– The NHLPA might come to the defense of UFA F Ilya Kovalchuk after the NHL rejected his 17-year/$102M contract. The NHL rejected the contract on the grounds that it was an attempt at circumventing the salary cap. Kovalchuk was due to make $98.5M over the first 11 years of the deal, but the cap hit was just $6M per season because of how little he would earn over the remaining six years of the contract. The NHL’s belief is that Kovalchuk planned to retire before the end of the deal, which would rid the Devils of his cap hit when he’s in his 40s. The NHLPA now has the option of stepping in and demand that an arbitrator rules on Kovalchuk’s contract. This is the first time under the current CBA that the NHL has rejected a deal and this could also end up being the first time that an arbitrator has had to rule on the validity of a contract. Stay tuned.
– The Senators have re-signed F Nick Foligno to a 2-year deal. He had 26 points and 53 penalty minutes in 61 games last season
– The Blues have re-signed F David Perron to a 2-year deal. Perron had 20 goals and 27 assists in 82 games last season. He’s projected to play on the Blues’ first or second line next season.
– The Sabres have re-signed F Patrick Kaleta to a 2-year deal. He set career highs last season with 10 goals and 15 points in 55 games.
– Hornets’ G Chris Paul has reportedly demanded a trade out of New Orleans. His teams of choice are said to be the Knicks, Lakers and Magic, and people close to him believe he has played his last game for the Hornets. Paul recently signed with LeBron James’ marketing company, LRMR, which also fuels speculation that he will fight his way out of New Orleans, despite having two years left on his contract. Stay tuned.
– Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports that Warriors’ F David Lee (finger) won’t need surgery, but will be sidelined for 4-to-6 weeks, but is expected to be out for the full 6-week timeframe, meaning he won’t play for the U.S. at the World Championships, but should have plenty of time to get ready for the regular season.
– According to ESPN, the Raptors, Lakers, Cavs, Heat and Celtics are interested in F Matt Barnes. Barnes averaged 8.8 points and 5.5 rebounds for the Magic last season.
– The Blazers have officially signed G Wesley Matthews to a 5-year/$34M deal. In 82 games, he averaged 9.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes for the Jazz last season as a rookie.
– The Sixers have signed F Tony Battie.
– The Hornets have hired 40-year-old Dell Demps are their new GM. “Beginning with the hiring of head coach Monty Williams, we’ve begun a path of building our basketball operations with people we feel are going to be the best in the business, and Dell Demps certainly fits into that category,” Hornets president Hugh Weber said on Wednesday, when the Hornets formally named Demps as the seventh general manager in franchise history. Demps takes over for Jeff Bower.
– Buster Olney and Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hear that the Rays are involved in discussions for Phillies’ OF Jayson Werth. The Phillies are working “very, very aggressively” to move Werth. Freeing themselves of his contract would allow the Phillies to add more payroll, rumoured to be Astros’ RHP Roy Oswalt. The FOXSports reports that the Phillies are not interested in D’Backs RHP Dan Haren, Brewers’ RHP Ben Sheets or any of the Rays’ pitchers.
Speaking of Oswalt, Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports heard from a source that the Cardinals are the “front runners” for Oswalt. Calcaterra’s source says the Astros have been talking with Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak for several days now and that Oswalt would love to pitch in St. Louis.The Cards’ farm system wiped, so if the Cards are really interested, they’ll need to move top pitching prospect Shelby Miller. Oswalt has a 3.12 ERA and 1.07 WHIP this season. His current contract runs through 2011 and includes a $16M option for 2012.
– FOXSports reports that D’Backs RHP Dan Haren is preparing for a trade within the next 10 days. Haren has a partial NTC in which he can veto trades to 12 teams this season and 8 next year, but would like to end up out West. “I was born and raised on the West Coast. Obviously staying on the West Coast would be nice. If I went to the East, if a trade came with a team on my no-trade [list], I would have to consider it.” Haren will make $12.75M for the next two years. The team has an option of paying him $15.5M in 2013 or buying him out for $3.5M. He’s 7-8 with a 4.60 ERA this year.
– Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Tigers, Braves, Giants and White Sox have also expressed interest in Jays’ OF/3B Jose Bautista. The MLB home run leader has also drawn interest from the Giants and other teams could join in as the July 31 trade deadline looms. Bautista has 26 homers and 64 RBI this season, but his .238 batting average and .354 OBP are rather lackluster.
– Dodgers’ LHP Clayton Kershaw has been suspended 5 games for throwing behind Giants’ OF Aaron Rowand on Tuesday. Manager Joe Torre was also suspended for 1 game and will serve it tonight. Kershaw has appealed and will be allowed to play until a resolution is made. The lefty is 9-5 this year with a 3.15 ERA and 1.24 WHIP.
– Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that free agent RHP Pedro Martinez will not pitch this season. As of last week, Pedro had yet to throw off a mound and wasn’t drawing a whole lot of interest from contending teams. He turns 39 years of age in October and could retire soon.
Speaking of not pitching this season, Mariners’ LHP Erik Bedard said “probably not” when asked by reporters if he would pitch again this season. Bedard is currently consulting with two doctors about his latest MRI results, but told reporters that the news wasn’t good. He hasn’t appeared in a major league game since last July 25.
– Rays’ OF Carl Crawford (testicular contusion) is day-to-day. Crawford was forced to leave Tuesday’s game against the O’s in the first inning after getting hit in the groin by a pickoff throw and wasn’t wearing a cup. He reportedly doesn’t plan to wear one even after Tuesday’s game.
– Phillies’ LHP Jamie Moyer (elbow) is expected to be placed on the DL after returning to Philly to be examined by team medical personnel, one day after his elbow forced him to miss his start.
– The Yankees have placed LHP Andy Pettitte (left groin strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 19.
– The Dodgers have placed OF Manny Ramirez (right calf strain) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 17.
– The Tigers have placed 3B Brandon Inge (fractured left hand) on the 15-day DL.
– The Rangers have placed RHP Dustin Nippert (head) on the 15-day DL.
– The Twins have transferred RHP Clay Condrey to the 60-day DL.
– The A’s have placed OF Ryan Sweeney (right patella tendinitis) on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 12.
– The Padres have placed 2B David Eckstein (right calf strain) on the 15-day DL.
– Ralph Houk, who managed the powerhouse Yankees teams of the early 1960s to two World Series championships, died Wednesday. He was 90. Slaboden, who lives in the Boston area, told the team in an e-mail that Houk “died peacefully of natural causes after having a brief illness” at his home in Winter Haven, Florida. Houk spent parts of eight seasons as a backup catcher for the New York Yankees, appearing in just 91 games.
– Eagles’ WR DeSean Jackson is unlikely to get his contract restructured as Titans’ RB Chris Johnson did, according to beat writer Jeff McLane. Both players were drafted in 2008 and have become offensive stars, but Jackson’s case is different because he was a 2nd-round pick and, therefore, signed a 4-year deal – Johnson’s 5-year deal as a 1st-rounder allowed the Titans to move some money up front. Jackson will not hold out this year, but will likely be asking for a new deal next offseason.
– Cardinals’ ILB Gerald Hayes (back) underwent surgery “several weeks ago” and will miss at least the start of camp. Coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t give the date of the procedure, but says Hayes will be re-examined when the club reports to flagstaff on July 30. The team is hurting after losing Karlos Dansby to free agency, so if Hayes misses regular season time, the team’s run defense is going to take a hit.
– The Steelers have placed RT Willie Colon (torn Achilles tendon) on the IR, ending his season. Colon was easily the club’s best blocker during the 2009 season.
– The Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonald confirms that Raiders’ WR Chaz Schilens’ (foot) recovery from his second surgery in as many offseasons is “ahead of schedule.” Schilens practiced during the Raiders’ final round of OTAs.
– The injury for which Triple H underwent surgery was a torn biceps that is expected to keep him out anywhere from late-October to December. He is still being considered for a heel turn and alignment with Nexus, although if it were to happen, they would need to drag the angle out for at least a few more months.
– Ricky Steamboat remains in the hospital and continues to experience a great deal of head pain. This, coupled with the fact that he has been there for so many weeks now, has people very concerned.
– After 13 years, WWE Hall of Famer Bret “The Hitman” Hart is returning to Madison Square Garden. In what is being billed as Bret “The Hitman” Hart Appreciation Night, the official MSG website has announced that Hart will team up with The Hart Dynasty to wrestle three members of Nexus in a 6-Man Tag Team Match at the September 25 SmackDown live event. The match will mark as Hart’s first appearance at MSG since a September 1997 Raw taping, which saw him work a dark match against Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker.
– TNA officials have discussed using former ECW World Heavyweight Champion Justin Credible at next month’s Hard Justice PPV, reports the PWTorch. However, it has not been confirmed that he will be working the show, or if he has even been contacted to appear. Credible briefly appeared with TNA in 2003, forming a stable with several other ECW alumni and reviving his feud with Jerry Lynn.
Marc Valeri – firstname.lastname@example.org
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