Thursday, April 17, 2008

Scotiabank or Bust

This is the story of when two pens fans and a sabres (for the night pens) fan took a trip from Rochester, NY to Ottawa in hopes of a Penguins sweep in the first round. All the pictures can be clicked to enlarge, and all the videos are on youtube under the account "mbetush" if you want to view them enlarged. Some of the pictures are chronologically out of order, so I apologize, sort of.

The night before I made a sign to take, it was about 6 feet long and two feet tall. One side said...

While the other side said...

Unfortunately Roberts was scratched, but I had to hope. Here is a pic of my jerseys just because I thought it looked cool. Nate wore the Malkin, and I donned the Winter Classic Crosby.

The trip started with John driving...

and Nate in the back, which was weird because he has long dancer's legs.

Nate had to indulge in a Baconator before we left, so here we are at Wendy' me, the story picks up soon.

Nate being a glutton...

...and me being all business.

John had to get some service done before we left, I offered...

...but he took care of it. Early on in our journey we passed a likeness of Hal Gill. Don't understand the reference??? see

At our first stop, John had it his way at Burger King...

....and for the first time rode in the backseat of his riceburner.

I wanted to stop here...

...but not here.

We passed this along the way, we hope they do steaming work.

Nate being a low rider, now behind the wheel.

Before you knew it, we were at customs.

This is what the border patrol was staring down.

The coolest thing about the border officer was when we told him where we were going, he immediately said "so you're going to see them get swept, eh?" Soon after, we were well on our way to Ottawa.

Soon after we crossed, we had to stop at ol' Timmy H.

Deliciousness, and as I'm behind the wheel, I take some pretty decent pics.

Even with all the warm weather, they still find a way to maintain snow in Canada.

As we make our way into Ottawa, we pass a stretch of about two miles of straight landfill, I heard its where the Maple Leafs practice.

We're almost to Scotiabank, until expert navigator Nate stares down this on our mapquest directions....

12: Take the HWY-417 W/ RTE-417 O exit, EXIT 75A, on the LEFT toward KANATA/ PEMBROKE.

He continues to lead me onto HWY-417 E. How in the hell do you read W as E? After a brief backtracking mission, we sit in traffic for about 30 minutes, and out of nowhere...

Civilization, in the form of a Costco....with Scotiabank Place in the background. As chemists, we were excited that the name of the street Scotiabank lies on is named Palladium. We thought it would be better if Palladium Drive was a circle, but that joke only makes sense to us.

After driving for literally 2 minutes on Palladium Drive, we miss all the damn parking lots, and have to turn around. It's a really underdeveloped area in Kawata, as our turnaround point was a cornfield. Here you can see scotiabank in the background.

We finally get back, and thank God the parking place took American money. On our way to the arena, I got my first (and only) decent jersey shot. He was with Sens fans, so I don't know where his allegiance ran. At my best estimation, there was maybe maximum 5% Pens fans there.

Scotiajoke place.

The sea of red, pre-dejection outside the arena.

The cup changes everything...

Inside Scotiabank Place. Let me tell you, it was easily the nicest arena I've ever been to, and if the new place in Pittsburgh is anything like this, we'll be very lucky.

First glimpse of the arena from our seats...

...and from the aisle.

When we sat down, there was already a group fo 4 pens fans who made a 3 day trip from Pittsburgh to see the game. They were from Hampton, which is pretty close to my home of Deer Lakes. I asked one of them to get a picture of the three of us with our sign.....

.......and she had the camera backwards. Second try...

...not bad, and the other side?

We think she was already slightly inebriated, so we'll give her a pass on this one. I had to scope out the facilities, and my best effort was taking a picture of myself in the bathroom, you can see nate off to the left side.

I also found one of those sign making stations, and put together this little number.

Also modeling the WWGRD wristband. Here's a random shot of the scoreboard and flags hanging from the roof...

...and one of the scoreboard.

Center ice....with pucks scattered, which must mean...


Before you knew it, the place turned into the Red Sea, parted of course by one Gary Roberts.

They have a similar video opening on the ice as we have down at Mellon, here's a few captures, including one of Alfie (what an annoying nickname/chant they had).

Faster than you could say sweep, it was time for the National Anthem. Pure class of Ottawa to applaud loudly at the end of the Star Spangled Banner.

And one of the coolest and chilling moments in sports, the singing of O Canada in a Canadian rink during the playoffs.


And here we go.....

This is one of the faceoffs from the first period, I think this might be the one right before we peppered Gerber with every shot imaginable.

That's it, a rather uneventful 1st period. Here's the Zamboni shots...

My view to the left....

.....and the right.

Early into the second period the place fell silently stunned after Malkin put one home.

Gerber had just lost his liquor license. In an attempt to fire up the crowd, the sens mascot shows up.

I thought Ted Kennedy would have been a better choice, as I don't understand how a lion fits into the Senator scheme. Some jobber from Ottawa gets one in, and before you know it, role player of the year Ruutu backhands a beauty home to make it 2-1 pens.

What happens next is amazing, and 100% true. Before game 3, I walked into John's apartment saying I had a vision, that Maxime Talbot was going to score a goal. A true longshot proposition, but it happened when he tied the game in the 2nd period. When we got into the car for the trip, I said I had a dream the night before that the Sens would have a key goal disallowed in the game. The video documents the last :40 of the conference call to Toronto, and our reaction.


Bryan Murray pulled out all the stops and threw a car out on the ice to play Left Wing. He was offsides twice.

The second intermission saw us continuing to enjoy a delicious Chicken Strips and fries basket from the Chicken equivalent of Pizza Pizza.

Outside our section they had the Molson cup for display, which documents award winners in the Ottawa franchise. Two Penguins were on there, for Sens player of the year.

Early into the 3rd period, John spotted a Laraque Winter Classic Jersey from afar, hes standing in the entranceway to the seats.

The third period ticked away fast, and Father Time was hovering around Scotiabank, and then 87 sent Father Time and Elvis home in one shot...


And before you knew it, another handshake was taking place in Ottawa between the Pens and the Sens...

One last irrelevant video...


Exiting, dejected and stunned....

A rather groggy me woke up just in time to take this highly focused picture approaching customs to get back to the States.

Several hours later, back to Rochester, with this delightful note left by my roommate.

All in all, the trip was beyond awesome. The biggest surprise to the three of us was the absolute class and congeniality of all the Sens fans we met. The people in front of us were awesome, and the only people that razzed us were people our age, drunk, and shirtless. We went to the Winter Classic, and thought Buffalo fans were nice, but as nice as they were, Ottawa was very welcoming. Lets go Pens!!!!