Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canada Trip Leg One: Ottawa

I'm sitting on the train from Ottawa to Montreal, traveling through the Canadian countryside, Elliot in the Morning sitting right behind me, and I have some time to blog.

Ottawa is odd, but pretty. It's odd because it can go from houses to downtown in a matter of two blocks. Plus when I went through customs, the Border Agent was baffled when I explained I was in the country to watch hockey. Aren't you supposed to be Canadian?

When I arrived Thursday, beat writer Steve Whyno and myself went to get a few drinks and watch Habs/Bruins at McLaren's, a place I highly recommend if you're looking to watch hockey. Or any sport really.

Friday, gameday, I went up to Parliament Hill, which is beautiful. Of course I was there on the day that Stephen Harper got taken down, but that's besides the point at the moment. I then went to meet up with some tweeps near the campus of uOttawa, and we had poutine served to us by a waiter who looked suspiciously like DJ Pauly D. Of course, we asked him to Beat Dat Beat Up.
photo by Ashley/@SensCaps

I met up with Sens fan, Ottawa native, and game accompaniment Lewy, and we headed on the bus over to Scotiabank Place, which is maybe 20 minutes outside of Ottawa.

It's a beautiful arena. You enter in a soaring atrium, with steps leading up to the upper levels. There are three seating levels, but both the 200 and 300 levels are accessible from the second floor concourse. 

One thing I did notice that I liked was that the Senators do not have their own version of the Red Rockers, but rather several mixed-gender groups of 20-somethings wearing white Senators t-shirts and carrying giveaways like t-shirts and small tambourine noisemakers to throw to children in all sections of the arena. They also pumped up the crowd by leading chants and cheering. I much preferred that to the Red Rockers.

I don't have too much to say about the game, because, well, it sucked. Caps didn't seem to show up at all, and Varlamov looked like he was never quite comfortable in the net. Anderson was solid in his own end, as evidenced by his subsequent shutout. He really has settled into Ottawa's system well.

Scotiabank Place is not only very nice, but is a great place to watch hockey. Sightlines are good from pretty much anywhere in the arena, and it has a very grand feel to it. My only gripes is that obviously it's quite far from downtown Ottawa, but also the seats have no cupholders (!) and the jumbotron needs an upgrade to the point where it made me realize how spoiled we are at Verizon with our gorgeous HD jumbotron.

Crappy game aside, I enjoyed my time in Ottawa, and I can't wait to get to Montreal and Bell Centre, as I've heard so much about the experience there.

You can see my photos from Ottawa on Flickr. I'll caption and tag once I have some more time.

Au revoir, and Let's Go Caps!

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