Hockey raises the bar

DEREK PUDDICOMBE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:57 AM ET

The next best place to watch one of the biggest games in the Senators franchise history, other than my family room with my two sons, is in a sports bar with a couple of hundred screaming Sens fans.

And what better than a sports bar that sits in the middle of Sens Mile -- the hottest playoff red zone in the city.

With the excitement of game day swirling around the city and fans getting fired up early, I figured getting a good seat near a big screen might be a problem. So I packed up and headed to MacLaren's on Elgin St. five hours before the puck dropped.

3 p.m.: I've arrived at MacLaren's and I haven't seen a single jersey, T-shirt or any other Sens paraphernalia anywhere along Sens Mile -- yet. I settle in at a table with four other customers, watching boxing and baseball on six large-screen TVs.

3:16 p.m.: I see my first Sens jersey enter the bar.

3:30 p.m.: The covers on the parking meters go on to state there's no parking along Sens Mile.

4:06 p.m.: There are about 70 people in the restaurant. About half of them are wearing Sens jerseys.

5 p.m.: Business is picking up. There are 160 people at MacLaren's and it's getting difficult to find a seat. The energy is beginning to build for Game 2.

5:30 p.m.: The bar is at capacity and a lineup begins to form outside.

6:53 p.m.: There are lineups at all the Elgin St. bars. At least 100 people are queuing outside MacLaren's.

7:26 p.m.: Anticipation is building. Every piece of Sens paraphernalia imaginable has now entered the bar. Fans who've been waiting outside for an hour and 15 minutes.

7:33 p.m.: Cheers erupt as the Sens take to the ice. There are boos for the Ducks.

8:00 p.m.: The "Go Sens Go" chant begins.

8:12 p.m.: Everybody stands and sings O Canada.

8:13 p.m.: "Go Sens Go" chant begins again, this time louder.

8:14 p.m.: The puck drops.

8:52 p.m.: First period ends scoreless. Crowd is subdued.

9:12 p.m.: Second period begins. More chants of "Go Sens Go" and "Alfie! Alfie!"

9:45 p.m.: Second period ends, still with a scoreless tie and with a definite mounting sense of frustration.

10:04 p.m.: Third period begins and tension is extremely high as the Ducks come close to scoring.

10:15 p.m.: Lots of activity and boisterous behaviour on Elgin St.


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