A sea of Sens scarlet

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

The Senators want their fans to see red tonight.

And this time, at least, that would be a very, very joyous thing.

Call it Ottawa's version of the "sea of red," a unified support group of 20,000-plus the Sens hope will greet the Pittsburgh Penguins when the teams play the opener of their Stanley Cup playoff series at Scotiabank Place.

"We'd like the fans to come to the games wearing red," Jeff Kyle, the Sens' VP of marketing, said on the eve of the team's latest quest for the Stanley Cup.

"We're using the colour as a great rallying cry for the fans ... it's something they can do to get behind the team."

Pompoms at door

"Be Red" is the Senators' marketing slogan this go round, and you can't turn anywhere at the rink without seeing the colour the Senators wear on the jerseys for home games. You'll even be handed it when you walk in the door tonight -- the Sens are giving every fan a metallic red pom-pom to wave in support of their favourite team.

"They did silver (pom-poms) in Edmonton during the playoffs last year, and it was a great visual," said Kyle.

Also new this year are "Sens Army" scarves, modelled after the accessory often worn by the most fervent supporters of European soccer clubs.

"In Ottawa, sometimes you need to show them, to get the fans going a bit," said Kyle. "Then it just builds on its own. The best things are the ones that the fans can grasp onto. All the marketing in the world isn't as good as something the fans grasp onto themselves."

Plenty of folks have already caught the spirit, and they're ready to run with it. About 15 cars showed up in front of Scotiabank Place yesterday morning -- many of them decked out in Sens colours -- for a "Be Red" Car Rally that wound its way down to City Hall, where Mayor Larry O'Brien raised the team flag and declared all home playoff dates will be "Be Red" days in the capital.

Warren Rawlings and Cole Benard, a pair of university-age mega-fans, made it clear where they feel the Sens are headed. A replica Stanley Cup was perched on the top of Benard's Volkswagen Passat, with a couple of smaller versions of the hallowed chalice affixed to the hood.

"Ottawa is going to win the Stanley Cup this year," said Rawlings.

Benard, clad in a Dany Heatley jersey (his buddy wore Jason Spezza's number), added: "We're going to bring it home."


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