Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Duck Huntin'

OK, so my Sens lost Game #1 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night. You probably think that I went into depression; that I puked and screamed and tore my hair out.

Not so. After all, it was only Game #1. But even more than that, there's this pleasant calmness that has settled over me. It's like no matter what happens now, I'm satisfied. Of course, winning the Cup would be amazing, but even if they don't, I feel like we've accomplished everything this team set out to do this year - they've shaken the label of "choking dogs", they've played out of their reputation of being playoff underachievers, they've transformed into true champions. They've done something that only two teams out of thirty get to do every year, and that's play for a shot at Lord Stanley's Cup.

Now, putting all of that aside, there's nothing more that I would love than to beat those nasty Ducks tonight!! I felt the Sens played probably their worst game of the playoffs on Monday night (why?? I have no idea...) - And they still only lost 3-2! I can't imagine the Ducks playing much better than they did on Monday night, so I'd say if we correct the mistakes we made on Monday and play a little more rough'n'tough, we should be OK.

One thing's for sure. I think I developed the quickest hate that I ever have for a team on Monday night. I knew very little about that team from Anaheim before these Cup finals started, but I can already tell you that I despise Chris Pronger, the Niedermeyers, Getzlaff...They all leave a yucky taste in my mouth.

So tonight, we'll go Duck huntin' again...And hopefully, this time, we'll have something to show for it.


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Elgin is the Inspiration

Amidst all the hype of the Ottawa Senators making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, there has been one story that has gripped peoples’ hearts and brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

It’s the story of one of the Sens’ biggest fans: Little Elgin-Alexander Fraser.

Like thousands of people, I first was introduced to three-year-old Elgin a few months ago when the Ottawa Citizen featured a story on his participation at a Senators practice. The front-page photo was of an adorable, chubby-cheeked little boy grasped tightly in the arms of one of his heroes, Mike Fisher. Both Elgin and Mike seemed to have a twinkle in their eyes, and huge smiles on their faces.

Getting to practice with Fisher and the Sens was a dream come true for Elgin, who suffered from neuroblastoma, a rare terminal cancer that he was diagnosed with at the tender age of nine months. Elgin was in remission until this past January, when the cancer returned, and his family was told his time was limited.

That was when friends of Elgin’s family who had ties to Sens defenceman Chris Phillips and his wife Erin introduced them, and Elgin was immediately welcomed into the Senators family.

Last Wednesday night, Elgin attended Game 4 at Scotiabank place with his parents and baby sister, even though he was very weak and growing increasingly sick. On Thursday, Mike Fisher visited him at his home in Carleton Place, where they played cars and watched a movie. On Friday, doctors told Elgin’s parents one of his lungs had collapsed and he likely wouldn’t make it through the weekend.

On Saturday, with the Sens on the road in Buffalo and trying to close out the series, Elgin was at home with his family and friends watching the game. According to the story the Citizen ran this week, once Elgin grew too weary to keep his eyes open, his parents whispered the play-by-play in his ears. Several hours after the Sens defeated Buffalo to advance to the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history, Elgin-Alexander Fraser closed his eyes one last time and peacefully left this Earth.

His parents believe that Elgin fought to stay alive until he was sure that his heroes were going to play for the Cup.

Today, while the City of Ottawa was hosting a pep rally for the Senators at City Hall, both Mike Fisher and Chris Phillips were in Carleton Place acting as pallbearers at little Elgin’s funeral.

Fisher, Phillips, and the rest of the Senators organization have had Elgin’s family in their hearts since the little boy passed away, and one has to think that if they needed any more inspiration to win the Cup, this would be it. Knowing that Elgin will be watching and cheering from above has to give them an even greater desire to win it for him.

I know that I’ll be thinking of Elgin on Monday night when the Sens take the ice for the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Anaheim Ducks. I’m sure they will be too, and so will many of the fans who have heard Elgin’s story and prayed for him and his family since the Citizen first ran that story several months back.

I’m sure they’ll do him proud.


Monday, May 21, 2007

The Dance

I'm not sure I can effectively describe how I felt on Saturday, watching that hockey game. I was an absolute train-wreck for most of it. Words can't describe the ups and downs I went through over the course of 3 hours. One minute pissed off, one minute hopeful, one minute in tears of anguish, one minute being completely convinced that I might be the first 23-year-old to suffer a heart attack while watching a hockey game.

Since then, I've heard stories of people who had to leave their TV screens going into OT, because they were just as nervous as I was. They couldn't stand to watch.

For the record, I'm glad I hung in there. When Alfie finally scored the winner at 9:32 of Overtime...Well, I have no idea how to explain that feeling other that absolute EUPHORIA. I jumped. I screamed. I felt tears in my eyes, and I couldn't stop shaking. It was unbelievable. I wouldn't have wanted to miss it for the world, even though there were several times during the game that I almost locked myself in the bathroom and refused to watch.

I haven't gotten married, and I don't have children, so I can honestly say that moment was probably one of the happiest moments of my life, rivalled right up there by the night we received the phone call to tell us Caden had arrived. It was the sweetest, most poetic justice, to have Alfie scoring that goal, after it was he who took the heat last Spring when Jason Pominville went around him in OT of Game 5 vs. Buffalo in the Semis to end our season.

I've heard the stories of what it was like in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon, and part of me really wishes I could have been there to hear the horns blaring, to join the fans on Elgin street to baptize Sens Mile, to even just be one of the hundreds of people on their balconies waving a Sens Flag, cheering, singing, and high-fiving my neighbours. I also would've loved to have been at the airport when the team landed, to join in that celebration and to see their smiles and absorb that elation.

However, the party in Quyon was pretty friggin' awesome, too. Moments after the CBC cut to soccer (boneheads), I hopped in my car and toured around town, meeting several other cars with horns blaring and flags flapping victoriously. I was outside when a huge truck painted in Sens colours and loaded with fans chanting "GO SENS GO" drove by, and I was able to catch it on video tape. People were on the sidewalks proudly wearing Sens colours, whooping and laughing and shouting in excitement.

Then, when we went to Gavan's for Nick & Tammy's Mixed Party, the celebration continued. Many were decked out in Red, Black & Gold, with Sens tatoos on their cheeks and perma-grins on their lips. One of the best moments for me was up on the dancefloor, when the band paused between songs, I shouted, "GO SENS GO", and within seconds, the entire bar was roaring it at the top of their lungs. It gave me goosebumps.

I've been through a lot of highs and lows with this team. I've had a lot to cheer about; a lot to cry about. It hasn't always been easy, but on Saturday, it finally felt like it was all worth it.

Now we're four games away from the Stanley Cup.

Part of me still can't believe it.

The other part of me just can't wait...It's already been such a great ride.

And now we're there. We're at the dance. It's not an opportunity that comes often, so these are the days we have to savour, embrace, and make memborable...It's been a long time coming, and the Sens deserve it. So do their fans.

And now it's time to get ready for the Stanley Cup Finals...If we win that, I might just burst...


Friday, May 18, 2007



Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, have a good weekend everyone!

Oh...And GO SENS GO!! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ah, Who Wanted a Damned Sweep Anyways??

OK, I'm a little depressed this morning.

Visions of the Stanley Cup Final were dancing in my head, right up until Andrej Meszaros bitched up a couple of seconds into the game and Derek "The Diver" Roy popped one in past Ray Emery. Then all my bad feelings started churning again, and before I knew it, it was 3-0 Buffalo.

I shoulda known that 3-0 series was too good to be true.

The good news is that the Sens fought back, scored two quick goals late in the second, and carried the play in the third, although they were unable to beat Miller again for that crucial tying goal.

The bad news is that the Alfie line didn't score, and while it's necessary for the likes of McAmmond and Schaefer to step up (thanks, boys) - we still need our big guns firing, too.

I don't know what to think this morning. One second, I'm like, "Dude, we're still up 3-1, we got this thing in the bag!!", and the next, I'm all, "Oh shit, we lose the next one and they'll be calling us choking dogs again, and we never do well in afternoon games, and I knew I shouldn't have been all cocky yesterday......AGHHHHHH!!!"

So yeah, I'm kinda psycho today.

Never thought I'd be up 3-1 in the Conference Finals and be all psycho.

They gotta win on Saturday, or I'm going to suicide myself. I just can't take the pressure.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Longest Day

Today seriously is going to be the longest day ever. It's 8:45 AM, and I'm already twisted up in knots of anticipation over tonight's game. Most fans are probably feeling care-free, excited about the chance to sweep the Buffalo Sabres tonight in our Eastern Conference Final.

For some reason, I'm envisioning complete disaster. I have no idea why. This 2007 Playoff Edition of the Ottawa Senators has been nothing short of spectacular, giving me no reason to believe they won't come out all guns a-blazin' tonight and do their absolute, utmost best to bring this series to a close on home ice at Scotiabank Place.

Right now, I'm just trying to breathe and relax. This should be a fun day. I should be happy as hell. I should be looking forward to tonight's game like no other. I should be jumping with joy, and oozing with confidence.

So that's my goal for today...the longest day.

I'm going to get Sens Fever - in a good way.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

1 More Win...

The Sens won last night.


I can hardly believe it.

I have the utmost faith in my team, but if anyone had told me last week that we would be leading this series against the President's Trophy winners by a count of 3-0, on the verge of a sweep... well, I would have laughed my ass off.

Of course, I've always believed the Senators could take the Sabres in the Eastern Conference Finals, but I never imagined we'd have the stranglehold only 3 games in. And for some reason, I'm still nervous as hell. What if we lose the next game? Then Buffalo will have some momentum back...Then we have to go back into Buffalo, and if they win again...yikes...

Now, if the Sens play as well as they did last night, then I don't think I have much to worry about. They were so sound defensively, it was unbelievable. Buffalo hardly had any decent chances. The Sabres looked like a beaten team last night; they didn't seem to have much left in the tank, with the exception of Ryan Miller, who was the only reason the score wasn't bigger than 1-0. The Sens dominated all over the ice, holding the Sabres to only 15 shots all game, and there were only a few flurries (including one in the dying seconds) that caused my heart to race.

I'm so proud of this team. They're playing like the team people have always wanted them to be. They're ruthless, they're energetic, they're powerful, they're confident...

Dear God, please let them win tomorrow night...'Cause they deserve this opportunity.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Now THAT Was a Great Weekend!

What a weekend!

The Blog would like to wish Sara a Happy Birthday - hope you had a good time Saturday, even though someone broke your camera. (And that someone is still very sorry...)

Mere minutes after Sara left my basement, Joe Corvo scored in Double-OT to allow the Sens to take their first-ever 2-0 lead in a playoff series. You have no idea how excited I was. I think I almost fainted. It was an awesome feeling, especially after the Sabres tied it with 5 seconds to go in the third, causing me to almost puke. Then I started getting bad vibes, so the winning goal restored my confidence and made the victory that much sweeter.

It's a big game tonight, and I sure don't want them to let the Sabres up off the mat. Time to kick 'em when their down...GO SENS GO!!

Also, spent Mother's Day at the ball field, watching the Quyon Flyers take the West Carleton team 4-0 in their home opener. Congrats to the Flyers, and it was so great to have ball at the Quyon diamond again!

Have a great week, everyone!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Game #1 Goes to the Sens

Happy Friday to one & all, and a happy Friday it is indeed!! After all, my Sens came up with a big road win in Buffalo last night to open up the Eastern Conference final to steal home ice advantage, and it was great too see the Sens get some secondary scoring beyond the Alfie-Heatley-Spezza line! They chipped in too, of course, with Alfie zinging one by Ryan Miller on the power play and Spezza squeezed one by in the third. But it was Mike Fisher's shorty to open the scoring that really got things rolling, and Oleg Saprykin got the game-winner after Buffalo came back to tie it up, tipping the puck in after Dean McAmmond passed it to him out front.

Must say, I'm lovin' the fourth line. McAmmond is awesome, and he got the empty-netter last night after showing a burst of speed at the last second. The Sens really need those guys who hang in the shadows of the Big 3 to step it up this series, and last night they answered the call.

I was also impressed with how the Sens maintained their composure last night, even after Buffalo erased their 2-goal lead and had them back on their heels a bit in the second period. They didn't scramble or panic - they just kept playing hard and stayed calm. Their confidence is unwavering thus far, and it's great to see.

Now, I'm not so foolish as to think that the Sabres are going to roll over and die just because we won the first game. It was a big win, but after they tied it up, it really could have gone either way. While I thought the Sens played well, I know they can play even better, and I also know that we only saw a glimpse of what the Sabres can bring. There's no way this thing is gonna get done in 4 or 5 games.

But for the Sens, it was big and important and now they only have to win 3 more to get to the Stanley Cup Finals. And with this team, anything is possible.


Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Treading Water

Ever have one of those days where you kinda feel like you're in over your head?

Like you're drowning... And nobody out there wants to save you.

That's the kind of day I had. I think it's fair to say that I just had my busiest day at work of 2007. And that kinda scares me, because it's only the second week of May. Usually the "busy time" at MVT is in June. So, like, in other words, "Buckle up, Jill". Geez. The phone was ringing like crazy, everyone seemed to be getting on everyone else's nerves...It just wasn't a very good day. And nothing even went catastrophically wrong, it just felt like there was soooo much to do, and not enough time to do it.

Then, on the two-minute lunch break I took (I didn't even go for my walk), I flipped through my agenda and realized things aren't about to let up. I officially nominate May as the busiest month of the year. (So far.) There are mixed parties and showers and Mother's Day and ball games and brunches and golf tournaments and ducks racing down the Quyon River...All coming up in the next three weeks. Oh, and one other thing that I'm not quite accustomed to this time of year (but that I really, really welcome) - SENS GAMES!!

It's crazy. I'm not joking when I say I feel like I'm drowning. I'm literally panicking, trying to figure out when all this stuff is going to get done.

But I'm willing to bet that you're all in the same boat...It's just that crazy-busy time of year.

I guess all we can do is tread water and hope we don't drown.

Oh, and on the Eve of The Eastern Conference Finals - GO SENS GO!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Can My Heart Make It Through Round 3 ?!?!

OK, folks, here we go...Onto Round 3!!

That's right...The Eastern Conference Final!!!

I'm pumped. I'm psyched. I'm soooooooo excited!!

I was thrilled Saturday night when the Sens finally put the dagger through the hearts of those Devils from New Jersey, beating them 3-2 and taking the series 4 games to 1. You know, looking back, realizing that the Sens have only lost two games thus far in the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs through 2 rounds, you'd probably have trouble believing that I've almost suffered about a hundred heart attacks. But I have. The playoffs are very hard on my ticker. On game days, I'm just a bundle of nerves, and by the time the puck drops, I'm shaking all over.

So I'm not sure it's good for my health that the Sens have advanced to the third round, but I'm not going to complain.

However, with the Buffalo Sabres joining us in the Eastern Final, I can be sure that things aren't going to get any easier.

I'm so close to the Stanley Cup, I can taste it. I want it so badly. I can envision the celebrations; I'm already anticipating the sheer ecstacy of being the Champions.

And yet, as Coach Murray reminded after Saturday night's victory, once we laid the Devils to rest, we're still only half-way there. And the mighty Buffalo Sabres are the next big obstacle standing in our way.

I still have nightmares over last year's second-round horror-show, when those "unsinkable Senators" sunk...and sunk bad. And it was those damned Sabres that ran us into the ice berg. I still remember going into OT in Game 5, our very playoff lives hanging in the balance, when Buffalo took a penalty and my spirits soared, because I truly believed we were in the midst of battling back and making history. We were going to be one of those very few, very special teams that clawed back from a 3-0 deficit and won the whole damned thing.

Then, on that Ottawa powerplay, Jason Pominville made a break into the Sens zone with only Captain Daniel Alfredsson back defending, and he walked in around Alfie and deflated all of my dreams with one shot.

It was a heart-breaker.

So now, thinking about the Sabres and the series that awaits, my stomach is already fluttering with butterflies. It's time for revenge. Time to put that miserable series behind us and move forward into glory. It won't be easy, but this team, this year, has given me every reason to believe that they can do it. It's ours for the taking.

And it all gets going on Thursday night...


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Stranglehold

I've mentioned before the importance of that one pivotal game in a series. The one where your favourite team is ahead 2 games to 1. The one where they walk that fine line between being tied 2-2 and taking a 3-1 stranglehold.

That's the game my Sens were in tonight.

Yeah, every game is huge. Every game is pivotal. Every game is super-duper-important.

But that one game...You know what I'm talking about. It's just the most nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching, heart-stopping game everrrrr.

And tonight, yet again, the Sens WON IT!!!!

Now, we have that coveted stranglehold, up 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semis over the New Jersey Devils. It was another nail-biter, and my heart still hasn't returned to regular palpitations. It's awesome!!!

Tonight, the glorious, fantastic, miraculous Martin Brodeur (and if you don't believe me, just ask Bob Cole) - well, he kinda looked human. Alfie's goal to kick things off in the first was pretty sweet, but then Heatley's shot in the second came from an impossible angle, and it never should have went in. Somehow, though, it eluded The Golden Marty. And then Fisher's goal to make it 3-1 early in the third was shot from the blueline, and somehow just zinged in over Brodeur's glove - another save that he normally would've made.

Now, I have all the respect in the world for Martin Brodeur. He's a great goaltender, no doubt about it. And he won Canada a gold medal in the Olympics in '02, for which I will forever be grateful. But I'm sooooo sick of hearing the CBC commentators blow sunshine up his butt that I can barely stand it. You'd almost swear at times that Brodeur and the Devils are dominating the series, and that the Sens are getting by on luck alone. At least tonight, they didn't have so much to rave about.

Marty had an off-night.

Guaranteed, he'll be back "on" Saturday night. Winning this series won't be easy, but I think the Sens will come out gunnin' and get this thing done in 5, back in the Swamp, Saturday night.

But until then, I'll just enjoy The Stranglehold.


I Love Seth

OK, folks, my statements are printing out, so I have time for a very, very brief Blog!!

Last night I went to see "In the Land of Women", starring Seth, I mean, Adam Brody, and Meg Ryan. It was a movie unlike any I had ever seen before - very funny moments (Seth is in it, how could they avoid his dry, sarcastic, but oh-so-cute humour?), very sad moments, moments that made me feel sick and scared, moments of euphoric happiness, moments of complete understanding. It told the story of a young man at a crossroads in his life who decides to go live with and care for his aging grandmother, and ends up entangled in the lives of the women across the street - a mother battling breast cancer, and her teenage daughter battling life in general.

It was a movie that left me thinking about many different things - embracing opportunities, making the best of any situation, how important laughter is, and how important it is to make sure you never get stuck in a rut that you can't get out of. I highly recommend it (for the girls, at least...the boys would probably cringe. We know you're all jealous of Seth and how charming and cute he is.)

Yeah, it had me falling in love with Seth all over again, just like the first time I watched The O.C. Why don't they make boys like him around here? And you just know he's gotta be like that in real life, because he's like that in every show or movie he's ever been in...You just can't escape his dry wit and adorable smile. So yes, he is my "boy of the moment"...I love him!!!

Alrighty...Moving along...Game #4 goes tonight, and my stomach is already in knots. Really, really hoping for a win tonight.