I’ve never been so affected by the outcome one game. I’m not even sure why. I knew coming into the game that a heart-wrenching loss was a very good possibility, but as Antoine Vermette’s shot slid into the empty net, I sat in my seat in section 305 completely speechless and bewildered. I slowly drug my feet to Studio 200 (to meet up with a friend, not to watch Sylvester and co.), and just looked around at the empty arena, wondering what happened.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t know what happened to the two-goal lead. I don’t know what happened to our once elite goaltender. I don’t know what happened to Pominville and Hecht and some of the other vets who suffered a brain lapse late in the game. I don’t know what happened to this season. I don’t know what happened to this team.
The first half of the third period was a party. An absolute party. I high-fived nearly everyone in my section after Roy and Pominville put us up. For my only trip to the arena this season, I got wrapped up in the atmosphere that I had grown to love over the past two seasons. I thought we were well on our way to a victory. Judging by the electricity in the building, I wasn’t alone.
Schubert taps home the short-handed goal, but the electricity didn’t leave. We were still on the power play (even if it has been absolutely atrocious of late), and we still had a one-goal lead. I was surprised, too. I thought the air would be completely let out of the building, the result of a fan-base that has been let down too many times this year. But it wasn’t. The fans were still into it; the building was still rocking. Color me shocked.
A minute and a half later, it was gone. The familiar trio of Alfredsson, Heatley, and Spezza broke our collective heart. You could hear cheers, but it was from the decent amount of Sens fans. I’m not sure there is a worse feeling than seeing opposing fans elated in your building. It’s awful; a real punch in the gut. I’ve always wanted to go to a Leafs game, but now I’m not so sure I could handle it.
The defining moment of the night (maybe the season) came after Alfredsson’s second goal put the Sens up by 2. Seventy-five percent of the crowd immediately stood up and rushed to the exit. I’ve never seen an arena empty so quickly. The fans were angry and utterly disgusted. I didn’t leave, and I’m not sure why. If I could have it to do-over, I would have joined the hasty crowd and left my seat. It was a gigantic middle finger to the organization (a well-deserved one at that), and I should have taken part in it.
The puck dropped, and the people booed. I hope the team was ashamed. I hope they heard the boos and felt absolutely awful. This year has been a disgrace. This is a team that had a knack for winning the big game in dramatic fashion over the past two seasons, and now the tables were turned.
Listening to the whiner line on WGR this morning, I heard a caller that said something like this: “This was a team that is two excellent players from not quite being good enough”.
At this point it is beating a brutally murdered horse, but that point is more valid than it has been all year.