– The NFL has changed its overtime rules for playoff games. Starting next season, if a team wins the coin toss and then kicks a field goal, the other team gets the ball. If the game is still tied after that, play will continue under the current sudden-death rules. Should the team winning the toss immediately score a touchdown, then the game is over. Team owners voted 28-4 on Tuesday in favour of the proposal at the NFL meetings. The new rule applies only for post-season games.
– Eagles’ coach Andy Reid admitted that people are “entertaining” the Eagles with offers for their three quarterbacks. Ashley Fox of the Philadelphia Inquirer says it’s “growing ever unlikely” that the Eagles will still have all their quarterbacks after the draft. She says that the Eagles have lowered their asking price for QB Donovan McNabb and QB Kevin Kolb from a 1st-round pick to a “fair” price, such as a 2nd-round pick or a combination of high picks. It’s unlikely Kolb is going anywhere, but this report at least confirms that the Eagles could very well be willing to move on from McNabb.
– The Patriots have signed TE Alge Crumpler. Crumpler caught just 27 passes for 222 yards (career-low 8.2 YPC) and one touchdown last season. The Patriots, though, are desperate for tight end help and rarely use the position in a pass catching role. Crumpler, 32, won’t be used much on passing plays.
– The Saints have chosen not to match the one-year/$1.7M offer sheet that RB Mike Bell signed with the Eagles. It’s believed that the Saints never seriously considered matching the offer once the Eagles guaranteed Bell $500K and a no-trade clause. He’ll enter training camp as the favourite for short-yardage and goal-line duties.
– Prosecutors recommend Wizards’ G Gilbert Arenas get a three-month jail sentence for his weapons charge. Arenas pleaded guilty January 15 to one felony count of violating the District of Columbia’s strict gun laws, a charge stemming from a locker-room confrontation that followed a card-game dispute between Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton during a December 19 flight to Washington. Authorities say Arenas threatened to shoot Crittenton in the face and blow up his car. Two days later, Arenas brought four guns to the locker-room and put them in a chair by Crittenton’s locker with a sign saying, “Pick 1.” Crittenton then retrieved his own gun and showed it to Arenas. Prosecutors wrote that the locker-room incident “was not a spur-of-the-moment joke,” but rather a calculated attempt by Arenas to defend his supremacy among his peers.
– The Cavaliers have re-signed F Zydrunas Ilgauskas for the remained of the season. Big Z will get a pro-rated portion of the bi-annual exception after he reached a buyout agreement with the Wizards last month. He may be available to play in New Orleans on Wednesday.
– The Nuggets are reportedly skeptical about whether head coach George Karl will be able to return to the sidelines prior to the start of the NBA playoffs. According to Yahoo! Sports, Karl is having trouble speaking due to his neck and throat cancer and was recently treated for blood clots in his legs and lungs as a result of chemotherapy and radiation treatment.
Karl will sit out his eighth game this season on Tuesday as the Nuggets begin a five-game road trip in New York. The report states that Karl will miss the entire road trip, which ends next Monday in Dallas. The coach disclosed his illness on February 16 and said he would miss certain games to combat the disease. Adrian Dantley will continue to serve as the head coach in Karl’s absence. The team is 5-2 when Karl has not been present this season.
– The Wolves have signed F Brian Cardinal.
– Twins’ RHP Joe Nathan (elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery on Friday in New York. He will miss 2010 but should be back around this time next year, assuming all goes according to plan with his ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery and subsequent rehab. No successor has been named yet, but RHP Jon Rauch is the most likely replacement. The Twins could realistically acquire a closer by Opening Day. Keep an eye on Padres’ RHP Heath Bell and Jays’ RHP Jason Frasor.
– Avalanche’ F Darcy Tucker has been suspended one game for making excessive contact with an opponent on an icing.
– Senators’ F Milan Michalek (knee) is expected to undergo season-ending ACL surgery on his injured left knee. The Senators’ doctors want to put a decision on hold for now and see if it responds to treatment and rest. Michalek suffered the injury last Thursday when his knee hit the post at the end of a breakaway. Michalek has 22 goals and 34 points in 64 games.
Michalek tried to skate on it the next day, initially thought to be an encouraging sign. When a player suffers MCL damage, the MRI details the precise damage and the prescription is rest. To skate on an injured MCL can only make it worse so very few players even attempt to skate after the initial trauma. But when a player blows out his ACL, which ultimately requires extensive surgery and rehab (anywhere from six months to a year in some cases), tolerance to pain is the critical factor in whether a player can come back and play with the injury and without the ACL. The ACL stabilizes the entire knee but it is possible to compete without one, although a strong brace must be used to effectively replace the torn ACL.
No one would know better than Michalek himself. He has undergone three major knee reconstructions for ACL damage. All three surgeries were to Michalek’s right knee. The injury this time is on the left knee. It sounds like Michalek will have a shot at playing again for the Senators in the regular season but it also sounds a lot like he may be looking at yet another off-season of knee surgery and rehab.
– The NHL’s Board of Governors unanimously approved a rule prohibiting hits on an unsuspecting player where the head is targeted and/or the principal point of contact. The NHL is awaiting the competition committee’s response to the proposal, however as early as Wednesday night, every NHL team (players, coaches, managers) and on-ice official will have seen a DVD detailing the new rule and will be made aware of the proposed policy change on the blindside head shot. As reported earlier, there is no desire to institute a specific rule change at this time that carries a minor and/or major penalty. The intent is to get approval to permit supplementary discipline this season to punish those types of hits.
– The ratings are in for the 3/22 editions of Raw and iMPACT!, Week 3 of the Monday Night War. WWE RAW hosted by Pete Rose drew a 3.2 rating (down from last week’s 3.7) with 4.5 million viewers. The first hour of the show did a 3.04 rating and the second hour did a 3.44. TNA iMPACT! drew a 0.9 rating (up from last week’s 0.8) with 1.2 million viewers. The first hour did a 0.83 rating and the second hour did a 0.87.
– In an interview with Sky Sports, John Cena is asked to comment on WWE’s Wellness Program, which most notably includes drug testing. While he feels the creation of the program was the right move on the company’s part, he doesn’t feel it was a necessary one as WWE Superstars are regarded as entertainers rather than organized athletes.
“It’s nothing but a positive. I’ll be quite honest with you, it’s a company move that didn’t need to be made. This is the entertainment industry, we’re not organized athletics. But the WWE made a positive effort to look after its athletes and I’m very, very happy. It was the right move.”
Cena is also asked to comment on his strenuous road schedule and whether it hurts to to “fight at least 250 times a year.”
“I guess it depends on how good you do. On average, I would actually compare it to an American football game. It’s very intense. The action is in spurts. We fight every night. We fight Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. So, it’s like playing five American football games in five straight days. I’ve been doing it for eight years and I feel as strong as the day I started.”
– Former American Idol winner Fantasia will sing “America The Beautiful” at the start of Sunday’s WrestleMania XXVI pay-per-view from Glendale, Arizona.
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