Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said, "I don't pay attention to that stuff when I'm playing. I try to focus on my job. If we want to get some people in the stands, we're going to have to start winning some hockey games."
First of all, how can you ignore empty seats? It's like you're at a closed practice. As for focusing on his job, exactly where are the distractions coming from? At least if you're home watching on tv you get the benefit of the play by play announcers but what if you are in the arena? He is right about winning, winning cures everything.
Defenseman Brian Campbell said, "I don't even like talking about it because it's out of my control. I have to go work hard on the ice. If you let that effect you, it's just going to make you not play at the elite level. So I stay away from it. I don't talk about it."
Well you should talk about it Brian, to as many people as you can, get the word out there. I'm not a fan of the Panthers but ignoring the empty seats is the wrong way to go. See if you're a fan of a team no matter what sport it is, and they have a losing record year after year but they have those die hard fans that come no matter what then it's no big deal. Now if your team sucks year after year and the fans stop coming then rumors about the team moving to a more profitable city start circulating.
Of course the Florida Panthers vehemently deny this but the team has been losing money for years. Initially I thought it was a hockey in hot and sunny Florida thing but Floridians are fans of the beach and nothing else, especially Miami. During the NBA Finals games featuring the league's best I spotted empty seats. The Florida Marlins baseball team's attendance is always hovering at the bottom of all MLB teams.
The Panthers lost the home opener to the Ottawa Senators 1 - 0. Ottawa's Clarke MacArthur said, "You've got to create your own energy for sure. There was a lot of air and a lot of silence up in the stands."
Senators goalie Craig Anderson nailed it when he said, "This city seems to need wins, whether its football, baseball, basketball. You need to win games to get fans in the building. A couple of years ago they were in the playoffs and they had great crowds. It's a matter of them putting some wins together and getting the fan base to come back."