After the Ottawa Senators were eliminated from the postseason, word spread that No. 1 center Jason Spezza(notes) was a sad clown. He was unhappy with being booed by demanding Ottawa fans, to the point where a heart-to-heart with general manager Bryan Murray was scheduled and trade rumors began.
But not all Senators fans wanted to make Spezza the latest in an all-star cast of franchise whipping boys. Two different fan groups planned a public show of support for Spezza on Saturday on Parliament Hill. From the Ottawa Citizen:
The participants, said Tremblay, will come from two Facebook groups that have overlapping memberships: the "Let's Keep Jason Spezza in Ottawa" group, which has more that 900 members, and the Red Scarf Union, which largely occupies a Section 319 at Scotiabank Place and claims 1,190 members.
As of Monday afternoon, Tremblay was expecting about 125 participants, but there could be more. While the main purpose of the rally will be to show support to Spezza, its secondary purpose will be to convince Ottawa hockey fans to support the team, not criticize it at every turn.
Ironic, then, that Saturday's "Save Spezza" rally was notable less for its support of the maligned player than for being criticized for its turnout. Canwest counted 20 fans in attendance, and mocked those who remained indoors when the forecast called for rain.
Sens Town attended the rally, snapping several photos (like the Jersey Foul-riffic one above), setting the total turnout at 15 fans; or as they wrote, "Probably a bad sign when you have less fans turn up to support you then your jersey number." From Sens Town:
At least the people who did show up didn't seem to disappointed by the small turnout. They even sung a few times, with Walking In A Spezza Wonderland being the main tune. Good to see them in good spirits. If only Spezz worked as hard or cared as much about the Sens as these fans.
Ouch. In fairness, the rally's Facebook page shows there was plenty of confusion about whether the event was on or off due to the weather. And, in the end, it's about the spirit of the thing: There are Senators fans who value Spezza's contributions to the franchise and the community. It's just that, apparently, many of them don't own rain ponchos.
With that, the bar continues to get hilariously lowered for "Save Player X" fan rallies. We've gone from 100 Montreal Canadiens fans supporting Alexei Kovalev to around 20 supporting Jason Spezza. We fully expect the inevitable "Leave Luongo in Vancouver!" rally to feature the Kurtenbloggers, someone waiting for a taxi and a dude asking for directions to Japadog.