(* = Lingo alert)
For those who are bilingual, you may find this loaf* interesting as the English and Chinese versions are not direct translation of each other. Hope you enjoy this little twist.
過往的六至七年，温哥華對加人隊的熱愛可說是有增無減。回想九＋年代尾如果想看一場賽事，當日下午不但可以買到當晚的球票，而且價錢及座位選擇也很多。反觀現在球隊己 (至2009年12月20日止) 連續售罄280賽事，這個記錄相信短期內都不會被破。同時間球票的價格也兩倍地增加，所以結婚之後方包也甚少踏足「通用體育館」(G.M. Place) 現場觀戰，寧可安坐家中享受高清直播。(註: 高清看體育真是一流!) 但今年有一球隊是方包欲罷「看」不能，那就是華盛頓首都 (Washington Captials) 和它的超級左翼 Alexander Ovechkin。
至2004-2005 年停賽了一季後，國家冰聯 (NHL) 為了幫助所有球隊開源節流而選擇不平衡的比賽時間表，令很多東岸的球隊都不能每一季在温哥華亮相。今季有幸兩大年少氣盛的球星: Ovechkin 及匹玆堡企鵝 (Pittsburgh Penguins) 的中鋒 Sidney Crosby 都作客加人隊，令方包也不禁奉上真金白銀入場看前者。
由於座位是「山上的一角」，方包入場便一個箭步走去作客那方看眾球員熱身，希望可近距離拍照留念。後因發覺相機的記憶卡留了在家中，方包只能用有限的內在記憶，但都捕捉了不少 Ovechkin 的影像。
加人隊最後以3比2擊退首都。很高興但也很失望因為Ovechkin 今場「交白卷」，無功而回，沒有機會表演他那剛柔並合的球技。2010 的冬奧冰球賽也買了一場俄羅斯對斯洛伐克 (Slovakia) 的球票，希望到時 Ovechkin 英雄有用武之地！
One of the most interesting debates around hockey circles is this: If you are the General Manager of a NHL team, who would you build your team around? Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin? For me, the choice is simple. It has to be the latter. While Crosby has won a cup and is regarded as a great player who makes his teammates better, I find Ovechkin to be eminently more refreshing, entertaining and charismatic – one I would definitely pay money to watch. In some ways, Ovechkin reminds me of Pavel Bure but with an added power component to his game. He plays with an edge that’s rarely seen on elite players. Whether you like that style or not, Ovechkin’s passion and enthusiasm are unquestioned. And to be able to watch him live on my long awaited return to the “Garage” is definitely a treat.
With all due respect to the Canucks, “Ovie” was the obvious attraction that evening and it showed with a large crowd congregated around the visitor’s end of the ice during warm-up. The buzz around the building was quite evident. I was fortunate enough to have found a prime spot right next to the visitor’s bench and had a clear view of entire Capital’s team. And like everyone else, I was snapping away with my camera. If I hadn’t left my memory card at home, I probably would have taken some video as well.
(If interested, have a look at the “Oven Tweets” section for my Twitter posts from that evening.)
The game itself felt short of my, perhaps unrealistic, expectations while most people thought it was great game with a playoff-liked atmosphere. I suppose the Canucks were not in the mood of playing an offensive, free-flowing game against the highest scoring team (I think) in the league. When the score was tied 2-2 in the 3rd period, I was hoping the game would go to a shootout just so I can see Ovechkin in a 1-on-1 showdown against Luongo. Alas it was not to be so the Canuck victory will have to do. Here’s hoping Ovie will shine against Slovakia when I get to watch him live again, in Russian colours, during the 2010 Olympics.
Item du jour
Highlights of the game