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Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - July 3, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba WEDNESDAY, JULY 3, 2002GOT A SPORTS TIP? Call in local results toll-free to 1-877-786-5786 before ll p.m. You can fax us at 727-0385. E-mail: sports(a brandonsun.comGoalies highlight free-agent frenzy Craig Button. Kasparaitis said it wasn’t just the money that lured him to New York. “I don’t want to be a funny guy, but the DVD they sent me about the Rangers organization and the stuff they did with me really made me want to play for the Rangers,” he said on a conference call Tuesday evening. “To be in the centre of attention and play in the biggest city in the United States. ... “I don’t think I was thinking about the money as much as I was thinking about being a Ranger and playing in Madison Square Garden, the world-famous arena.” Kasparaitis is only 29 but qualified for unrestricted free agency because he played IO years in the NHL and earned less than the league average salary of $1.64 million US last season. Kasparaitis made $1.15 million US with Pittsburgh and Colorado while recording two goals, 14 assists and 142 penalty minutes in 80 games last season. The Dallas Stars think they’ve found a gem in defenceman Phillippe Boucher, signing him to a four-year deal worth $9.5 million US Tuesday. Like Kasparaitis, the 29-year-old Boucher was a 10-year man making less than league average last season, qualifying for unrestricted free agency. Boucher had seven goals and 23 assists in 80 games with the Los Angeles Kings last season. In other moves, the Chicago Blackhawks re-signed goaltender Steve Passmore and the Philadelphia Flyers signed free-agent centre lan MacNeil. In addition to Kasparaitis, meanwhile, the Leafs also attempted to acquire Holik. “We were not able to get one we targeted so we’ll move on,” said Quinn. “We’re still looking to acquire talented players and we will stay in this free-agent market right now.” The biggest name still out there was power winger Bill Guerin, who was believed to be entertaining offers from Dallas, the Rangers and his own team, the Boston Bruins. Other unrestricted forwards on the market included Tony Amonte, Teemu Selanne and Theo Fleury. Defenceman Chris Chelios is also being sought after. Robert Lang and Adam Oates signed Monday, the first day of the league’s free-agent period. By Julie Scott Canadian Press AP/CP PHOTOS Top: Curtis Joseph was all smiles when he arrived in Detroit to sign a fat contract yesterday. Joseph said he chose Detroit because it gave him his best chance to win a Stanley Cup. Inset: Earlier in the day, Joseph said a tearful farewell to Toronto. Far Left: Rugged defenceman Darius Kasparaitis has signed a big free-agent contract with the New York Rangers. Left: Carman native Ed Belfour was quickly inked by the Maple Leafs to replace Joseph. All this came as part of a free-agent frenzy in the NHL, where unrestricted players became available to the highest bidder on Monday. went to the Stanley Cup final with the Carolina Hurricanes last season. “Martin is a key strategic fit for our hockey team and an important piece to what we are striving to accomplish in Calgary,” said Flames general manager MSBL ROUNDUP •- Marlins no match for Mutcheson ASSOCIATED PRESS Approximately 150,000 people lined the streets to welcome the World Cup champions home yesterday. Brazilian players worshipped at home By Adalid Cabrera Lemuz Associated Press BRASILIA — Tens of thousands of cheering, flag-waving Brazilians packed the streets of the capital yesterday to welcome home the World Cup champions. Escorted by four air force jets, the Boeing 767 carrying the team appeared in the clear blue skies of Brasilia at 9:30 a.m. local time and circled the city for 15 minutes. As the Varig plane, with five stars painted on its fuselage, landed, a loud cheer erupted from the crowd. As the plane slowly taxied toward the terminal, team captain Cafu and coach Luis Felipe Scolari leaned out from the two sides of the cockpit waving Brazilian flags. Holding up the World Cup trophy, •i Cafu was the first to emerge from the plane. He was followed by Ricardo Teixeira, president of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation, and the rest of the team. As they descended the red carpeted staircase, fireworks exploded and an air force band began playing a catchy samba rhythm. “I am very happy and I am sure all of Brazil is very happy,” Ronaldo told a TV reporter who rushed up to him on the runway. After passing through customs, the players climbed onto two sound trucks that carried them past an estimated 150,000 people who lined the 15-kilometre route between the airport and the “Plaza of the Three Powers,” where the Planalto Presidential Palace, Congress and the Supreme r Court are located. The players were to have climbed on two fire trucks that were waiting for them in the airport, but they preferred the sound trucks that were to accompany the fire trucks. Most in the crowd wore the yellow jersey of the national team and waved Brazilian flags of all sizes as the fire trucks slowly made their way toward the palace, where they were to be greeted by President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. Tuesday was declared an optional holiday in Brasilia, which allowed banks, businesses and schools to choose whether they would stay open or not. Two more welcomes were scheduled for later in the day in Rio de Janeiro and in Sao Paulo. t Matt Mutcheson pitched brilliantly and Kelly Hoffer became the first Manitoba Senior Baseball League player to hit a home run at Westbran Stadium this year as the Birde Blue Jays beat the Brandon Ora Dental Marlins 8-2 last night. Mutcheson allowed just three hits and a walk and one earned run while striking out eight for the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, Hoffer, who recently juuitu    J ay a ai*u ucij/tu uivui win the league Canada Day tournament, hit a home run, singled, drove in two runs, scored three times and stole a base. No player had hit a home run during a regular-season game at Westbran Stadium since the league switched to wood bats from aluminum this year. Ryan Borody added a triple and two singles and scored two runs for the Blue Jays and Shane Moffatt had a two-run single. Ryan Boguski took the loss for the Marlins, allowing four runs on four hits and five walks in six innings. The Blue Jays improved their record to 9-7-1 on the year, while the Marlins fell to 9-6-1. In other games last night, the Baldur Regals beat the Neepawa Farmers 11-3 and the Brandon Cloverleafs blasted the Killarney Lakers 13-5. Regals 11 Farmers 3 At Neepawa, Justin Cantion drove in four runs and earned a save by pitching three innings of relief for the Regals. Cantion had a double and a single at the plate and allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in three innings. He relieved starter Jay Steffen, who allowed one runs on six hits and a walk and struck out three over three innings. Steffen also drove in three runs on a single and a sacrifice fly and Darrick Jones had a double, two singles and scored three runs. Dwayne Wandy was roughed up to take the loss. He allowed nine runs on 11 hits and three walks and struck out two over four innings. Bryan White had three singles for the Farmers, and Baron Bradley had a two-run single. The Regals improved to 10-6-1, which gives them sole possession of second place, while the Farmers are slipping out of playoff contention at 5-11-2. Cloverleafs 13 Lakers 5 At Killarney, Tom Klapp continued his remarkable run of success, pitching a complete game to earn his eighth win of the season. Hip RrifteVt PnlnmKtn    ic    Q    1 A AAV. WiiWWii    ^AWVAVAVA    AO    VZ    A after allowing five runs on 11 hits and stnking out eight last night. Klapp also had three singles and drove in two runs, while Dean McBride drove in four runs on a double and a single and Jason Rae had two doubles and a single and drove in a pair. Kyal Brandt took the loss for Killarney, after allowing nine runs on nine hits and three walks and striking out six in seven innings. Mike Smith hit a solo homer and had an RBI-single for the Lakers, while Landon Cameron had four singles and drove in one run. The first-place Cloverleafs improved their record to 14-4, while the last-place Lakers slipped to 4-11-1. —Brandon Sun y FEA TURE J) £ VEN In The City —_ AAA HOCKEY CHALLENGE — The annual summer international hockey tournament, featuring players born in 1984-1987, runs all day at the Kinsmen, Optimist and Sportsplex arenas. In WESTMAN —_____ SENIOR B baseball — Plumas is at Minnedosa, Carberry visits Neepawa and Arden plays at Cypress River in Santa Clara League action at 7 p.m. Hamiota is at Virden in Southwest League play at 7:30 p.m. On Television —_ CEL FOOTBALL — The Montreal Alouettes play the Toronto Argonauts at SkyDome at 6 p.m., on TSN. CT—- The New York Rangers opened the vault even wider while some key pieces of the goaltending puzzle fell into place as the NHL’s free-agent market went wild yesterday. A day after signing forward Bobby Holik, the Rangers outbid the Toronto Maple Leafs in the race for unrestricted free-agent defenceman Darius Kasparaitis. “The Rangers offered more money and were more flexible on the structure of the contract,” said Kasparaitis’s agent Mark Gandler. The Rangers’ bill for the two players is $72 million US. After giving Holik a five-year, $45-million US contract on Monday, they signed Kasparaitis to a $27-million US, six-year deal. The Leafs, meanwhile, were busy signing Ed Belfour after Curtis Joseph announced he was leaving Toronto to pursue a Stanley Cup with the Detroit Red Wings. “Every year, you see the big Cup being raised and if you’re not on the ice, you’re dreaming about it,” said Joseph. Cujo departed, he says, because the Red Wings afforded him something the Leafs apparently could not: a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup before he retires. “Probably a year ago I couldn’t have seen myself playing anywhere else,” the star goalie said at a news conference. “But Detroit offers a very unique opportunity. Everybody who plays there says the future is now. That was enticing.” Joseph, who became an unrestricted free agent on Monday, chose the Wings over offers from the Rangers and the Leafs, according to sources in Toronto and Detroit. The Red Wings, who lost goaltender Dominik Hasek when he retired exactly a week ago, will pay Joseph $24 million US over three years with a fourth year contingent on the team’s playoff performance. Detroit paid Hasek $8 million US in salary last season. The Leafs reportedly made a three-year offer in the $26.5-million US range with incentives that could trigger the fourth year that the 35-year-old Joseph desires. With Cujo headed to Hockeytown, Toronto quickly came to terms with Belfour. “Our first priority was to get the goaltender that we felt could play at the high levels that we have experienced in the past little while and Eddie certainly fits that,” Maple Leafs coach and general manager Pat Quinn said. The Leafs will pay 37-year-old Belfour, also an unrestricted free agent, $13.5 million US over two years. The signings of Joseph and Belfour left veteran goaltenders Mike Richter and Byron Dafoe on the market. Meanwhile, the Calgary Flames signed forward Martin Gelinas, who fell JESUS SHA. ;