I had purchased pre-sale tickets for the Sens game that afternoon way back in early September - so long ago, that it felt the day might never come. I was eagerly awaiting this game for a special reason. Not just because I love going to Sens games, nor because I was interested in seeing their new third jerseys.
I was there on "Back in Black" day to see one player in particular. And he wasn't even wearing one of those snazzy new black sweaters.
The player I was there to see was suited up in a number 6 jersey, wearing the white, red & blue of the New York Rangers.
I'm still not used to seeing Wade Redden wearing different colours. It didn't get any easier in person. From the moment he stepped on the ice for the warm-up, right through to the end of the Sens 4-1 win, I couldn't help thinking, "He's on the wrong team. He doesn't look right in that uinform." (Although he does look pretty sexy in this photo, from http://www.ottawacitizen.com/)
That being said, I was really glad I was there, and it was a great game to be at. We brought Caden to his first live NHL game. He loves watching hockey on TV, and going to see his Uncle Luke play on Sundays, so we figured he'd like to see a Sens game in person. He was pretty quiet most of the time, and refused to take off his coat, tuque and mitts until Cowan bribed him with cotton candy in the third period, but apparently he couldn't stop talking about it afterwards! His only issue seemed to be the traffic getting out of the parking lot - while stuck in the bottle-neck of vehicles trying to escape, he kept saying, "Go, Daddy! GO!" (Don't we all feel that way leaving SBP, though?!)
As for the actual game - it was great to see the Sens back on track! They dominated the Rangers, especially through the first period, when they recorded the first 14 shots on goal. Alex Auld played another strong game, leaving me to believe that Martin Gerber's not gonna get much of a shot in nets again this year. Too bad, so sad.
My new favourite Sen, Jesse Winchester, scored a goal, his second of the season, so that was pretty cool. It was like a changing of the guard, as he and Wade Redden both went tumbling into the net after he scored - my new fave taking out my old fave while scoring on the same play. Jesse's still a far cry from being my Wade, but I admire his grit and he seems to work really hard. I look forward to seeing him grow and develop as a Senator.
The other Ottawa goals came from Jason Spezza, who opened the scoring, Nick Foligno, who had actually scored earlier but the goal was disallowed after they said he touched it with a high stick (bullsh*t), and the captain, Daniel Alfredsson.
Wade did manage to earn a point on the lone Rangers goal, collecting the second assist on Markus Naslund's tally. It was pretty cool to be scored against and still be able to cheer and smile!
But for me, the absolute best part of the afternoon was seeing the video tribute to Wade Redden on the jumbotron about 6 minutes into the game. During a TV-time out stoppage, my mom elbowed me and pointed to the big screen. Matchbox 20's song "How Far We've Come" was playing, with clips and images of Redden flashing across - videos of him scoring goals and celebrating wins with his teammates, pictures of his signing autographs and posing with kids at CHEO, a shot of him holding the trophy the year they beat Buffalo to become the Eastern Conference Champions and advance to the Stanley Cup Finals...
After the classy video tribute was over, they thanked Redden for his 11 years in Ottawa, and all the the valuable things he did for the team and the community. By this point, the fans were up and cheering, giving him a well-deserved and lengthy standing ovation. Redden rose from the bench and waved his glove at the fans in thanks.
I had a lump in my throat; I had tears in my eyes. Only afterwards did I find out that my mom was struggling to keep her emotions in check too, and my sister actually even had tears streaming down her cheeks (which she's blaming on being overly-emotional at 8 1/2 months pregnant...but I think she would've cried anyway...)
Being there for that moment - after all the crap I've had to go through as a Redden fan over the years - it made it all worthwhile. Seeing him recognized for his contributions and seeing an arena full of people applaud him - it made me proud to be a fan of Wade Redden's. And while I had hoped I'd never see the day that he'd be sitting in another team's colours and waving to the fans in his return to Ottawa, I'm so glad I was there to see it. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world.
He's still #1 in my heart.
I think it turned ten o'clock but I don't really know
And I can't remember caring for an hour or so
Started crying and I couldn't stop myself
I believe the world is burning to the ground
Oh well I guess we're gonna find out