Fresh baked “Fong Bao” from the oven – 方包出爐

Random musings & meditations straight from the oven. Hopefully some food for thought as well…

Archive for May, 2010

六度分隔理論 – 6 Degrees of Separation

有「五億探長」之稱的呂樂兩週前因胃癌在温哥華病逝,當地英文報章如The Province及 The Vancouver Sun都作出詳細的報導。家中的《五億探長雷洛傳》VCD 也得以重見天日,屈指一算這齣戲差不多是二十年前的出品。(當年劉華只不過是三十出頭。嘩! 明年豈不是他的五十大壽!) 戲中很多情節需是虛構但不減呂樂傳奇的一生。更意想不到的是方包一位舊同事是呂樂的後人!

六度分隔理論再一次成立!

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一切…由1967開始

無記的《由1967開始》一個月前在加國首播,很多珍貴的舊片段在螢幕上再現,勾起很多童年的回憶。但每集只得短短二十多分鐘覺得有點「唔夠喉」,唯有望梅止渴,在網上Youtube繼續集體回憶。瀏覽的過程令方包不禁會心微笑,只因能夠重温很多經典的劇集,資訊節目及廣告。現在每晚不看不但有點心不在焉,一些廣告金句也不段在腦海中浮現…….

「喂! 今晚阿Sir請食飯呀! 」

「随便坐! 」

Belated Trip Down Memory Lane

Autopsy of yet another playoff exit

On a night when Jaroslav Halak – behind an injury-ravaged defense corp – backstopped the Montreal Canadiens to a second round series upset against the defending Stanley Cup champs in 7 games, I could only lament another missed opportunity by the local hockey club. Granted even if the Canucks had somehow triumphed over the Blackhawks, they would be left with nothing to overtake San Jose. But to think the Eastern conference team in the Cup final would be one not named Pittsburgh or Washington……..*sigh*

It’s a shame this whole Vancouver – Chicago series was a disappointment because both teams never played their “A” game against each other in the same match. If that had happened, I have no doubt the series would have gone to 7 games and into overtime. At the end, games were won because the losing team didn’t show up. That’s why I don’t believe Chicago was better. More depth? Yes.

By now, I’m sure everyone has examined the wreckage that is the 09-10 playoff run. Allow me to offer up a couple of observations.

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Now it would be unfair to single out Roberto Luongo as the sole reason for the Canucks demise because there were plenty of blame to go around. The Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Demitra, Bieska, to name a few. When Kyle Wellwood was your best skater, something is not right. That being said, Luongo is, supposedly, the best of the bunch and his team look to him for direction and motivation. If he can’t be at his best, as proven in all the losses during this brief playoff run, this team is doomed for failure.

Compared to his first two years in Vancouver, something’s just not right about Luongo. Not so much physically but mentally. That’s why I’m buying into the notion that Luongo should be removed as captain, not that he doesn’t deserve it but, because he could do without the extra responsibility/distraction. Case in point, game 5 in Chicago. Before the game, Luongo declined to speak to the press and look how focus he was that night. Like Naslund before him, Luongo does not enjoy talking to the media and at times I felt he was “biting his lip” because, as captain, he couldn’t say what was really on his mind. And some of his post game comments during this playoff run irked me because it sounded as if he was “throwing his teammates under the bus.”

Then there is this gem after game 6:

“No matter what happened out there, I leave with my head up, not like last year. I battled for 60 minutes. I kept it under seven goals., which is an improvement.”

WHAT ?!?!

Honestly, I didn’t know what to make of that except to shake my head. Never thought I would hear such a comment especially when he’s been the second best goalie on most nights.  Does that sound like a leader owning up? Maybe that’s his own way of staying positive. In any event, perhaps it’s time to unburden Luongo and allow him to focus on what he’s paid to do – stopping pucks.

So, if not Luongo, then who should wear the “C”?

Like many, my choice would be Ryan Kesler but can he lead effectively when he’s injured? If Willie Mitchell leaves, which seems highly likely, none of the defensemen would qualify. That leaves Henrik as the only logical pick. Somehow I’m not convinced he can lead and raise his game to another level.

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Both L.A. and Chicago exposed the lack of size and toughness in Vancouver’s defense and Mike Gillis needs to address that quickly should the team run into the Blackhawks again in future playoffs. As well, only Ehrhoff, Edler and O’Brien are on the right side of 30 so getting younger is another issue. Dan Hamhuis, would be a good starting point.

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Gillis should also look at Chicago’s third and forth line as examples of what they need to look for this summer when reconstructing the bottom 6 forward group. Kyle Wellwood showed me that he does have something to offer in the playoffs but if there is a free agent upgrade out there, I would not hesitate to bring him in. The ideal situation would be for Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson to step in as the seventh and eighth forward, augmented with an older, gritty free agent. As for forwards 10 – 12, bring in more grit and someone who can win face-offs consistently.

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Finally, talk is cheap. Despite what the Sedins said about this year’s team being mentally stronger, more experienced and composed the exact opposite happened in games 3 – 4 which cost Canucks the series. I sincerely hope they mean it when they say they will learn from this. It’s getting tiresome to hear the same comments every year.

So, it’s off to the links they go…….

40 years of frustration continues…….

“Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress.”

          Thomas A. Edison

It’s been awhile since my last loaf* and I had wanted to share a bit about my recent trip to So Cal. But what transpired in the past 5 days in Canuck Land has prompted a response from this frustrated Fong Bao, yet again.

I wanted to believe the Canucks when they said they are a different, mentally stronger, team this season. Sadly, their actions from the past 3 games have indicated otherwise.

They had the dream start in game 2 but instead of going in for the kill, they let up and the hawks seized the opportunity and woke up. Momentum is a funny thing. Once you lose it, it’s hard to get it back. The Canucks lost it then and it’s proved to be the turning point of the series. You need to be relentless if you want to consider yourself a championship caliber team. Guess the Canucks never learned their lesson from last year’s game 4 against those same hawks.

After showing considerable restraint & composure in game 2, these Canucks couldn’t cope with the emotions and the frustrations and lost their discipline. The Burrows penalty, which led to the 3-1 goal, was the defining moment of game 3 which Vancouver never recovered from. More troubling was seeing Daniel Sedin chirping at Dave Bolland and taking needless penalties. I knew then the team was in a heap of trouble.

Then came the debacle of game 4 where the Canucks game plan unraveled completely. It’s as if some of the players have stopped listening to Alain Vigneault’s instructions. To make matters worse, the sub-par penalty kill reared its ugly head once again. When you give up 4 power play goals, you probably deserved to lose the game.

I know the hawks are easy to dislike given their arrogance, Dustin Byfuglien and what happened last season. But what irks me the most is they have players like Toews and Seabrook who willed themselves to raise their game to another level while our captain, and supposedly best player, lost his focus and gently pushed his teammates “under the bus” with his post game comments. Granted most of them probably deserve the criticism.

I think a few people out there would label me as a bandwagon fan. It’s not that I don’t believe but 23 years since I started following this team, I have yet to see any indication that the Canucks have what it takes to be a true championship team. The mentality is not there and they don’t have enough players who have the will and ability to rise to the occasion. Maybe we do need to go through one of those 5 year rebuilding jobs in order to get one or two of those special players who can.

So the wait continues…….

Time to turn my attention to England and the World Cup, which may prove to be another frustrating experience. Stay tune for another venting piece, England style, come June.