– Canucks GM Mike Gillis has left Sweden with a new offer on the table for the Sedin twins. The two sides, Sedins included, met with Gillis in person for two hours. Gillis presented his team’s offer before flying back to Vancouver. The Sedins and agent JP Barry are now analyzing and considering the offer, but won’t comment on either the term or money Vancouver has offered. Stay tuned.
– The Leafs currently have the Sedin twins at the top of their free agency list. If they are unsuccessful in signing them, the Leafs are expected to go after some big bodies, namely Rangers F Colton Orr or Sens F Chris Neil. The Leafs are still interested in Ducks G JS Giguere, but his $6M salary plus G Vesa Toskala’s $4M salary will be too much to have just between the pipes.
The Leafs, along with the Sharks, Stars and Avalanche, are awaiting word on whether free-agent Swedish F Jonas “The Monster” Gustavssson has made a decision on where he’ll sign. Originally, the decision was expected by today or tomorrow, but that may drift until later in the week.
– Sens F Dany Heatley could be traded before July 1, but it’s going to take a significant offer from the New York Rangers or the Edmonton Oilers – the two clubs seemingly most interested in the goal-scoring winger – to get it done.
According to a source, the Sens do not have a trade offer from those teams, or anyone else, that is deemed worth of acceptance and the list of suitors looks as though it’s getting shorter rather than longer. The Blues and Kings have pulled out, leaving only the Rangers, Oilers and Sharks.
Heatley is owed a $4M signing bonus on July 1. If the Senators pay it, and absent an improved trade they will have to, Ottawa may simply decide to hold onto Heatley in spite of his desire to play elsewhere or the post-July 1 acquisition price will go up accordingly and the team getting Heatley may have to take back other players in order for Ottawa to reconcile their accounts.
– The Habs continue to push for Bolts F Vincent Lecavalier, but things don’t look good for them. Assuming the Sedins walk away from Vancouver, the Habs are expected to make hard pushes to sign the twins. Failing that, they have been rumoured to be interested in Rangers F Scott Gomez, as well as Flyers F Daniel Briere and F Simon Gagne.
If F Martin Havlat doesn’t re-sign in Chicago, one would think that he would be sought after by the Canadiens. Havlat wants to stay in Chicago so badly that he’s willing to take a paycut from his $6M salary if it’s on a long-term deal, but the Hawks, so far anyway, have offered him a raise but on a one-year deal. With F Patrick Kane and F Jonathan Toews slated to come out of entry-level at the end of next season, Chicago doesn’t have a lot of long-term flexibility.
The Habs have cap space, and that’s presuming that they re-sign F Alexei Kovalev, F Tomas Plekanec and F Chris Higgins. It looks like F Saku Koivu, F Alex Tanguay and F Robert Lang are done in Montreal, but that may also depend on whether they land any big fish.
– Although no numbers have been discussed, the Flames are expected to make a formal contract proposal today to D Jay Bouwmeester. The team is hopeful they can re-sign him. The two sides met on Monday.
– The Hurricanes agreed to terms with F Jussi Jokinen on a two-year contract worth $3.4M. The deal will pay the Finn $1.5M next season and $1.9M in 2010-11. He had one goal and 11 points in 25 regular season games with the Hurricanes before exploding in the playoffs, netting seven goals and 11 points in 18 contests.
– The Blackhawks have re-signed F David Bolland to a five-year deal worth $3.375M per season.
– The Sharks made a qualifying offer to RFA F Ryan Clowe. The Sharks also extended qualifying offers to G Thomas Greiss, F Torrey Mitchell and F Brad Staubitz.
– The Red Wings would like to re-sign pending UFA F Mikael Samuelsson, but with their tight cap room, it may be too difficult a task, especially considering that Detroit is still pushing hard to re-sign F Marian Hossa. Samuelsson may become a salary cap victim for Detroit as he looks as though he will test the open market. Stay tuned.
Speaking of Hossa, the team is still talking with him. With the cap at $56.8M and Detroit having $53M already taken up, things don’t look good.
– The Leafs have made a qualifying offer to G Justin Pogge.
– The Penguins have inked F Bill Guerin to a one-year/$2M deal. GM Ray Shero said, “We are excited to agree to terms with Billy on this one-year deal. He made a tremendous impact on this team with his scoring ability, physical play and outstanding leadership and was a key factor in our drive to the Cup. I know our players, coaches and fans will be happy to have him back in Pittsburgh.”
– The Avalanche have signed G Peter Budaj to a one-year/$1.25M contract, up from $800K. Budaj is expected to play the role of backup.
– The Canadiens extended qualifying offers to six of their restricted free agents on Monday. F Tomas Plekanec, F Kyle Chipchura, F Christopher Higgins, F Guillaume Latendresse, F Matt D’Agostini and F Greg Stewart were offered deals. Plekanec was the leading scorer of the pack, earning just 39 points in 80 games last season. He was incredibly inconsistent in 2008-09 and will look to rebound next year.
– The Oilers have offered G Dwayne Roloson a one-year/$3M deal.
– The Blues have re-signed D Mike Weaver and F Brad Winchester. Terms were not disclosed.
– The Penguins have signed F Craig Adams to a two-year deal on Monday. Terms were not disclosed.
– The Panthers have made a qualifying offer to RFA F Daniel Booth.
– The Sharks have declined to make qualifying offers to F Marcel Goc, F Tomas Plihal and F Lukas Kaspar(notes).
– The Blues have bought out the remainder of D Jay McKee’s contract. McKee was slated to make $4M next season.
– The Thrashers have made qualifying offers to F Colby Armstrong, F Jordan Lavallee, F Jim Slater, D Scott Lehman, D Grant Lewis, D Boris Valabik and G Kari Lehtonen. F Chris Thorburn and G Dan Turple were not made offers, making them UFAs on Wednesday.
– The Bruins have waived F Peter Schaefer. The soon-to-be 32-year-old was scheduled to make $2.1M next season.
– The Sharks have signed D Rob Blake to a one-year/$3.5M contract extension. Blake was excellent for San Jose last season, compiling 45 points, a plus-15 rating and 110 penalty minutes in 73 contests.
– The Panthers have waived F Brett McLean. The 30-year-old was set to make $1.7M next season.
– Devils D Johnny Oduya is close to re-signing with the Devils. The two sides are close to putting the ink on a multi-year deal worth around $3-4M per season (up from $600K). Oduya had seven goals and 29 points last season and is turning into a solid puck-moving defenseman that is sound in his own zone.
The team is expected to allow their only Selke Trophy winner, F John Madden, and team-record single-season goal-scorer F Brian Gionta to walk as unrestricted free agents Wednesday. Other Devils headed toward unrestricted free agency tomorrow include backup G Scott Clemmensen and G Kevin Weekes, and F Mike Rupp, F Brendan Shanahan and F Barry Tallackson.
– According to the NY Post, Mets OF Carlos Beltran’s season, and possibly career, could be in jeopardy if he requires microfracture knee surgery. The 32-year-old Beltran has already required arthroscopic surgery on both knees, and the microfracture procedure is still rather experimental. NBA players Jamal Mashburn and Terrell Brandon were forced into retirement not too long after having it done. Stay tuned.
– According to the LA Daily News, Dodgers OF Manny Ramirez’s minor league rehab assignment has concluded. Ramirez went 1-for-3 with two K’s Monday for Single-A Inland Empire. He was going to play in Tuesday’s game as well, but the Dodgers have decided to scratch that plan. He’ll join up with his Dodger teammates Tuesday and return to the lineup Friday, July 3.
– The Nationals have offered OF Lastings Milledge to the Pirates for OF Nyjer Morgan in a one-for-one deal. Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington apparently wants Nationals acting GM Mike Rizzo to add a second player before he would consider making the trade.
– Angels RHP Ervin Santana (triceps) returned to the Angels Monday after a three-inning rehab outing in the Arizona Summer League. Santana will stick around for the next few games. He’ll throw a bullpen session Wednesday and, if all goes well, could be slotted back into the rotation by the weekend. There’s a chance the Angels will ask him to make one final rehab start, but it’s doubtful.
– Orioles manager Dave Trembley acknowledged Monday that SS Cesar Izturis (appendicitis) might not return to the club until late July, at the earliest. Izturis jogged and sprinted in the outfield Monday and took 30 swings off a tee. He’s hoping to hit live pitching as early as Wednesday with an eye on beginning a rehab assignment right around the All-Star break.
– Red Sox RHP Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 132nd career save, tying Bob Stanley for the most in Red Sox history.
– The Giants are currently scouting White Sox OF Jermaine Dye and Indians C Victor Martinez.
– The Cards have placed SS Khalil Greene (anxiety) on the 15-day DL.
– A’s LHP Josh Outman will undergo elbow surgery Tuesday. Outman visited specialist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham Monday, but the Athletics haven’t revealed whether he’s having Tommy John surgery or not. Either way, he’s done for a while and possibly for the season.
– The Astros have released RHP Brandon Backe.
– Indians RHP Rafael Betancourt, RHP Carl Pavano and OF Jamey Carroll are expected to be on the block, as all three are free agents at season’s end.
– The Pirates are unlikely to keep RHP Ian Snell through the remainder of his contract. Before last season, the Pirates signed Snell to a multi-year deal that guaranteed him $8.6M. They have the option of keeping him through 2012, but are unlikely to pick up the options on his contract.
– Jazz F Carlos Boozer will decide on Tuesday whether to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Jazz, which would pay him $12.7M. Boozer said in December that he would opt out “no matter what”, but only the Grizzlies, Pistons and Thunder are in a position to offer him a big contract. According to ESPN, neither the Grizzlies nor the Thunder intend to pursue Boozer, and the Pistons won’t offer him the $13-15M deal he wants. There is reportedly a “significant chance” that he will not opt out, but he has until 5 pm EST Tuesday to make his decision.
– The Bucks have made a qualifying offer to G Ramon Sessions and F Ersan Ilyasova, making them RFAs, but not to F Charlie Villanueva, making him a UFA. The Bucks have forfeited their right to match other teams’ offers, a move that maximizes their financial flexibility and increases Milwaukee’s odds of re-signing Sessions. They did extended a qualifying offer to F Ersan Ilyasova, however, who will help fill the PF spot along with F Amir Johnson, F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and F Kurt Thomas. The Cavs and Pistons are interesteed in CV.
– The Knicks are seriously interested in G Jason Kidd. Stay tuned.
– According to a source, G Mike Bibby is expected to leave the Hawks as a UFA. Also, F Josh Smith’s name is the latest in the rumour mill involving Suns F Amare Stoudemire.
– The Pistons are expected to make serious pushes at F Charlie Villanueva and G Ben Gordon.
– The C’s will make a qualifying offer to F Glen “Big Baby” Davis.
– Speaking of the C’s, UFA G Stephon Marbury wants to re-sign with the Celtics.
– The 76ers are going to try to re-sign UFA G Andre Miller.
– Jazz F Kyle Korver has exercised his team option for next season, guaranteeing him $5.2M.
– The Raptors have extended a qualifying offer to F Pops Mensah-Bonsu.
– The Pacers will not exercise their team option on G Marquis Daniels.
– The Nets have exercised the option on the contract of F Jarvis Hayes.
– The Blazers will not give F Channing Frye a qualifying offer.
– Before Donald Trump’s removal as the owner of Monday Night RAW last week, he orchestrated more than a dozen Superstar trades, extending through all three WWE brands and including the following (as announced on WWE.com):
Moving to RAW: Alicia Fox, Evan Bourne, Gail Kim, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry.
Moving to SmackDown!: David Hart Smith, Finlay, Matt Hardy, Natalya, Tyson Kidd.
Moving to ECW: Brie Bella, Goldust, Nikki Bella, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal.
– As revealed tonight on on RAW, the second of the show’s special weekly guest hosts will be the legendary “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase.
– TNA president Dixie Carter recently spoke to TNAWrestling.com, here are the highlights:
On WWE & TNA’s ratings: “We want everyone’s ratings to go up. In order to succeed, we don’t think we have to take ratings away from anyone else. As a wrestling industry, we all have to grow the fan-base worldwide. We can’t just say we’re going to beat Raw (in the ratings). Right now, that’s unrealistic. We had to start with the more obtainable goal to beat the ratings of our competitor’s third-rated show, ECW – and we’ve done that. I have heard people say, ‘It’s not a big deal to beat their lowest rated show,’ but I disagree. It’s a huge success for TNA, which five years ago had just 300,000 viewers in a Friday afternoon timeslot on Fox Sports. So now we’re setting our sights on their second-rated show, Smackdown – and that gap has closed significantly over the past six months.”
Impact’s timeslot: “Thursday nights are tough. Besides being the most competitive night on TV for networks, we are always up against the biggest sporting events, including high-profile playoffs games. The recent NBA Playoffs had record ratings success, yet TNA held its own. As Spike officials have said, and I agree, ‘God Bless the TNA fans.’ Nothing is set in stone, but no move is being planned right now. Our goal has always been to be competitive and go head-to-head against one of our competitor’s programs. So we hope that might happen sometime in the future.”
On the current state of the wrestling industry: “The audience of 2009 is significantly different from the audience during the height of the WWF-WCW run. And we have to continue to change accordingly. Today’s fans are smarter, more involved. They don’t want their intelligence insulted, and we have been guilty of that at times in the past. Can we please everyone all the time? No, that’s not realistic. But you have to strive to please them much more than not.”
On TNA’s progress: “Until we are the biggest wrestling company in the world, we won’t be satisfied. [...] We have not been infused with hundreds of millions of dollars, nor had a parent company that is a network. We have fought hard for every bit of success we have attained. We’ve done it fan by fan, success by success. And that, to me, is what makes TNA special, because it truly is a company of the fans; they’ve been the ones who have allowed us to grow. [...] I think we have accomplished more in the last six- to 12-months than we have in the last several years. I look at our ratings over the last year, and they are up about 20 percent.”
On AJ Styles: “Simply PHENOMENAL. He has taken the in-ring product to another level and is really starting to embrace his own stardom, which is a big part of being a star. I am so proud when I hear the ovation he gets around the world when he enters the arena; it usually is the loudest of the night. He has helped build TNA. AJ is the first and only TNA Gland Slam winner, and his time is just beginning.”
– The Broncos reportedly intend to stand firm on their refusal to honour RB Brandon Marshall’s trade demand, unless they’re “blown away” with an offer. Team brass is currently on vacation and “not fretting” about the situation. They can only hope Marshall shows to Dove Valley on time. Since he wants a new contract and doesn’t trust team doctors to handle his hip rehab, however, Marshall doesn’t seem like a sure thing to be there on the first day of camp.