Sunday, July 04, 2010

An Open Letter to Sergei Gonchar - Welcome to Ottawa!

Dear Sergei,

On behalf of all local Sens fans, we here at ASB want to express our happiness and excitement that you chose to come here. Your unique skill set is just what this team needs, and what Brian Lee longs for. Can't wait to see you suit up on the red, black and gold come October!

In the meantime, we wanted to take a step back from hockey and give you a warm, Canadian welcome to your new home tome... Welcome to Ottawa! Below, we've developed a few pointers that should help you settle in to your new surroundings. Hope you enjoy!
Ottawa is the name of your new city, and despite what your countryman Alex Kovalev says, we are not a suburb of Montreal. No, no, we are an actual city and the 4th largest in Canada by population. In fact, and despite what Jason Spezza might think, we (not Toronto) are Canada's capital!
While you'll probably live in Kanata Lakes, we hope you embrace Ottawa as a city. That means considering yourself an "Ottawattian" (fun to say, right?). There are several random things that go along with being an Ottawattian, especially in the view of people not from Ottawa (aka "Nottawattians"). Here's a few to remember:

- Everyone outside of Ottawa assumes you are fluent in French; just go with it.
- People will ask how you can bear the winters - but there only as cold as Moscow!
- You should also know that our summers are scorching hot, and that most people outside of Ottawa don't believe it.
- Everyone will tell you how much they love Ottawa and how clean it is. This is true as long as you avoid Vanier.
- They are called "floaties" not "water wings", and "donut holes", not neccessarily "Timbits".
- Everyone who visits Ottawa goes to Parliament Hill as a tourist destination. Just nod your head and smile, cause as an Ottawattian you should know the Hill is a really boring tourist destination.

When it comes to being a tourist, or a newcomer in your case, there is plenty to see and do! And by "plenty to see and do" I really mean "plenty to see and not touch", and by that I mean museums - cause we've got plenty! And that's really all there is to do! Yes, yes, Ottawa has a musuem for just about everything, including the Bytown Museum, the Agriculture Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Civilization, the Museum of War and, my fave, the Museum of Science and Technology, to name a few. At the museum of Science and Tech, make sure you walk through the Crazy Kitchen. It's this real crooked kitchen that has the same effect of being hit blindly by Chris Neil followed by a punch to the nose from Matt Carkner, then bitten on the hand by Jarko Ruutu for good measure. Fun! Finally, the Daniel Alfredsson museum is scheduled to open in 2014. Get your tickets today!

Aside from all that museum fun, you'll definitely want to check out Ottawa's wealth of culinary delights. First stop? Go to The Works for a burger. It may sound boring, but have you ever had a PB and cream cheese burger before? Me neither. But The Works has it, along with plenty other wacky toppings. Maybe you can get them to create a "Gonchar Burger" - a lean paddy covered in Vodka. Just a thought.

Of course, you'll want to get familiar with poutine (pronounced "poo-tin", not "poo-teeeen"), but ensure the cheese is in curd form to make it authentic. And what would the Ottawa experience be without a Beavertail! You can enjoy one of those shacks on the Rideau Canal. In fact, I think ex-Senator Alexandre Daigle works in one of those now.

For nightlife in downtown Ottawa, there are two distinct camps. First, there is the Government workers who live it up from 4pm-6pm, who enjoy a post-work beers at the city's Irish pubs. Note, these are the same people that give Ottawa the reputation for having quiet, boring fans. There are just so many of them! Aside from these partyboys, there is another more outgoing group that heads out later in the evenings to the Byward Market and Elgin Street. These locations are where the real parties happen, and where you're still likely to encounter Christoph Schubert trying to pick up 19 year olds. The best part about the market is Ottawa's newer, not-to-forgetten culinary delight - the shawarma. There is one shawarma shop for every girl Schubert stikes out with. Meaning there are a lot of them.

The media in Ottawa is fantastic, especially for sports. There is a lot of local sports coverage, which focuses 90% around your new team - the Ottawa Senators. Also, have you heard of the satirical newspaper called "The Onion"? Well Ottawa has a local newspaper that is just as much of a farce called the "Ottawa Sun". They recently ran stories about how everyone wanted Jason Spezza run out of town - hilarious!

The final thing you'll need to know about being a citizen of Ottawa is that you must now hate Dany Heatley. This may not have been news as I know Eugene Melnyk likely put it into your contract. But, as fans, we appreciate your disdain for the guy.

Sergei, we hope this has been helpful as you begin your new, and, well, better life in Ottawa. We really hope you enjoy it here and remember, don't listen to a word Alexei Yashin says!

Yours truly,
Another Ottawa Senators Blog