Senators notebook: Fans love Fisher, Melnyk hates ‘drunken guys’

On Thursday, the Scotiabank Place crowd greeted the returning Mike Fisher with a warm welcome 11 minutes into the game.

On Thursday, the Scotiabank Place crowd greeted the returning Mike Fisher with a warm welcome 11 minutes into the game.

As the Ottawa Senators paid tribute to Fisher’s career with the Senators in a video highlight package on the scoreboard, he received a standing ovation.

It marked quite the contrast from the mood in the building when the Toronto Maple Leafs visited last Saturday. According to Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, that atmosphere can’t be tolerated. Melnyk, talking early Thursday afternoon in a fan chat with season ticket holders, vowed to make changes.

“It doesn’t burn anybody worse than me to see drunken guys walking around, bullying people,” he said. Melnyk also said that the organization was “on top” of the situation, claiming that the team is “not going to tolerate it,” while also pushing fans to buy more season tickets in order to prevent the influx of non-Senators fans.

How exactly the Senators will be able to enforce the “zero tolerance” policy promised by Melnyk on the next visit by the Maple Leafs will be intriguing. That comes on March 17, which just happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. When the wave of blue and white fans arrive, security will apparently be on the lookout for fans who have had too much beer, green or otherwise.

THE BIG HOUSE IS BIG TIME, CONDRA SAYS: Senators winger Erik Condra has no doubt next year’s Winter Classic between Toronto and Detroit at Michigan’s legendary Big House stadium will be a grand success. Condra grew up 20 minutes from Michigan Stadium and he was there before the start of the NHL season, part of the 109,000 in the crowd, watching his alma mater Notre Dame Fighting Irish play Michigan in a football game. “It will be a great atmosphere for sure,” said Condra. “A lot of Red Wings fans are Michigan football fans and Toronto fans, well, they come from everywhere. It will be a great place for the game. It holds so many people. Maybe some of he people in the top seats aren’t going to get a great view, but I was at the top and I could see.”

More than 104,000 attended The Michigan-Michigan State Cold War game on Dec. 11, 2010 holds the record for most fans to ever attend a hockey game. Senators farmhand Louie Caporusso, now playing with the Elmira Jackals in the ECHL, played in that game.

QUOTES OF THE DAY: The veteran Senators players were happy to see Fisher back in town and showed their respect with some good natured ribbing. “I miss his smile…I don’t miss his singing, by the way,” Daniel Alfredsson said following Thursday’s morning skate. Ninety minutes later, as Fisher was surrounded by the media outside Nashville’s dressing room, Nick Foligno walked by. “Keep your head up,” he said, with a wide smile.

LOOKING FOR A SPARK: While the Senators went into Thursday’s game on a seven-game losing streak, defenceman Brian Lee returned to the lineup riding a personal six-game winning streak. Lee, who missed 11 games with a “lower body” injury, hadn’t been on the ice for a loss since Dec. 27. With Lee in, Matt Carkner was the healthy scratch on the blueline. With Bobby Butler back in the lineup, Zenon Konopka was a healthy scratch at forward.

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