– Red Wings’ F Pavel Datsyuk (broken right hand)’s bones should heal well, according to coach Mike Babcock. “I talked to Pav this morning and he’s in good spirits. He said, ‘Sorry, Coach.’ I said, ‘I don’t think you need to be sorry.’ He’s a huge part of our team. He gives them (opponents) one less man to worry about. Someone else has to step up. He’ll probably go down to Florida for a week and get back to training and be more energized when he comes back.” This could be good news in the long run for Detroit as Datsyuk will be well rested the remainder of the season and for the playoffs.
– Devils’ F Zach Parise (knee) isn’t expected to resume skating until March. Parise was originally projected to return to the Devils’ lineup in early February, but now it looks like he might miss the remainder of the season. Parise’s knee is healing, but Dr. Anthony Miniaci wants Parise to stay off the ice for the time being. “I was really disappointed to find out that I won’t be able to start skating until after I see him again in March. I didn’t expect it to be this long, especially after he said how happy he was with it all so far. It’s a long time to go without playing.” Given that the Devils are last in the league and 20 points out of a playoff spot, it is unlikely that they’ll be playing in meaningful games by the time Parise starts skating again. With that in mind, the Devils might err on the side of caution to the point where Parise never returns this season. Stay tuned.
– Bruins’ F Milan Lucic had 22 penalty minutes on Thursday and has been automatically suspended by the NHL. Lucic spent two minutes in the box for high sticking in the first period, but things didn’t really start to meltdown until the third. With less than five minutes left in the third period, Freddy Meyer flattened Lucic with what a high hit. Andrew Ference responded by dropping his gloves and grabbing onto Meyer. Meanwhile, Lucic hit Meyer with a sucker punch, which resulted in Lucic getting a game misconduct and a match penalty. The length of Lucic’s suspension won’t be determined until the league reviews the incident. The Bruins aren’t scheduled to play again until Monday.
– The Magic are hoping to trade a guard for a quality backup big man and prefer to unload G Chris Duhon, G Jason Williams, or F Quentin Richardson, but F J.J. Redick may also be on the block. Names that have cropped up in possible Redick deals are uninspiring — Pacers’ F Jeff Foster, Blazers’ F Joel Pryzbilla, Bobcats’ F Nazr Mohammed and F DeSagna Diop. Such a move would give Orlando some needed frontcourt depth while opening up more minutes, and a starting spot, for G Gilbert Arenas. Stay tuned.
– The Blazers are keeping F LaMarcus Aldridge and G Nicolas Batum “hands off” in trade talks, according to an unnamed NBA GM. Aldridge is understandable, as he’s quickly becoming the focal point of the franchise now that F Brandon Roy’s chronic knee injuries have surfaced. Batum’s recent play leaves plenty to be desired, but his potential is tremendous and clearly Portland is sold on his future.
– The Kings are reportedly thinking about to replacing Paul Westphal as head coach, and early candidates include former Monarchs coach John Whisenant, Kings assistant Mario Elie, and Bill Walton. The Maloof brothers are “at their wits end” dealing with Westphal, as well as current GM Geoff Petrie (Whisenant is also a GM candidate). The list of names seems like a strong indication that changes are coming, but Joe Maloof said publicly that both Petrie and Westphal will keep their jobs all season.
– Cavaliers’ G Mo Williams (groin) admitted that his groin injury has been bothering him again, and may linger all season. Mo gets extra treatment on his groin muscles each day, and has been playing fairly.
– According to the WO, many within WWE feel that Triple H (biceps) won’t go back on a full-time wrestling schedule upon his return to the ring as he’s transitioning into a corporate position with the organization. He’s had more authority at events in recent weeks.
– Below are various Twitter reactions to Kaval’s release from WWE today.
John Cena: “CeNation. Behind as always. I guess wwe has released kaval. I have no clue why but this close to holiday would probally mean……. That it is pretty serious business.”
Jim Ross: “Kaval’s release from WWE surprised me. Don’t know the circumstances. Kaval won’t have any issues finding work. I wish him my best.”
Jeremy Borash: “Very grateful to be working for a company that gives out bonus checks at Christmas instead of walking papers.”
Shelton Benjamin: “I guess my question is would you rather see him as a jobber for Wwe or the Indy phenom that he had been.”
Gregory Helms: “U gotta be f***ing kidding!!!”
Charlie Haas: “Sorry to hear the news of Kaval being released. Especially before Christmas. What a gift. Shows how classless WWE is. Low Ki ur better off … Anyways. Kaval is one of the best talents in the world. No doubt he will prevail else where. Much respect and love for him.”
Kaval: “Regardless of the current situation, I only move forward. Kaval is no more. The return of “The World Warrior” has begun.”
– Beth Phoenix is interviewed in the latest issue of WWE Magazine and she discussed her difficult ACL injury earlier this year, the changing face of the WWE Divas, which former Diva she’d like to see return, and much more. Regarding her ACL injury in May, she commented:
“The weird thing was, when I got hurt, I felt fine. I was walking around and running, and I shrugged it off thinking it was just a tweak. But then my doctor told me I tore my ACL and I’d be out for six months. All I could think was, “I just won the title! Taking six months off isn’t even a possibility right now!” I had the option to wrap my knee and risk tearing it completely or have surgery. But I was a defending champion and wasn’t backing down or handing over my title without a fight.”
“The Glamazon” was asked if she thinks she was instrumental in initiating the change to the Divas division becoming more athletic than ever.
“I would love to take credit for something as wonderful as that, but I think it’s a credit to the company for valuing women who are not only beautiful, but also athletic and smart,” she responded. “Take Eve, for example. She has a background in Judo. Then there’s Michelle, who has a college degree and a great head on her shoulders. Young girls can really look up to and emulate the Divas. I think I can take some of the credit, though, for introducing more voluptuous girls to WWE. I was one of the first Divas to prove that you didn’t have to be model-thin to be successful, that you could have muscles and still be beautiful.
Finally, she noted that she would like to see former WWE Women’s Champion Lita make a comeback in 2011.
“I’d love to have a match with her. I never had the chance.”
– The Lions have reportedly placed QB Matthew Stafford (shoulder) on the IR, ending his season. Stafford wanted a shot to play in Week 17, but it wasn’t a realistic option. After avoiding surgery, Stafford should be back to full health for the Lions’ offseason workout program. The twin right shoulder injuries are now a significant concern for his future, though, after knee and left shoulder injuries end his season early in 2009.