disappointed with the schedule remaining as-is.

After all, for approximately one-fifth of their home season, the Sens can pack the building with other fan bases and charge premium prices for the experience. Top tickets for Toronto games this season went for $280; Montreal tickets of the same quality are $220 a pop.

Alternatively, you can see the face of the NHL -- Sidney Crosby -- in the same seat at the SBP for $200.

Apparently there are a prominent number of Ottawa fans that lack the passion, cash or patience to buy these divisional game tickets.

Toronto and Montreal fans have slowly been replacing them, growing louder and virtually impossible to ignore, especially to an outside television audience.

And all the while, the Sens' front office has largely turned a blind eye to the issue. Money is money, no matter whose pocket it comes from.

The media can claim that there's nothing left to discuss regarding the schedule, but unfortunately, they don't know what it's like to be a Sens fan at home -- with the guarantee of being outcheered by Les Habitants fans and Leafs Nation eight times a year.

That truly is the definition of "uncool."


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