Hello from Montreal! After arriving on the train, host, Habs fan, and awesome blogger Amanda picked me up to head to her place. After dropping off my luggage and picking up our gamewear, we wandered down Ste-Catherine for a while, checking out the shops and battling the pedestrian traffic. We then stopped to have a nice Thai dinner and brought our own wine, but were expecting three people, not just the two of us (the famous Julie had a previous engagement go long) and so we had two bottles of wine with us. We had to bite the bullet and down the both of them ourselves. So, needless to say, we were more inebriated than we'd planned before the game.
The restaurant was only about two blocks from Centre Bell, so we walked over for the game. I had plenty of fans cajoling me on my choice of attire (a Mike Knuble Winter Classic jersey), but none in a harmful or personal way. Most of the comments were a good-natured "hey, you're wearing the wrong jersey" which of course wasn't too much of an issue for me.
Centre Bell is lovely, however the concourses are quite narrow, which is only a problem during intermissions when it feels like a human cattle drive. We were seated in the very last row, but at center ice. The press box is suspended over the upper sections so there was sometimes an issue seeing the top of the jumbotron from our seats, but again, as we were in the last row, there was no one to complain about us leaning forward. Or standing up and dancing to the arena DJ like idiots.
As to the game, it was like seeing a different team from the previous night. I was happy to see Marco Sturm get his first goal as a Cap, and I'm probably one of the few fans who can say they've seen Braden Holtby's first and second NHL shutouts in person. Holtby was outstanding. He still makes some rookie mistakes, but he's gotten a lot better about minimizing his mistakes and absolutely robbed some Canadiens. Oh, and, Bell Centre Holtby Shuffle.
the menu at the Habs tweetup, with each special named after a player
After the great game, we went to the Habs tweetup, where people had been gathered to watch the game. I met some tweeps I know, and some I didn't, and then we ventured off to another nearby bar. Lo and behold, Kirk Muller was at the bar in a back room. I got to shake his hand, and then later on I was standing talking to someone, and Muller rubbed my shoulders to get by me. I about died.
So, in general, Saturday was much better than Friday. But I've had a great time on my trip, and I'm sad to be leaving Montreal tomorrow to head back Stateside. But I'm glad that the Caps were able to redeem themselves for my trip!