thrawn had been trying to convince me to go to an Ottawa Senators game with him for quite some time. i had alway put it off thinking that obtaining tickets three months into the season would be virtually impossible. the Senators have been playing amazingly well during the first few months and have virtually stayed at the top spot since the season started. the new goalie, Dominik Hasek, and the new forward, Dany Heatley have been an excellent addition to the team. this year they must win the Stanley Cup.
the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the Senators’ nemesis ever since the Sens team started playing in 1992. Sens have been kicked out of the playoffs by the Leafs 4 times in 5 years. this year, though, things are different. as Don Cherry said, Sens are no longer intimidated by the leafs. he pointed to a specific instance where a Senator bodychecked a Leaf player in front of the Leafs bench, looked up at the entire Leafs team and grinned at them before skating away.
after beating the leafs 7-0 on january 21st, the two arch rivals had another match scheduled on the 23rd of january. senators had beaten the leafs 3-2, 6-5, 8-0, 8-2, and then 7-0, this next match would be the sixth between the two teams with ottawa winning every single match. awesome! the sixth match would also be the last match between the two teams before the playoffs and since the leafs had just lost a day ago by a score of 7-0, the january 23rd match was sure to be exciting.
so i was very surprised when i found tickets for sale on craigslist. after getting a confirmation from the person that yes they are still available, i asked dooh to go pick up the two tickets. usual price for those seats is actually higher so we were very lucky. dooh was very helpful and went out to get the tickets within half an hour of my calling him. with the tickets in hand thrawn and i were eagerly awaiting for the 23rd.
which also happened to be Election day in canada and the first time i voted in an election. last time i was in ottawa and Elections Canada had my permanent address as the Mississauga so i was unable to vote unless i travelled from ottawa to mississauga. in any case, i was looking forward to this year’s vote and was pretty excited about it.
after taking the day off, thrawn and i went to a primary school close to our house to cast our votes. the whole process was actually quite disappointing. i was expecting something grand and spectacular but it was very quiet and boring.. no mobs, molotov cocktails, music, crowds etc. just a hello, step this way, here’s a pencil and a ballot ( made out of flimsy grey recycled paper that wasn’t event cut properly on the edges ), step behind that cardboard box and choose the person you want to vote for. when you’re done fold it and bring it to me. they didn’t even ask for id.. i just told the old lady at the table what my name was and she used a worn-out ruler to cross out my name from the list of registered voters she had in front of her; a bunch of paper print-outs stapled together. very anti-climactic. but i will definitely vote again.
after voting we started the long 4 and a half hour journey to ottawa. i had seen the Corel Centre before while driving past it but thrawn had never seen it before. the building is huge and i really regret i never went there with lunato earlier when both of us were in ottawa. also, recently Scotiabank and the Ottawa Senator’s owner made a multiyear deal and renamed the Corel Centre to Scotiabank Place. horrible name in my opinion.
the match was to start at 730 and we were inside at 630. the place is huge and so open.. it was almost scary to see so many seats and such a huge open roof. the venue has a maximum capacity of more than 20,000 people and has been sold out consistently for the past few matches. we bought two coke bottles, paying $4.25 each for a single coke bottle.. thats the most i have ever paid for coke. crazy prices in there.
the game itself was awesome. the thousands of people, the incredibly loud crowd noise, the electrifying atmosphere, the GO SENS GO chants, and the Senators team… everything was full of awesome. the intro before the team skates onto the ice is one of the coolest things i have experienced. suddenly all the lights turn off and the crowd starts cheering and then there are bright red lights across the entire arena that turn on and off along with the sound of a beating heart. its very loud and you can feel you body shake because of the defeaning sound. i wish i had recorded more of it but i was worried about filling up my 256 MB memory card.
i didn’t realize that there would be no commentary during the game. 4 years of watching hockey on tv had given me the illusion that every hockey match would have commentary as well. but when we’re watching it live, its quiet.. well not quiet, the crowd is loud enough, but you dont hear the commentators. the seat to our left was emtpy and on the right was an elderly and very friendly couple. the people on our right and left were both SENS fans so that made the experience even more enjoyable. oh and the washroom stalls have an amusing notice in there.. i took a picture so you can see what im talking aboot. overall, both of us had an excellent time… especially when Senators scored first.. and then kept on scoring for a 4-1 lead :)
the game ended at 4-3 so toronto finally managed to score some goals. so far toronto has scored 12 goals and ottawa has scored 36 goals during the matches between the two teams.. woooohooooo go sens go!
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after the match we found out that the conservatives were sure to win the election and form a minority government. doh.. that robot stephen harper is not my idea of a prime minister. it took us about an hour to get out of the massive parking lot and we headed home. i drove first thinking i will drive to within 200km of toronto and then give it to thrawn. the weather was ok so the roads were fine. but we almost had a head-on collision with a deer on highway 416. that highway is incredibly dangerous at night. this was the third time i’ve almost been in a bad accident on that highway.
this time the deer was in the middle of the road facing away from the car. i saw some sort of an object in the middle of the road and it took about a second, a long long second, to realize its a deer looking away from me. the deer looked back towards the fast approaching car. as soon as i realized there is a live animal right in the middle of the road my brain stopped thinking and i lost direct control over what i was doing. i really felt as if i had given up control over my body and my instincts had taken over and were guiding my hands and feet. i started turning right to avoid colliding with the deer. the stupid animal also realized that it should not remain standing in the middle of the road….. and jumped right. omfg wtf holyshit godamn.. actually there wasnt even time to utter a single word.. everything was happening so fast. with any voluntary control over myself i felt my hands turn the wheel left and i managed to avoid hitting the deer by a mere 5 or 6 cm.. literally.
the entire episode took about 2 seconds.. one…. two. there was no time to brake but i know i lifted my foot from the gas pedal. the car speed was about 110 km/hour and high beams were on. i shudder to think what would have happened if the front headlights were not on high beam. or if there was snow on the road.. but i wouldn’t be driving at that speed if there was snow on the road. three incredibly short seconds and i missed colliding with a deer at 110 km/h by a mere 5-6 cm. we coasted to a slow 60 km/h while i asked thrawn if he was ok. he was, of course, freaked out as well but he was ok and he kept saying, ‘man, we really missed it by that much.’ very scary incident… but thankfully with no injury to anyone.
the rest of the journey was uneventful. my plan was to drive to within 200km of toronto and then give to thrawn but i started feeling very sleepy after passing kingston so i just stopped the car and handed it over to thrawn. there is no point in risking anything just to get home a few hours early. i told thrawn again and again that just stop somewhere if you start feeling sleepy.. and then curled up on the back seat and amazingly fell asleep. it wasnt a very comfortable sleep since i woke up repeatedly but still the rest was very welcome as i was pretty exhausted by that time.
i should write to my MP and urge him to do something about highway 416. twice i’ve almost collided with a deer; one living, one dead. and once during winter i was carpooling and the car spun out of control and almost landed in a ditch. 416 needs fences around it and needs to be cleaned more often. it doesn’t have as much traffic as 401 so once it snows the snow ust stays on the road and doesnt melt away. please fix this!
we reached home around 4 in the morning and both of us directly went to bed happily knowing that the Ottawa Senators had beaten the Toronto Maple Leafs yet again.. unbeaten since 2004!!