– NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has told TSN that there is no truth to a Toronto radio report that the NHL is preparing to move the Coyotes to Winnipeg in the coming weeks. A report on Wednesday suggested that a move would be announced by the league once the Coyotes are eliminated from the playoffs. “The report has no basis in fact. No decisions have been made at this point one way or the other. And we continue to be active in our efforts to effectuate a sale of the franchise in Glendale.” Winnipeg sources also say they have no such information of an imminent move and contend the NHL hasn’t even remotely suggested such a move is in the works. Winnipeg continues to wait patiently, but can’t wait much longer before having to commit to existing AHL partners.
– Barry Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice Wednesday for telling a grand jury he did not knowingly use performance-enhancing drugs en route to becoming baseball’s all-time home-run leader, a San Francisco jury found. The jury failed to reach a verdict on three charges of perjury. In finding him guilty of obstruction, however, the jury essentially declared that Bonds was at best evasive and perhaps misleading when he claimed his personal trainer never injected him with banned performance-enhancing substances.
– Rockies’ RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (thumb) will return to the Rockies rotation on April 18. With the cut on the cuticle of his right thumb healed, Jimenez reached 97 mph with his fastball in an extended spring game on Wednesday and was able to throw 81 pitches without any issues. He’ll face the Giants in Denver in his first start back.
– Phillies’ 2B Chase Utley (knee) continues to field ground balls, but still hasn’t started running. GM Ruben Amaro said, “He’s doing fine. He’s progressing slowly. We hope to have him running soon, but there’s no timetable.”
– White Sox’ RHP Jake Peavy (shoulder) gave up two runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out four over six innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Charlotte Wednesday. He needed only 72 pitches to get through the six frames. Peavy will start again on the 18th and then the 23rd, and if he gets to 100 pitches both times, he could rejoin the White Sox rotation on April 29 against the Orioles.
– Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi said that an MRI revealed a “damaged shoulder” for RHP Pedro Feliciano. The club hasn’t given any more details to this point, but surgery seems likely. Feliciano was signed to a 2-year/$8M deal over the offseason and has yet to make an appearance for the team.
– The Suns are likely to waive F Vince Carter this offseason, according to beat writer Paul Coro. The Suns will owe Carter $4M by waiving him, but they’ll owe him $18M next season if they don’t. It’s an easy decision. Carter will join a team elsewhere, likely coming off the bench.
– Pistons’ coach John Kuester will not be fired right now, a source tells the AP. The Pistons “don’t plan to make quick decision on [Kuester's] future with franchise.” This could be because of the ownership change, the lockout or the desire to get a new coach in place. Sooner or later, Kuester will likely be let go.
– Arizona sophomore F Derrick Williams announced late Wednesday that he will hire an agent and enter the NBA draft. While his name never became big until the NCAA tournament, NBA scouts have been going crazy over his upside for awhile now. He’ll be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall pick, and should be an instant impact player in the NBA.
– According to NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi, the Seahawks are high enough on QB Ryan Mallett to strongly consider him at No. 25. “(The Seahawks) have done a lot of work on him. There is a feeling that (the Seahawks) hope he gets down to their pick at 25. I think he does fit what they want to do offensively. He can run a pro style. They don’t feel the problems off the field are as bad as some people might suspect.” The club is in desperate need of a quarterback.
– NFL Network’s Mike Lombardi reports that at least two running back-needy teams have removed Alabama RB Mark Ingram from their draft boards. “I’ve had two teams tell me the knee is very bad. He won’t be on their boards. They’re teams that need running backs.” Mike Mayock is also “not so sure” Ingram will be a first-rounder. The consensus is that there’s better value on mid-round backs, as opposed to Ingram in the first. Look for the Patriots to have a chance to draft Ingram at No. 33 overall.
Meanwhile, Greg Cosell (NFL Films), Merril Hoge (ESPN), and Charley Casserly (NFL Network) all believe that RB Mikel Leshoure is a superior running back to Ingram. Cosell, in fact, has Ingram ranked 3rd behind both Leshoure and RB Ryan Williams. Ingram is Hoge’s No. 2 back between Leshoure and mega-sleeper Johnny White of North Carolina. Ingram was thought to be the first running back drafted, but now, he may not even go in the first round.
– Adam Schefter reported on ESPN’s Sports Center Wednesday that Auburn’ DT Nick Fairley missed his flight to the Combine, missed a team meeting there, and was late for a team interview at his Pro Day. Fairley was forced to go the junior college route entering college, had just one dominant season at Auburn, and has faced criticism for taking plays off. His commitment issues leave him as one of the biggest wildcards in the top half of the draft.
– Many within WWE feel that WrestleMania will be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2013 and both Edge and Trish Stratus will be inducted into the Hall of Fame that year.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety at JRsBarBQ.com. Here is what JR had to say about the WWE career and future of Adam “Edge” Copeland.
“Edge’s retirement this past Monday on Raw was a shocking surprise. I had no idea that it was going to happen even up until the time Edge came to the ring and gave us the emotional news. There are no wrestlers in the business that I respect more as a performer and a man than I do Adam Copeland aka Edge. When I signed him in the 90?s, he was a lanky, over achieving kid who simply wanted to live his dream of making it onto the WWE Roster. He and Christian were like brothers and both fed off the other in the ring as they each worked diligently every day to improve their game. I honestly can’t remember a single day when Adam Copeland ever did anything to disappoint me or cause our department or company any problems.
Edge has a brilliant mind, a kind soul, patience, and would be a great teacher, producer, broadcaster, scout, or whatever task he may want to undertake in WWE. I look for Edge to take some much needed time away from the business and enjoy the North Carolina mountains and his dogs that he loves so much. He deserves no less than to return to WWE in whatever role that creates a win/win for Edge and the company but only whenever Edge is ready to re-engage.
In my role as the head of WWE Talent, I signed many athletes/performers who ended up excelling in WWE but none, and I mean no one, was more of a pure joy to work with and to watch grow from a mid card, tag team wrestler into one of WWE’s most prominent and enduring superstars who will no doubt be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame some day.
I shutter to think what would have happened to Edge in another generation of the biz as it relates to accurately diagnosing his injury. Most old timers would have ‘worked through it,’ or attempted to do so, until their body completely shut down. That’s sad and unnecessary. Modern medicine and the WWE attention to such matters regarding their talent’s health were a blessing for Edge who will now be able to lead a somewhat normal life. I am especially pleased that one of my guys has attained financial independence and that he was able to live his boyhood dream.
Notwithstanding the touching farewell address by the popular native of Ontario, no one can debate that this story did not have a happy ending. Good things more often than not happen to good people and Adam Copeland aka Edge was one of the truly ‘good guys’ I ever had the privilege of knowing in the business. Now, Adam, if he so chooses, can start phase two of his WWE life and potentially gift the younger talents with his wonderful knowledge and passion for the genre.
Do it on your schedule Adam. Enjoy those North Carolina mountains and reflect upon a job well done. It’s people like you that make me extremely proud to be in the business.”
– Bill DeMott was recently interviewed by Monday Night Mayhem. The highlights:
Why he made the decision to return to the WWE as a trainer for Tough Enough: “It’s very simple. I was sitting home, and my phone rang. I looked at the area code. It was 203, and I said ‘Damn what did I do now?’ Anytime I see those three numbers for Connecticut, the first thing I think is ‘What did I do?’ It was John Gaburick, my friend for years and who ran the Tough Enough’s in years past. Before he could get the sentence out of his mouth, I said I was in. He didn’t have to explain anything, or after the hereafters, and who was apart of it. Before I knew it was ‘Stone Cold’ (Steve Austin), Trish (Stratus), and Booker (T) I was in, because I take great pride in associating myself with the Tough Enough brand.”
How the Tough Enough contestants took to WrestleMania weekend and the overall experience of WrestleMania XXVII: “I don’t think they got it, and there’s a part of me that says they did not deserve to be there. I don’t mean it disrespectfully. I understand Raw and premiere the kids there, but WrestleMania? You have to earn that spot. There’s cats on the roster that weren’t at WrestleMania, so I don’t think they understood it. I just thought they were like ‘Wow, we’re at WrestleMania, and there’s cameras ollowing us, and we’re it right now.’ I guess that’s my crossover with Reality TV right now. I’m always going to protect the business.”
How many of the Tough Enough contestants (besides the winner) he believes have the potential to perform in the WWE: “If I gave my honest opinion, which I pretty much do 99 percent of the time, there might be three that have potential to go to the farm system. The finale will be live, so everybody will see who the two or three are. I think for reality TV, a lot of people are picking their favorite talent and putting their money on them. I think every week someone is going to be shocked at what happens.”
Whether or not there have been discussions of a return to the ring or the announcer’s table after the season finale of WWE Tough Enough airs: “There’s been some very interesting conversations since returning from L.A. and shooting the first nine weeks of the series. I think people are going to be very surprised if they see me back in anything other than Tough Enough. I like Tough Enough to be my baby and be there as long as they’ll have me, and I feel like even after the training stuff is done in producing and bringing the show further and further. But I think people are going to be surprised at my role, whether it be a new role or an old role with WWE. I have to say, don’t cash me out of making an in-ring appearance or two.”
– Gail Kim responded to speculation online that she may retire in the near future.
“Retiring? haha why would I do that? I can still go with the best and still look good )))hehe can’t get rid of me that easily! Haters u wish!”
Kim also commented on former TNA rival Awesome Kong joining the promotion.
“Looks like my old friend is coming I’m ready 4 round 2. Anytime. Anywhere. We have some unfinished business….”
– Trish Stratus confirmed last Friday via radio interview that she was snubbed by John Morrison at WrestleMania. He wasn’t interested in listening to her suggestions for their bout, and that when she went to hug him during the post-match celebration, he gave her the cold shoulder. The assumption backstage is that Melina was in his ear because she believed Stratus was taking “her spot” at the pay-per-view event.
– Former WWE talent Sean Morley (aka Val Venis) is furious over their alleged treatment of Stratus, who he considers a friend. He posted a video online blasting the real-life couple, while also defending Stratus. His remarks are as follows:
“I’ve always been really nice to Johnny and Melina. I’ve always been really nice to them. I don’t respect Johnny at all. And, you know, there are several reasons for that. And now, after snubbing Trish for supposedly taking Melina’s spot at WrestleMania. You know what? Screw it. The reality of the situation is Melina, it’s not your spot! It’s Vince McMahon’s spot and he’s going to put in that spot whoever will be doing the best for the company and it’s ain’t you, ah-ah! It’s Trish! You think you’re on the same level as Trish, Melina? Come on! All that respect I might have had for you, which honestly was just a little bit, is completely thrown out the freakin’ window now!
“The reality is, your boyfriend Morrison is nothing but a chump ass bitch who has zero nuts! Zero nuts! What is it? First it’s Mike Knox, then it’s Batista? And the whole time Morrison goes on like, “It’s not really happening. It’s just, she doesn’t really cheat on me.” You’re a freakin’ ho Melina! You know what, I’m not even going to say freakin’ anymore, you’re a fucking slut, period! And Morrison you wanna go out there, and Melina, and snub, my t-dot girl Trish? Come on!
“Melina, you’re not the same level as Trish. If you want that spot so much, why instead of taking it out on Trish and saying, “uhhh she took my spot,” why don’t you think, “Hmmm… Vince chose Trish for that spot. How can I better improve my charisma, my in-ring ability, my marketability. So that the next time Vince decides to choose someone for a certain spot, you’ll choose me.” It’s called competition. It’s called free market competition Melina. But no, you can’t handle that. You think you’re owed that spot, you ain’t owed nothing!
“And then Morrison, you’re going to walk around like Batista didn’t tag your girl? You’re going to walk around like Mike Knox didn’t tag your girl? By the way, how does Mike Knox taste? How does Batista taste? How does, God knows how many other guys she’s banged right under your nose. In fact, it wasn’t even under your nose! You just pretend it was under your nose! You know the whole time it was f*****g going on! God dang! So all and all, while you walk around snubbing Trish, a future Hall of Famer, you try and turn a ho into a house wife! Melina’s nothing more than a glorified ring rat. I have zero respect for you Morrison.
“And you know what? We’re going to run into each other at some point in time. I’ll walk right up to you with my chin stuck out and you either chin me, or beat it! But the reality is, you ain’t got the balls to chin me! Cause the reality is, Trish has proven time and time again, to the entire world for that matter, that she has way bigger balls than you’ll ever have.
“Keep trying to turn that ho into a house wife! F**k you Melina! F**k you Morrison! Trying to knock my t-dot girl Trish, who actually earned a spot! God dang!”
– According to the PWTorch, TNA Wrestling personnel indicate that Hulk Hogan is or was seriously considering the idea of returning to the ring for the Lethal Lockdown Cage Match between Immortal and Fortune at this Sunday’s Lockdown pay-per-view event. It’s being said that if Hogan is up for wrestling, the bout would be turned into a five-on-five match with AJ Styles joining Fortune. However, many believe the idea was scrapped since it hasn’t been promoted or teased on iMPACT!.
Barring a physical setback, the general feeling is that Hogan will return to the ring at some point. Since undergoing his last back surgery in late December, Hogan has gotten himself in much better shape that he’s been in recent years. The procedures have been a huge success in terms of reducing the level of pain he has been dealing with on a daily basis. Hogan is also engaging himself more with his peers than when the pain was debilitating. While Vince Russo is the organization’s head writer, Hogan aids several wrestlers on their material at television tapings.
– Lakers’ F Kobe Bryant has been fined $100K for his homophobic slur aimed an an NBA referee on Tuesday night. “Kobe Bryant’s comment during last night’s game was offensive and inexcusable,” said commissioner David Stern.
– Pistons’ F Charlie Villanueva has received a 5-game suspension for his role in the brawl with Ryan Hollins on Monday night. After missing Detroit’s season finale, he’ll miss the first four games of the 2011-12 season as well. Villanueva finishes a disappointing season averaging 11.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 22 minutes a game.