Super fan brings A-game

ROB BRODIE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:38 AM ET

Your captain has been paying close attention, Senators fans.

And while it's still early in this latest run through the Stanley Cup playoffs, he's mighty impressed with your performance level.

This isn't Daniel Alfredsson speaking, though we're sure the Sens' leader and his teammates can't wait to feel the boisterous reception they'll get tonight at Scotiabank Place for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semi-final against the New Jersey Devils.

"The crowds have been amazing so far this year, and I can only imagine it's going to get better," said Ryan Guthrie, the captain of the Sens Army -- that brigade of team supporters who've done plenty to enhance Scotiabank Place's reputation as one of the loudest buildings in the NHL.

"A lot of people have been talking about how loud and crazy it's been so far inside of Scotiabank Place," he said. "You could even argue that Game 5 of the first round was the loudest it's ever been."

Guthrie earned his rank by winning a fan contest earlier in the season -- he also won a trip to Barbados as part of the deal, and hung out with Sens owner Eugene Melnyk.

He considers it a "great honour" to be the face of the Sens Army. You'll see Guthrie on the Scotiabank Place scoreboard during games. He also has a fan "survival guide" video on the team's playoff website.

"I call myself a cheerleader ... there's no real duties (as captain)," said Guthrie, 27, of Almonte, who shares season tickets with his two brothers, Mike and Murray. "I lead my section (314) as best as I can."

But as any true captain will tell you, he can't do it alone.

"It's a team game," said Guthrie. "Everyone has to chip in."

By day, Guthrie is a mild-mannered data entry worker with Smart Technologies in Kanata. But there's something about the Senators that brings out a much louder side.

JUMPED TEAMS

"I've always been a quiet person, but when it comes to the Sens, I'm proud of my team," he said with enthusiasm.

"I have no problem seeing myself on the big screen at Sens games. So if they want to continue having me encourage the fans inside to make some noise, that's all right."

Guthrie has been a Senators fan since the team's first game against the Montreal Canadiens back in 1992.

"My older brother (Mike) cheered for the Habs, and I cheered for everyone who played against the Habs," he said.

"So there was a bit of a rivalry there.

"But after the Sens beat the Habs in their inaugural game, I was hooked. My favourite team was the Oilers before that but their dynasty was coming to an end, so it was good timing to get a hometown team."

He loves the Red Zone, the party area where Senators fans get revved up before the puck drops.

"The Red Zone is what being a fan is all about," he said. "It's amazing to see what people will do to show their support ... you see some interesting characters out there."


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