Ottawa Senator fans' reaction to the mammoth trade of former captain Erik Karlsson has been mostly negative, with the hashtag 'Melnyk Out' circulating around the city.
Owner of Ottawa sports shop The Clubhouse, Chris Torti, says he's sold more #MelnykOut hats in the last week, than he sold @Senators hats over the last year. #ottnewshttps://t.co/TY3hoVXw68 pic.twitter.com/BP5VddDIzp— OttawaMatters (@OttawaMatters) September 19, 2018
Trading Karlsson was part of the team's full-rebuild, to create a more competitive team, but it now needs to look at rebuilding the confidence of its fans.
Eric Macintosh, Associate Professor of Sports Management at the University of Ottawa, spoke with Mark Sutcliffe on Ottawa Today, saying the Senators now have to create an energy that people will enjoy, that isn't based around skilled players.
"The environment itself creates an escape for people to get passed their busy lives and enjoy things with their family," he explained. "That is more than just the skill set the team brings, that's the entire logistical experience that surrounds going to the game."
"They have an uphill battle when it comes to winning the fans back and creating positive emotion around the team," said Macintosh.
There has been one good outcome from all the drama that has gone on with the team, added Macintosh.
"There is a tremendous amount of interest in hockey in this community. There is a ton of knowledge of hockey in this community, and their is a thirst for both of those."