It wasn't supposed to be like this. It was supposed to be a valiant effort by the Senators, who dazzled the crowd with outstanding offensive prowess and a blue-collar work ethic. I was to leave that opponent's arena with my head held high, laughing quietly at the fans of the opposing team for wasting their money on a lackluster performance.
Instead, I watched my first live Ottawa Senators hockey game with quiet horror as the Sens managed only 14 shots on net against the Vancouver Canucks. It was arguably their worst effort of the season, but it's all I have to base the live Ottawa Senators experience on. As a kid from rural British Columbia who waited well over a decade to see his favourite team in action, I suppose it's fair to say that it was a disappointment.
After the jump, a handful of my observations from GM Place.
- Maybe it's just because the Senators only come to town once in a blue moon, but I was stunned by the number of Sens fans on the streets of Vancouver and at the game. Very solid support for the team, including some pretty good "Go Sens Go!" chants despite the lopsided score.
- Nice job by the Canucks organization in recognizing the Olympic achievements of both teams. They kept it short and simple, and didn't overdo it at all.
- My buddy accidentally bought us seats in the "No Alcohol Allowed" section. That was an unfortunate surprise to us on game day.
- Pascal Leclaire deserved so much better than that Senators effort.
- Somebody at the game was wearing a Chris Campoli Ottawa Senators jersey. I applaud the individual for being different, but it still seems like a bizarre choice.
- That really was just some dude in a Chris Campoli jersey, not Chris Campoli himself buying a pretzel. I realize the latter seems more likely.
- Alex Kovalev was the worst player on the ice, and not only for his poor decisions with the puck. It's probably not visible when watching the TV feed, but when he was away from the puck he did absolutely nothing. I'm pretty sure I sweat more than he did that game.
- Dude in black Sens jersey who looks vaguely like Rivers Cuomo -- if you're reading this, I just want you to know that for a few brief hours, you sat behind a real live unpaid hockey blogger. Feel free to tell your kids about it some day.
- I will take that Jason Spezza goal to the grave with me. What a beautiful goal it was, and it had all of the Sens fans in the crowd believing it would swing the momentum to the Sens. It didn't, but watch it again (just for good measure):
It's a shame that my first Ottawa Senators experience ended up this way, particularly since it's likely to be a while before they come back to Vancouver. However, getting to see Daniel Alfredsson play before he retires is something I can now cross off my bucket list, so it was worth it just for that.