– FAQ section updated.
– There is apparently no truth to the rumour that the Ducks are interested in trading D Chris Pronger to the Kings for D Jack Johnson and the fifth overall pick in the upcoming entry draft. Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi vehemently denied the rumour as “completely false”. There will much discussion about trades leading into the draft now that the Stanely Cup finals are over. Traditionally a limited number of deals are completed during this time period so don’t react to very rumour you hear. Many media outlets had reported and confirmed this, as I had, but apparently the deal is not happening.
– Leafs’ GM Brian Burke said yesterday that his plan is to bring former Leafs GM Cliff Fletcher back, likely as the club’s senior adviser, and expects to ink Fletcher to a new deal as soon as possible. According to Sun Media, Fletcher, 73, said he would be more than happy to remain with the organization and expects to do so.
– The chances of the Canadiens reverting to Quebec ownership became stronger yesterday when a group headed by Stephen Bronfman and Joey Saputo was identified as the third Quebec-based bidder for the team. Both will be relying on family resources to support what is reportedly an opening bid of $450M for the team, the Bell Centre and the Gillett Entertainment Group. While both have been successful in their own right, they are best-known as the sons of multi-billionaires.
– According to sources, Panthers’ D Jay Bouwmeester has already told the team that he will not return next season, meaning he will sign as a UFA sometime after July 1. Because of this, you can expect the Panthers to try and swing a deal so that J-Bo doesn’t walk for free. The price for Bouwmeester’s rights could be as high as a first-round pick. That, combined with fitting his salary under the cap — Bouwmeester made $4.875M this past season, but will almost certainly get a big raise — could put him out of range for a lot of teams.
The Flyers would like to fit him in despite their cap issues. One option to clear space for Bouwmeester is moving F Joffrey Lupul. He will make $2.9M next season before a 4-year/$17M extension kicks in.The Oilers, Canucks, Flames and Sens are also believed to be interested. J-Bo is believed to be interested in signing in Western Canada, though, so the Canucks might be at the top of his list. Stay tuned.
– According to the Toronto Sun, if the Coyotes move to Hamilton, captain Shane Doan will try and become a UFA. The winger has four years left on a deal that pays $4.55M per season and includes a no-movement clause. If the Coyotes relocate, the belief is Doan could argue the clause was voided and he should be allowed to test the market. Yikes. Stay tuned.
– It would appear that Habs’ captain Saku Koivu’s days with the Canadiens are finished. The Habs’ forward will likely test the UFA market, although talk has resurfaced that he’s going to pack his bags for Minnesota to play with brother Mikko. The Habs, meanwhile, are trying to sign D Mike Komisarek and RW Alexei Kovalev. Komisarek is expected to test the market, while Kovalev is expected to stay in Montreal. A rumour had circulated that Kovalev was offered a new deal that included guaranteed captaincy of the Habs. Stay tuned.
– According to TSN, there are many teams interested in the services of former NHL goalie Robert Esche.
Esche posted a 21-14 record, with a 1.87 GAA and .912 SV%, along with nine shutouts in his 2008-09 campaign with SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. Esche was last seen in the NHL picking up a 5-9-1 record, along with a 4.32 GAA with the Flyers in the 2006-07 season. The free agent goalie pool is very deep, including the likes of Nikolai Khabibulin, Dwayne Roloson, Martin Gerber, Manny Fernandez, Manny Legace, Antero Niittymaki, Mathieu Garon, Jason LaBarbera, Andrew Raycroft, Ty Conklin, Brian Boucher, Scott Clemmensen, and the list goes on and on, so it’ll be interesting to see if there really is that much interest in the services of Esche. Stay tuned.
– This past weekend, some people within World Wrestling Entertainment leaked a story to PWInsider.com saying Batista had suffered a biceps tear. Their story was later changed to a torn tendon in his left biceps and that it was not a full fledged muscle tear. The webmaster of his official website, Demon-Wrestling.com, soon acknowledged his injury, confirming it as a torn tendon.
The webmaster wrote: “We originally thought Dave had a torn muscle (he’s been hurt for around 2-3 weeks), but this has now been confirmed as a torn tendon.”
According to their report concerning Batista’s injury, he suffered a completely torn left biceps requiring surgery that will keep him out of action for at least four months – not a torn tendon. A full fledged muscle tear is much more serious than a tendon tear, so something’s clearly not adding up. If he did indeed suffer a torn tendon like his official website is saying, the amount of ring time he would miss would be considerably less.
Among some of the wrestlers, there has been plenty of skepticism over the true severity of his injury. The injury supposedly occurred over three weeks ago, but he had been working television, PPVs, and live events without any sort of tape on his arm whatsoever, let alone showing any signs of an injury. If the biceps tear was serious, and people within WWE are claiming it was serious enough for him to get surgery two days after his championship victory, it would certainly have been taped up. If the injury was not serious enough to require tape, one would think there would be no need for surgery.
Even partially torn biceps injuries are taped up, but considering WWE is saying he suffered a full fledged muscle tear, it makes the severity of his injury all the more suspicious.
At Monday’s RAW in Lafayette?, the wrestlers were told his injury was legitimate and he was having surgery the next day. The talk among wrestlers in the locker room, however, is that his injury angle on RAW was a cover-up to have him avoid being suspended due to a violation of the company’s drug testing policy.
For what it’s worth, Monday’s show was re-written several times during the day and the creative team was given a list of wrestlers not to use for the foreseeable future prior to show time as a result of drug testing held earlier in the day and at shows over the weekend.
WWE covering up a drug test failure with an injury would certainly be a major change of philosophy on how they handle their drug testing policy, and while things appear fishy, right now there is no concrete evidence indicating that has happened.
– The Wrestling Observer reports that the WWE creative team patterned Vickie Guerrero’s promo this past Monday on Raw after a promo indy worker Trina Michaels cut at a recent AWS show that ended up on YouTube.
The Wrestling Observer wrote the following in his recap for Monday’s episode of RAW: “The wording of this promo appeared to be taken from a 4/26 promo done by former porn star Trina Michaels on an AWS show in Los Angeles. The wording was slightly different because it was a different story, but so many of the phrases were identical and that it was so recent, on youtube, and the fact Michaels is friends with people in creative makes it extremely possible that’s where a lot of the promo was inspired from.”
Trina herself commented on the situation on her MySpace account, writing: “If they (WWE) did get the idea from my promo I take that as an honor. I always thought Vickie was awesome in her role. Now time for someone to fill that spot. Hmmmmm.”
– The Red Sox have yet to resume discussions on a contract extension for OF Jason Bay, who is eligible to become a free agent at the end of this season. In spring training, Bay and the Sox made substantial progress toward an extension, but they broke off talks when the erratic market for outfielders pushed the sides too far apart. Nearly 2.5 months later, with Bay almost certainly on his way to an All-Star Game appearance, talks have yet to restart.
– Matt Hobgood, the Orioles’ first-round pick in Tuesday’s amateur draft, expects to take a physical in Baltimore in two weeks, and barring any unforeseen developments, he will sign a contract June 27. Financial terms have not been officially agreed upon, but Hobgood likely will receive a bonus in the $2.5M range, which was MLB’s recommended offer for the fifth slot in 2008.”
– According to the Washington Post, the Wizards have a deal on the table to acquire Spurs’ G Manu Ginobili. Although this cannot be confirmed, the story is believed to have happened like this: the San Antonio Spurs contacted the Wizards to inquire about what it what it would take to get the No. 5 pick in the 2009 NBA Entry Draft. The Wizards’ response was Manu Ginobili. A deal is extremely unlikely to happen.
– According to the NY Daily News, a second adjournment will be granted at WR Plaxico Burress’ scheduled hearing on Monday, pushing the case back to September. Burress had already received an adjournment back in March, and another one will be requested at the June 15 hearing. While there is no plea deal on the horizon, attorney Benjamin Brafman is confident about Plax’s chances of playing football this year. Brafman does not believe a trial will take place until after the season in 2010.
– The Vikings will send a member of the coaching staff and a trainer to Mississippi to work out QB Brett Favre, according to ESPN.com The rendez-vous could happen as soon as this weekend. Coach Brad Childress had stated previously that the Vikes want to see Favre throw to determine how his arm is coming along post-surgery. Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has been a long-time friend of Favre’s, so he would be the obvious candidate to supervise the workout.
– Padres’ RHP Jake Peavy (ankle) is out one month. He’s likely out past the All-Star break. An MRI revealed longitudinal tearing in the posterior tibialis tendon in his right ankle. He will be wearing a cast for at least a month and the medical staff will then re-evaluate the ankle at that time.
– The following is the latest online MySpace blog entry from former WWE Diva and current TNA Knockout Lisa Maria Varon (aka Victoria/Tara)
Response to a Vicious Lie
I try not to respond to rumors. It’s a lose-lose situation. If you don’t respond, it seems like you may be avoiding the rumor because it is true. If you deny it, you are bringing more attention to a lie. Well, in this case I’m gonna respond. A MySpace friend emailed me yesterday to let me know that a wrestling gossip website is claiming that they have an anonymous source or sources that say I was Chris Benoit’s secret mistress at the time of his murder-suicide. First let me say, this is absolutely false. I invite the “reporter” from that website to come to my home city, and I will submit myself to a polygraph. If this website is at all concerned with the truth, they should jump at the opportunity. But frankly, I think they are just concerned about sensational headlines, and couldn’t care less about the facts behind it.
And the timing sure is conspicuous.Years after the event, but hours before my TNA wrestling debut. Could it be that a certain wrestling organization is concerned about what kind of impact that I will make in TNA? And what kind of coward would make such a powerful claim, and hide in the shadows of anonymity. Come forward. Legitimize your claim.
I have made every effort to move on and take the high road. The worst thing that I have said is that I wanted a different role. Believe me, in nine years with that organization, I have been aware of behavior so deviant that it would shock the devil himself. But as the old saying goes, the only thing certain about a mudslinging contest is that everyone gets dirty.
And finally, let me say this. To spread a lie like this hurts the survivors of a tragedy that already have gone through immeasurable suffering. Although it doesn’t excuse his behavior, studies on Chris Benoit’s brain after his death showed severe damage from years of wrestling-related injuries. That, mixed with mood and hormone altering drugs led to a horrible outcome. Before that, as we all have heard, he was very dedicated to his family. Don’t drag these victims and their families through vicious lies for the sake of attempting to take the wind out of my sails.
Again, I think the website that first posted this should feel obligated to come out here and polygraph me. Stand by your story.
But in the end, all you’ve done is hurt some innocent people with lies, and frankly, pissed me off, and motivated me to make TNA as good a product as I can.
Lisa Marie Varon
TARA is RIZING
– Bobby Lashley spoke on the Hits the Ropes radio show regarding a number of topics. Here’s what he said;
His status with TNA: “I had some sit-downs with (TNA president) Dixie Carter. We’re working something into the (Main Event Mafia) angle to be part of their show. Being a professional wrestler is in your blood. Wish I never left it in the first place, but under the circumstances, I did.”
A possible return to WWE: “I’d rather not talk about it too much. I’ve been in talks with TNA. If people are going to see me coming back, it’s probably going be with TNA.”