Sens brass revisit ticket price structure

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:16 AM ET

The crowd of 17,039 at Scotiabank Place for the visit by the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins last night was the second smallest of the year after the Penguins first visit (17,014, Oct. 12) and isn't going to help the Senators' average attendance figure this season.

But, hey, as Senators president Cyril Leeder pointed out yesterday, “winning is the best marketing tonic.”

A convincing win over the Cup champs — even with a decimated Pittsburgh blue line — was a positive step for the Senators, representing one of their best wins of the season against a quality opponent.

But you can’t win them all, so Leeder said the club is closely examining its ticket pricing policies to try and make the decision to buy tickets easier for Senators fans.

Right now there are five different classes of games — from “Subway” to “Platinum” — and within those five price structures there are about 14 different price points depending on the row and section.

“That’s about 70 different price points and that’s too many. We’re going to address that,” said Leeder.

Attendance is down an average of about 900 fans a game from last season’s per-game turnout.

The club has lost about 3,000 season-ticket holders in the past couple of years, down to about 10,000 from the high of 13,000 following the great ride to the Stanley Cup final in 2007.

“It’s not alarming, but it should get our attention and it’s got our attention,” said Leeder.

Leeder said attendance lags about a year behind team performance, and anybody who’s been paying attention knows what last year was like.

“It’s about what we expected,” said Leeder. “This is two years of cumulative effect.”

The good news is the Sens have been adding more season-ticket holders every month since March. A few more might buy in after more wins like the one last night.

The buzz

The goal by Milan Michalek last night was the 100th of his career. It also might have also been the shortest, in terms of distance travelled. He was standing in the blue paint by Penguins goalie Marc Andre Fleury and had a shot by Daniel Alfredsson go in off him.

Just sayin’

Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal has got a huge reach and he used it to score the Penguins goal in the first period, fighting off Nick Foligno’s backcheck. Foligno made up for that on the Senators’ first goal, working hard to keep the puck in the Penguins zone during a great shift that had the Penguins running around and culminated with Matt Carkner scoring.

hear and there

One of the things that is helping Mike Fisher get off to his quick start is a different curve on his stick. He commandeered a batch of Easton sticks destined for teammate Chris Neil near the end of last season. “Too much of a curve for me,” said Neil yesterday. “It’s a little more toe curve and my puck handling is a little better,” said Fisher ... Hasn’t hurt his shot, either, which right now might be the best wrist shot in the league.

revelations

Alex Kovalev will be going home to Russia for a few days following the death of his mother-in-law. He’s to leave today ... Chris Phillips played his 800th game in the NHL last night, but didn’t get the benefit of the doubt from young referee David Banfield. It looked like Phillips made a pretty good play on Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in the second, pushing him wide on a 1-on-1. Phillips got called for hooking though it looked like his stick never touched Sid the Kid.

SPECULATIONS

It wouldn’t be a Penguins game without a defenceman getting hurt, so Martin Skoula dutifully hobbled to the bench near the end of the first period ... “Kovy Come Back Home,” said the sign beside the guy wearing a Habs sweater and a paper bag over his head. The paper bag thing never gets tired, does it?

chris.stevenson@sunmedia.ca


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