Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bruno Gama Delivers

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

Yesterday we introduced you to Portugal's Bruno Gama, one of the players to watch at this year's Under-20 World Championship. The youngster kicked introduced himself to the world with two goals to lead Portugal to a 2-0 win over New Zealand. Gama scored in the closing minute of the first half on a beautifully taken free kick from about 25 yards out, and closed the scoring with a penalty shot in the second. The second goal was not without controversy as the call from the referee came a good 10 seconds after the foul (announcers said it was called by the linesman), Gama was forced to kick twice (he scored on both attempts) after one of Portugal's players was judged to have left towards the net before Gama's shot.

All in all, Portugal played well but could have (should have) won by more; another case of some poor finishing. Next up is Mexico on Thursday in what is a must win if Portugal wants to finish on top of the group - the Mexicans spanked Gambia 3-0 today and will almost certainly duplicate that effort in their last game against New Zealand. A tie against Mexico could mean the group will be decided by goal differential and Portugal will regret not finishing their chances today.

In other football news, the U.S. lost to Paraguay by a count of 3-1 in their second game of the Copa America in Venezuela - for those of you keeping track, the Americans are 0-2 after winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup...the number 13 ranked team in the world, ummmm ok.

The second day of the NHL Free Agent market wasn't nearly as eventful as the first day; with most of the big names gone, some NHL teams focused on signing depth players to fill out their rosters. Yesterday's wrap-up:

Washington Capitals - likely going to be one of the most improved teams in the NHL this year - already having signed forward Nicklas Backstrom (thought to be the leading candidate for the Calder in 07/08) the Caps added three very useful players to help Ovechkin and Semin. Michael Nylander leaves the Rangers to sign a four year deal a day after the Caps signed D Tom Poti and Viktor Kozlov from the Islanders. The Caps will make the playoffs this year - likely at the expense of the Montreal Canadiens (keep reading).

Los Angeles Kings - add four NHL bodies to their roster; the addition of Ladislav Nagy, Michael Handzus, and Kyle Calder will definitely help their attack, though the addition of D Tom Preissing (4 years $11M) is a little strange. Preissing was overmatched and a non factor this year when the Tards played some of the NHL's more physical teams...tough to see Preissing playing against the Sharks and Ducks this year.

Montreal Canadiens - my man Johnny won't like this when he checks in tonight; but Bob Gainey's decisions are strange to say the least. Habs sign D Roman Hamrlik to a 4 year/$22M deal and C Bryan Smolinski to a one year deal. Gainey has not addressed Montreal's biggest concern - goal scoring at even strength. Hamrlik and Smolinski are defensively responsible - but neither is going to help the Habs offence.

Nashville Predators - the owner has instructed GM David Poile to trim payroll, so the Preds have traded a number of last year's front line players for draft picks, and looking to replace them with the likes of Radek Bonk and Greg DeVries. Ladies and Gentlemen your 2008/09 Kansas City Scouts.

Anaheim Ducks - we aren't going to question hockey god Brian Burke's judgment in signing Todd Bertuzzi, we're just wondering about whether or not Bertuzzi is a $4 million player.

Calgary Flames - signing Owen Nolan is going to add grit to the Flames lineup, but that's not what they were missing last year; we don't think Calgary has addressed their goal scoring woes with this signing...but we'll wait and see.

Portugal's Bruno Gama scores two goals to lead the Seleccao das Quinas to win over New Zealand.

New York Yankees P Roger Clemens picked up his 350th career win with a dominant performance over the Twins. Clemens gave up one run on two hits and a walk while striking out four in a 5-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays CF Vernon Wells had four hits, including two solo home runs, to lead the Jays to a 11-7 win over the A's; not good for last night's three play.

One more selection, Red Sox West C Russell Martin had four hits and drove in two runs to lead the Dodgers to an 8-2 win over the Braves...the Canadian-born catcher is going to start for the NL at this year's All-Star game.

Seems like we are starting every week in the hole - we'll get out of it tonight, by playing it safe.

Chicago over Washington - you've got to like the Cubs with Big Z on the mound; expect Zambrano to dominate the Nats.

Boston over Tampa Bay - we know the DRays have given the Sox some trouble over the last few years, but we'll take Matsuzaka over Kazmir tonight. Lay $100 - $200.

Oakland over Toronto - Joe Blanton goes up against Jesse "Rojo" Litsch who was called up to replace AJ Burnett (big surprise that Burnett is on the DL again). Lay $100 on the A's - $160.

That's about it for this morning - thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one Peeps.

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out.


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