Monday, July 03, 2006

World Cup Weekend Recap

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

Monday night means that its time to hand out this week's Hazie awards. For those of you who haven't been here before, the Hazies are awarded to those who have put in notable performances over the last week or so; to those lucky few, they get a Hazie and have the title of Hazel's Hero bestowed upon them. While Hazel hasn't approved the list of nominees - we'd like to think that she would give her trademark smile and thumbs up to this week's winners.



Everyone knows that Hazel is a big hockey fan (we would like to think that she is still part of Leaf Nation), even the most ardent Leaf fan would have to put our intense dislike of everything that is the Detroit Red Wings and say congratulations to Steve Yzerman who called it a career today. Yzerman, a rarity in the modern NHL spending his entire 22 year career with Detroit, led the Wings to three Stanley Cups and was part of the Canadian National Team that won the gold medal at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. Yzerman winds up his career finishing sixth on the all-time scoring list with 692 goals and 1,755 points. Yzerman was always a Leaf killer, and Leaf Nation hated him for it ...but we've got to give it up him. The NHL loses one of the good guys in the game.

If you have read this page before, you know that I regard Anaheim GM Brian Burke as a hockey god - even if he is American. Burke did it again - while most GMs in the league were asleep at the switch or trying to put a deal together with Edmonton, Burke pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal that sees Anaheim picking up Edmonton Oilers stud defenceman Chris Pronger. Burke, who has never been afraid to make a big trade, picked up the one of the top three defencemen in the NHL for a good second line player in Joffrey Lupul, a prospect in Ladislav Smid and a couple of draft picks (which will be late round picks, given how high Anaheim if going to finish this year). Anaheim now has 2 of the top 3 defencemen in the league on their roster...without hurting their current team. Burke is a freakin' genius...and we think Hazel would rewards "smarts".

In case you have been living under a rock, or in the United States where they don't care about the World Cup, you have undoubtedly heard that the World Cup is down to the final four. Three very good games this past weekend, and one that was a bit of a blowout - still though, there were some notables at the tournament.

German goalkeeper Jens Lehmann came up big for the host nation against Argentina on Friday. The game finished 1-1 after extra time and ended up being decided on penalty kicks. Lehmann stuffed Argentina twice in penalty kicks as the Germans won 4-2 on kicks.

Italian striker Luca Toni, who had been silent up until last Friday, announced his presence at the tournament with two goals in a 3-0 win over the Ukraine. Toni fought through a hold in the box for his first goal - and had a cream puff for his second...but two goals nonetheless. Germany beware tomorrow, the Italians look like they might be pulling out that horseshoe.

Brazilian striker Ronaldo scored against Ghana in the round of 16 game to move into first place on the all-time World Cup scoring list with his 15th. Not too bad for a guy that everyone in Brazil, even Brazil's president, was calling "Fatty". The talk is that this will be Ronaldo's last international tournament - losing to France was not the way he wanted to go out...but moving into first place on the all-time scoring list isn't a bad way to wave "Buh Bye".

I couldn't do Hazel's World Cup Heroes without handing out a Hazie to a player from the Seleccao das Quinas, aka the Portuguese National Team. Portugal's goalkeeper Ricardo topped Lehmann's performance with THREE saves against England during penalties. Ricardo stopped English stars Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher - he almost stopped Canadian-born Owen Hargreaves, getting a glove on the ball. Three saves during penalty kicks at the World Cup is just plain sick. That is a performance for the ages.

Honourable mention goes to Owen Hargreaves, who England's best player on Saturday. Hargreaves has been forced to take a lot of crap from the British fans and media - most of it centered on the fact he wasn't born in England - but he has perserved. We think Hazel would admire a guy who continued to fight doubters and their ill informed perceptions - especially when it centers around where they were born. Right New England?

I read that Cleveland's Travis Hafner hit his fourth grand slam on Saturday. Four grand slams in three months, who does this guy think he is? Pat Tabler? (he of the almost .500 BA with the bases juiced). They say chicks dig the long ball...and we know Hazel likes to say "Buh Bye".

For those of you keeping track - the standings in the Hazelspeeps Fantasy Baseball Pool on yahoo for the week ending July 2. Some changes in the standing this week - read on to find out who is making hay.

77.5 - The Bronx Zoo - owned by Sparky, who called off the truce with Hubie by reminding him that patience is a virtue, and wins a lot of baseball pools.

69.5 - Shuggysux - owned by Pogue (the other Pogue) who actually got a shout out from Hubie for putting together a pretty good team.

67.0 - Sweater Puppets - owned by Hubie who has been strangely quiet on the waiver front - could he be thinking trade?

62.0 - Hazel Mae's Hackers - owned by El Presidente (me) who has one eye on the World Cup and the other eye on the waiver wire to jettison Cincinnati's Todd Coffey.

58.0 - Tina's Team
- owned by Tina who is in unchartered territory this week - but on the bright side, she's on top of Renee - I know I enjoyed it!

53.0 - Naughty Girls - owned by Renee who must be feeling a little loss not having Hazel Mae ('s Hackers) on top of her.

49.0 - GB Steam Boys - owned by George who has gone missing - Georgie PHONE HOME.

44.5 - Banana Peels - owned by the Golden Banana who really really really should be talking trade with Hazel Mae's Hackers.

39.0 - Fighting Bobcats - owned by Commish Drisc who graced Hazelspeeps with an inside look at how the legal system works in the U.S in terms of posting bail...and the assets or lack thereof of media personalities in New England.

30.5 - Leprachauns - owned by Irish, who should also be thinking trade with Hazel Mae's Hackers.

There you have it gang - after a very slow start and being stuck in the middle of the pack with Renee, Hazel Mae's Hackers are climbing up the standings - still a long way to go to catch the likes of Sparky, but there is still a half a season to be played...stranger things have happened - right Red Sox Nation?

Have a great one peeps. Back tomorrow with World Cup Semi-final breakdowns and the madness that is free-agency in the new NHL.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Night on Hazelspeeps - to sum up how I'm feeling right now with Portugal in the semi-finals (no matter what the haters say)

Fadista Louco - Antonio Mourao

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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