Have a gander at that picture above. That's what's going to cause change in this Oilers organization. Nothing else. Only empty seats have that power.
I understand that people have paid for their tickets and they're not just going to waste them, especially season ticket holders who have often waited long periods to get their hands on some. So let's not get too far into the conversation about people skipping the games entirely. But the fans have to send a real message to management, ownership, and the hockey world in the best forum that they can: Rexall Place.
So show up late. Skip the first period, or if you can stomach it, don't show up at all.
I know what you're thinking: what if the Oilers light up the opponent for a bunch of goals that you could have seen live? What if something magical happens and you miss it? The trouble is that no matter how special one game might be, it's still one game in another lost season.
Is it better to see an eight point game from Sam Gagner in a season that means nothing, or a 2-1 win when the Oilers are chasing the playoffs? Is it preferable to see a Taylor Hall hat trick this December or a playoff game when there's finally some meaningful change?
And if you don't like the idea of skipping games or even periods of games, then go to the rink and support the team but protest the management that has got us here. Carry a sign speaking out against your favorite management target, wear a bag on your head if that's your thing. Tape over the name on the back of your jersey and write a message of protest instead.
That's what one fan did back in 2007 when Kevin Lowe traded Ryan Smyth for magic beans. Robert Vaughan went to a game with pieces of tape on his jersey spelling out the words "Trade Lowe". He was escorted to the basement by security and told he and his nephew couldn't leave until he removed the tape. The organization confirmed that the incident wasn't just a story from an upset fan. That same arrogance is still with the Oilers today, despite a record of 249-324-70 since 2006-07. That's a 38.7% winning percentage.
If the team tries to stop you from protesting in any way you see fit, tell the world.
What good will it do to skip one period? Well, remember when Katz had threatening meetings with Seattle as if he was thinking about moving the Oilers? He understands posturing. Fans need to get the message to the owner of this team.