– The Leafs have signed G Jonas “The Monster” Gustavsson to a one-year/$810K deal with a chance for bonuses at $90K.. Gustavsson will likely begin the season by backing up G Vesa Toskala, but he’s got a good shot at becoming the No. 1. The 24-year-old was the top goalie in the Swedish Elite League and compiled a 1.96 GAA and .932 SV%. ‘The Monster’ is being compared to Ducks G Jonas Hiller. The Stars, Avs and Sharks were also interested.
– Speaking of the Buds, The Toronto Globe and Mail is reporting that the Leafs are under investigation by the NHL due to head coach Ron Wilson’s comments on the club’s interest in F Daniel and Henrik Sedin prior to July 1, the first day that unrestricted free-agents could test the market. On Tuesday June 31st, Wilson told Toronto radio station The FAN 590 that:
“You’re hearing right now, and this sounds very contradictory but, there’s a real possibility, I would think, that we would be going after the Sedins. Let’s just speculate there.”
Leafs GM Brian Burke confirmed that the league was investigating the remarks.“The league has indicated that they are looking into it, so we will have no public commentary at this time,” Burke told the Globe and Mail Monday night.
While NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly did not confirm that the league was investigating tampering allegations against the Leafs, he did say that the Canucks have not filed a complaint with the league.
– The Blackhawks have signed D Cam Barker to a three-year/$9.25M deal. The Hawks wasted no time signing the 23-year-old blueliner to a a new deal after news broke that the NHLPA would be filing a grievance on behalf of the players involved in the team’s qualifying offer mishandling. Barker could have ended up as a UFA at the end of the process, but chose to sign a new contract instead.
– The NHLPA has filed a grievance over the Blackhawks mishandling of a number of its qualifying offers and intends to argue the players affected by the mishap, who remain unsigned, should be ruled UFAs. The NHL will be notified and can agree with the NHLPA’s filing, or the league can disagree and the case will move on to an expidited hearing. “In response to various media inquiries, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) confirms today that it has filed a grievance regarding the failure of the Chicago Blackhawks to submit Qualifying Offers to its 2009 Restricted Free Agents prior to the deadline stipulated in the CBA. The NHLPA will make no further comment on the matter, which is now pending before the Impartial Arbitrator,” said Jonathan Weatherdon, NHLPA Spokesperson. This could be bad news for the Hawks as it means that important players like F Kris Versteeg could become unrestricted free agents. With limited cap space at this time the Blackhawks could lose some key players. Stay tuned.
– The Red Wings have re-signed F Ville Leino to a two-year deal.
– The Rangers have signed F Chris Higgins to a one-year/$2.25M deal.
– The Avalanche have signed G Andrew Raycroft to a one-year/$500K deal.
– The Canucks have re-signed D Shane O’Brien to a one-year/$1.6M deal.
– The Wild have signed F Shane Hnidy to a one-year deal.
– The Stars have signed F Warren Peters to a one-year deal.
– The Blackhawks have signed F Troy Brouwer to a two-year deal, and F Ben Eager, F Aaron Johnson and F Colin Fraser to one-year deals.
– Pens F Maxime Talbot underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. He will be lost for for four-to-five months, meaning that he’ll be out for the first one or two months of the regular season.
– According to sources, Cavs F LeBron James told Rockets F Trevor Ariza that he will stay in Cleveland past the 2010 season. ESPN reports that a source said, “Trevor asked LeBron if he would be in Cleveland after next season. And LeBron said, ‘I’ll be there. Of course, I’ll be there.’ ” The Cavaliers are still trying to convince Ariza to sign in Cleveland, and he could change his mind, although he’s already verbally committed to the Rockets.
ESPN‘s Ric Bucher is reporting via Twitter that Ariza is said to be wavering on his commitment to the Rockets. It would make sense that Ariza is rethinking his decision, especially when the Rockets may start the season without F Yao Ming and F Tracy McGrady, in addition to F Ron Artest, who is going to join the Lakers. Ariza could be a star in Houston, but is possibly talking to the Cavaliers, which would make more sense if his goal is winning instead of going to the first team he could find that offered him more “respect” than the Lakers. Stay tuned.
– The Mavericks are trying to work out a sign-and-trade with the Raptors for F Shawn Marion, according to CBS Sports. The Raptors either have to renounce Marion (to clear cap space for F Hedo Turkoglu’s signing) or work out a sign-and-trade, though their reluctance to take back salary has complicated the matter. F Jerry Stackhouse would likely be included in any deal, since his $7M salary has only $2M guaranteed for next season. The Mavs are also trying to get a third team involved, likely the Thunder or Grizzlies. The source cautioned that the deal “may or may not happen,” so stay tuned for updates.
– The Hawks have signed G Mike Bibby to a three-year deal/$18M deal. Bibby is the most recent FA to settle for a salary around the mid-level exception, though he may have accepted less money to re-sign with Atlanta. The Hawks will have a fairly stacked backcourt this season, with G Jamal Crawford likely coming off the bench behind Bibby and G Joe Johnson. Atlanta will now turn its attention to free agents G Marvin Williams, F Josh Childress and F Zaza Pachulia.
– Heat G Dwyane Wade isn’t sure whether he’ll sign a contract extension this summer, and he said on Monday that he feels the Heat are being left behind while other teams improve via free agency. Wade said, “It’s a lot of teams that got better real fast. I want to make sure that we’re on track to where I want us to be…before I sign back.” GM Pat Riley has been hesitant to make any major moves before Wade commits to an extension, creating something of a stalemate in Miami. Wade did say in late June that he prefers to sign an extension sooner rather than later.
– The Pistons are no longer considering Avery Johnson for their head-coaching position after the two sides could not come to terms on a contract. Cavaliers assistant John Kuester is now the Pistons’ likely choice, but Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau remains under consideration. A decision could come Tuesday. Pistons president Joe Dumars met with Johnson Sunday in Houston, and talked with him and his representatives through Tuesday morning. Johnson, who is owed $8M from the Mavericks, has been seeking a four-year/$20M contract. So far, no NBA teams have been inclined to make that type of investment in contract talks with him. Thibodeau is considered one of the best tactical assistants in the NBA, especially on the defensive end. The Celtics are believed to pay him more than $1M a season, high-end among NBA assistant coaches.
– The Wizards are interested in FA F Rasho Nesterovic, F Channing Frye, F Jason Collins and F Jamaal Magloire.
– F Charlie Villanueva posted a message on his Twitter account, informing his followers he will sign with the Detroit Pistons.
On Monday he said, “It’s a clear summer day in LA. I got my workout this morning. Now I’m off to Motor City: the process continues… physicals, signing on Wed.”
He and Pistons G Ben Gordon agreed to five-year contracts with the Pistons, a person with the knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press last week, for at least $35M and $50+M, respectively.
On Thursday he wrote, “Well I’m a Piston. Long day yesterday, but got it done, God is good…Deeeeeeetrooooooiiiiittttttt basketballllllllllllll.”
The Pistons were allowed to begin negotiations with free agents on July 1, but the league prohibits its teams from announcing deals until the moratorium period ends Wednesday.
“Last time I teamed up with BG we won a championship in 2004,” Villanueva tweeted last week.
– The Lakers have signed G Shannon Brown to a two-year/$4.2M deal. The second year is a player option.
– No news on the F Lamar Odom front. Odom was on the Lakers’ books for $14.1M last season, but the Lakers are balking at his asking price of more than $10M per season. The Blazers are still interested.
– Rockets F Yao Ming is expected to decide within a few days whether or not to have surgery on his fractured left foot. Yao can have surgery, which would probably keep him out all season, or he can pursue other options such as immobilizing the foot for three months in the hopes that it heals on its own.
– Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said Sunday that he’s willing to listen to offers for ace RHP Roy Halladay. It’s the first time Ricciardi has publicly admitted that his ace is on the block. “We have to see what’s out there. I’m not saying we’re going to shop him. But if something makes sense, we at least have to listen. We’re (leaning) more toward listening than we’ve ever been.” It’s going to take a large package of prospects, but the Jays can expect several phone calls for the best pitcher in the world. The 2003 Cy Young Award winner, who is 10-2 this season and 74-29 since the start of the 2005 season.
Given teams’ unwillingness to take on salary and part with prospects, there’s no guarantee that the Jays will receive a blockbuster offer. Halladay has a no trade clause and is under contract for this year ($14.25M) and next ($15.75M). The Jays also owe OF Alex Rios and OF Vernon Wells about $160M over the next five seasons, which could make it harder to pay Halladay. FOXSports’ Ken Rosenthal believes “Halladay is a goner,” saying it’s “almost impossible to stop” the process of selling a player once it starts, but Ricciardi said the Jays won’t deal Halladay if the right offer doesn’t surface.
– The Brewers are not looking to deal for Braves RHP Javier Vazquez. The rumour included a return price of OF Corey Hart, but a one-for-one wouldn’t make the Braves pull the trigger. Atlanta likely won’t part with Vazquez in a deal that doesn’t bring back Mat Game or Alcides Escobar, a pair of youngsters Brewers GM Doug Melvin has repeatedly deemed untouchable.
The Yankees could be potential suitors, with RHP Phil Hughes being a return price. The Red Sox have LHP Clay Buchholz expendable, but they may use him as bait to pry C Victor Martinez away from the Tribe. The Phillies have inquired about Doc for a few years now – although they have the prospects to deal, they don’t have the salary room. The White Sox are also contenders, since they were vying for Padres RHP Jake Peavy, so Halladay wouldn’t be out of the question – the same package including Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda and Gordon Beckham would be a base package. The Dodgers would need to part with RHP Chad Billingsley or LHP Clayton Kershaw, while the Rangers, Angels, Cubs, Mets and Braves either don’t have the salary room or don’t have the prospects. Ken Rosenthal believes that the Phillies and Brewers are the best bet to make a serious offer. Stay tuned.
– The A’s currently have no deals on the table for OF Matt Holliday or OF Scott Hariston.
– The Mets are unlikely to make any deals by the trade deadline. A deal was rumoured between them and the Orioles for 1B Aubrey Huff, but nothing substantiated, as the return price included a number of Mets prospects.
– The Giants continue to shop for some bats.
– The Braves will not trade SS Yuniel Escobar.
– Royals RHP Brian Bannister is available via trade, but RHP Joakim Soria is not.
– The Cardinals have placed 3B Mark DeRosa (wrist) on the 15-day DL.
– The Red Sox have placed 1B Jeff Bailey (ankle) on the 15-day DL, and have moved SS Jed Lowrie (wrist) from the 15 to 60-day DL.
– The Orioles have placed RHP Chris Ray (shoulder) on the 15-day DL.
– The Padres have placed 2B David Eckstein (hamstring) on the 15-day DL.
– WWE Unified Tag Team Champion, Edge suffered a tear to his Achilles tendon last Friday, July 3, during a WWE live event in San Diego. According to WWE.com, Edge arrived at Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, this morning to surgically repair the torn Achilles tendon in his left ankle.
The surgery began at 10 am EST and was performed by Dr. James Andrews, who has previously performed surgeries on WWE Superstars Batista, Triple H, John Cena, Rey Mysterio and many others. Later today, expect quotes from Edge and Dr. James Andrews, as well as an update on how long Edge will be out of action.
– MyFOX Memphis is reporting that Jerry Lawler is considering running for Mayor in the city of Memphis, Tennessee. Current Mayor Willie Herenton is retiring from office and a special election is being arranged. Lawler reportedly stated during a radio interview this morning that he’s throwing his name in the growing list of candidates. The WWE colour commentator said he will make an official announcement later this week. Lawler ran for Mayor ten years ago, losing to Herenton. Lawler garnered 12% of the votes, finishing behind Herenton as well as Joe Ford.
– Matt Hardy posted a blog on his MySpace regarding his recent surgery. Here it is;
“Well guys and gals, since the news has been leaked all over the ‘net, I figured I should go ahead and address it truthfully. Yes, the rumors are true, I had some major surgery a couple of day ago. The triple threat match against MVP and Kofi in Green Bay was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In a few days, I’m gonna blog on my WWE Universe page and fill everyone in on everything.
But here’s a little taste of how tough and annoying the last 2 years of my life has been. For two years, I’ve been working with a slight abdominal tear, a genetic defect that I was actually born with. Even though we torture ourselves every night in that ring for each of your guy’s entertainment.. But don’t get me wrong, we love it and chose to do it. The tear hasn’t been anything that has really over-affected me performance-wise.. Until.. My appendectomy. From when I returned in April 2008, my abdominal tear became gradually worse. I was having a U.S. Title run I was very proud of.. So I sucked it up! I became the ECW Champion, and was having one of the best runs of my career, and the abdominal injury really started bothering me.. So I sucked it up! I wanted to get it fixed before it got really bad.. BUT.. I had an issue with Jeff on TV which would ultimately lead us to wrestling one another at THE show of all shows, Wrestlemania. So I sucked it up and got through it! Basically, in a nutshell, my intestines were slowly tearing through my abdomen.. Which affected my training greatly, my in-ring work, and my physical appearance. My intestines were slowly swelling because they were all outta wack and protruding through my abdominal wall. But I sucked it up and gave everything I had. I haven’t been able to do a sit-up in two years. And as I totally expected, The lil “wanna be cool guys” that feel like bad-asses behind a keyboard LOVED to make comments about my weight gain because I was being lazy. Little did they know, or yet probably even care, that I’ve stayed constantly frustrated that I was dealing with these serious complications. Honestly, I only care about the personal friends and family that I have, that know my true deal.. It’s only their opinions I take serious and to heart. Anybody who writes about me, whether good or bad, but especially bad.. I couldn’t care less. I just say thanks for keeping me in the news.
The night in Green Bay, when Kofi gave me a cross body from the top rope, my intestines exploded out through my abdominal wall.. And not just in one spot, but in two spots. I had to have it fixed, or face major health problems.. Problems that could have killed me. So as always, I do what’s good for me, my career, friends, and loved ones. Hateful, ignorant comments made on the world wide web certainly doesn’t bothered me-but sometimes give me a good laugh.. And my world is a world those people will never experience.
I can actually get into the shape I wanna be in now.. Very excited about that. It’s sushi time peeps, I’ll be back soon to blog for guys again. Be well, and until then..”