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Fans at lights-out game between Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils deserved better treatment

Say this for the fans who endured the 102-minute delay of Friday's game between the Lightning and Devils: They were pretty well-behaved considering they literally were kept in the dark.

Yes, there were moments things got testy while waiting for lights at one end of Newark's Prudential Center to come back to life. There were boos for new songs heard on the P.A. system because they signaled the continued limbo.

And besides the odd cup of soda or water bottle, not much was thrown onto the ice when the game was suspended with 9:12 left in the second period and Tampa Bay ahead 3-0.

Remember, these are the fans who perfected the surprisingly funny pregame ritual of chanting during opposing lineup introductions that each player (stinks). So give them credit; what (stunk) was how they were treated.

The only announcement made during the delay was that players had gone to the locker rooms and would return when the lights were fixed. Hey, thanks, we thought they were going for pizza.

How about some actual information? Would it have hurt to say, "We have a problem with a circuit breaker. We're doing our best to get it fixed. We don't know how long it will take." How about an update now and then? A voucher for a free soda? An apology for the inconvenience? Thanking fans just once for their patience was inadequate.

That the game was being suspended wasn't even immediately acknowledged, which led to this scene: sticks being carried off benches and goal nets being taken off the ice while half the remaining fans headed for the exits and the other half sat and watched, hoping someone would tell them something, anything. Several minutes later came the announcement the game was suspended. So, that's two announcements in more than 102 minutes, neither of which was worth much.

Saturday, the Devils said all ticket holders can get a free ticket for a future game. But fans who paid good money to see 31 minutes of hockey Friday and sit in semidarkness for almost two hours deserved better on that night. They deserved as much courtesy as they showed the Devils.

Fans at lights-out game between Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils deserved better treatment 01/09/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2010 9:21pm]
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