– The Bruins have defeated the Lightning 1-0 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bruins will go on to play the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final. Of note, the Bruins advancing to the Cup Final means that the Leafs receive an addition 2nd-round pick from Boston due to the Tomas Kaberle trade.
– The Blazers may ask F Brandon Roy to retire this summer as they continue to decide the future of the franchise. Roy still has 4-years/$68M remaining on his deal, and is locked up through 2014-15. He is being paid ‘franchise’ talent money, but his chronically deteriorating knees make his future outlook in the NBA shaky. Roy intends to spend the summer resting and rehabbing to strengthen his knees, and it seems extremely unlikely that he’ll agree to retire at such a young age. Stay tuned.
– Lakers’ trainer Gary Vitti said that G Kobe Bryant’s surgically-repaired knee is ”structurally there are some issues that cannot be reversed, but can be dealt with.” Bryant missed training camp and sat out some practices through the year, which allowed him to rest up a bit, yet also stopped him from getting on a good roll. Vitti specified that Kobe has an “articulating cartilage problem…Kobe doesn’t have an arthritic knee, but he has a knee that has some joint degeneration to it.” He is not a candidate for microfracture surgery, but Vitti hinted at other procedures that could alleviate the problem. Stay tuned.
– The Rockets have signed Kevin McHale to a 3-year deal plus a team option to become the new head coach, pending agreement on McHale’s coaching staff.
– Canucks’ F Manny Malhotra (eye) has been cleared to fully participate in full-contact practices. Malholtra’s career was in jeopardy just weeks ago, but now he appears to be on the verge of returning to the ice. Malholtra may not be in game shape just yet, but there’s a strong possibility that he plays in the Stanley Cup Finals, despite having decreased vision in one eye.
– The Athletics have acquired 2B Scott Sizemore from the Tigers for LHP David Purcey. Sizemore was batting just .222 with one double and four RBI over his first 63 at-bats this season, but was long considered the cornerstone second baseman of the future. A’s’ 2B Mark Ellis has struggled offensively this season, but Sizemore may not even get the chance to start every day. The A’s acquired Purcey from the Blue Jays last month. The 29-year-old has a 3.60 ERA and 10/7 K/BB ratio over 15 innings this season. The 2004 first-round pick was effective out of the bullpen last season, but the trade remains a huge steal for the A’s.
– Coming off of a successful 80-pitch bullpen session on Friday, Rangers’ RHP Brandon Webb (shoulder) is scheduled to make a rehab appearance for Double-A Frisco on Monday. It will be the first professional appearance Webb has made since 2009, assuming he doesn’t have any setbacks between now and Monday. He will be on a strict pitch count, and will probably see four or five innings of work. It’s still very early to put a timetable on his potential return to the majors, but if Monday goes well, he’ll be a lot closer than he’s been in quite some time.
– According to Nationals’ manager Jim Riggleman, 3B Ryan Zimmerman (abdominal surgery) has officially resumed baseball activities. ”He’s making progress. He’s feeling good about his work down (in extended spring training). He’s started baseball activities. He’s feeling better. He’s got a ways to go yet, though.” Zimmerman has also resumed running, “taking batting practice off a tee, playing soft toss and fielding groundballs.” He doesn’t yet have a rehab assignment scheduled, but remains on pace to rejoin the Nats in mid-June.
– According to Marlins’ manager Edwin Rodriguez, RHP Josh Johnson’s (shoulder) return is now more likely to come closer to June 6, and not June 1 as initially predicted. A June 6 return would have Johnson missing three starts, which is right around average when there’s a shoulder injury. JJ will likely be on a strict pitch count his first two or three starts back. If he does indeed return on the 6th, he’ll take on the Brewers.
– The Reds have placed RHP Homer Bailey (strained posterior capsule in right shoulder) on the 15-day DL. The good news is that Bailey, who’s been electric since coming off the DL a few weeks ago, will not require surgery. He remains out indefinitely.
– The Padres have placed 2B Orlando Hudson (strained left groin) on the 15-day DL. Hudson missed over two weeks with a strained hamstring earlier this month, and now, just seven games after returning, is back on the DL. It’s unclear how long he might miss.
– The Yankees have released RHP Brian Anderson. Anderson, a converted outfielder, signed a minor league contract with the team over the winter, and posted a 1.17 ERA and 9/1 K/BB ratio over his first 7 2/3 innings with Double-A Trenton. At only 29, it’ll be interesting to see what he decides to do next.
– According to multiple accounts, former WWE Tag Team Champion Brian Knobbs mocked Randy Savage’s death at a wrestling convention last Friday in Newark, California. A number of former WWE stars were on hand for Big Time Wrestling’s annual Wrestlefest event last Friday at the Newark Pavilion including Bret Hart, Kevin Nash, Sean Waltman, Jim Neidhart, Jerry Sags, Greg Valentine and Jimmy Hart. News of Savage’s passing broke Friday and Knobbs was cracking jokes about the deceased wrestler later that day in front of his longtime colleagues.
Waltman, who witnessed Knobbs’ mean-spirited behavior, took to Twitter to criticize the Nasty Boys member.
“There’s no shoot brewing with Knobs. He’s just an asshole for making jokes about Randy Savage dying on the same day it happened. He’s pathetic.”
Waltman also wrote the following to Hulk Hogan, a close friend of Knobbs’:
“I’m sorry to even bring you into Knobs BS, but he needs to be held accountable for once. You’re the only one I know who can do it.”
Lanny Poffo was also scheduled to appear at the event but canceled due to the death of his brother.
– The June 6, 2011 issue of TIME features an article on the late Randy Savage written by Vince McMahon. A preview of the article was released:
“It’s important in sports and it’s important in entertainment to stand out. Randy knew that. Right away, he wanted to leave his mark, and to do that he was aware he had to make himself different from everyone else. One way he did this was concentrating on his outfits, those brightly colored costumes with foot-long fringe that became his trademark. He brought to wrestling a unique look and style.
“Randy, who died in a car crash May 20 at age 58, was one of the building blocks of what is now WWE (previously known as the World Wrestling Federation). He had…”
– Here are some highlights of what WWE Champion John Cena spoke about during a recent interview with Boston.com:
His character: “I don’t market myself as the coolest guy out there or the most edgy guy out there. Sports and entertainment have become such a business of branding. You have a lot of people watching your every action, and I’m proud of that. I take a lot of pride in how I present myself.”
The Attitude Era: “The Attitude Era was when the fans became teens. The Attitude Era was really generation-specific. I’m not taking anything away from that — it was 18-to-35-year-old males, and now we’re a broader audience, really more like it was in the ’80s.”
WWE’s All Stars Video Game & Andre the Giant: “The game is unreal. If you just look at the timeline; those people loved the WWE, and they are my age and a little bit older, and they are starting to have family, and all of those young kids are getting interested in the program. He (Andre the Giant) made such an impression on me. He is the one guy that I would have loved to show what I could do.”
– The late Chris Benoit is shown a few times in WWE’s forthcoming The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro DVD (scheduled for release on June 7), and even in the same segments as Woman. However, no full matches of Benoit are included in the DVD, not to mention that in segments where he is shown, commentary referring to “The Crippler” is muted.
– Earlier this week, TMZ.com broke the story that former WWE diva Chyna would be returning to the world of adult movies – and recently filmed yet another porn film titled, Backdoor Into Chyna. Chyna’s reps denied the reports, calling them entirely untrue. TMZ is sticking to its story and recently spoke to former WWE star Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, who co-starred in Chyna’s first sex tape (1 Night In China) about the situation. Waltman remembers how devastated Chyna was back in 2004 when their sex tape leaked and says her decision to film more adult movies is indicative of where she’s at in her life. Chyna recently struck a deal with Vivid Entertainment to produce a new pornographic film featuring the former Playboy model with “multiple endowed male professionals.” Waltman said,
“It’s too hard remembering how devastated she was the first time around.”
“It saddens me … but she obviously hasn’t progressed very far in life.”
“She used to say how low she felt after the first [sex tape] was released … what does that say about where she’s at in life now?”
– TNA’s Eric Bischoff was one of the featured guests on this week’s live edition of Monday Night Mayhem. The highlights:
His reaction to the passing of Randy Savage & how he will remember “The Macho Man”: “It hit me pretty hard, and it’s still hitting me now. He was a very private individual and kind of kept to himself, and I respected that. As more information comes out the more I see it, it still shocks me, and it’s hard to believe that Randy is not with us.”
The transition from iMPACT into iMPACT Wrestling & why he believes now is the perfect time to make changes to the television program itself: “Last week, a lot of the changes you saw were cosmetic. Graphics, lighting, staging, and that sort of thing, which was part of the plan. I think anyone who had any expectations that all of sudden iMPACT Wrestling was going to be a completely different show, probably had misaligned expectations. We are going to try & improve the show in many different ways in what you are going to see throughout the summer and going into the fall. It’s a great time of year to experiment with format and experiment with different elements of the show. You’ll see those changes. Some will noticeable, and others won’t be.”
Whether or not he sees Ring of Honor as more of a direct competition to TNA, after the acquisition of ROH by Sinclair Broadcasting: “I know I am going to get a lot of heat for what I’m about to tell you, and I’ve got nothing against anybody at Ring of Honor. In fact I wish them all the best. I’m reading a lot of stuff people are writing, and I think they are kidding themselves. Sinclair is 22 television stations, however many it is, that has a 22% market penetration in the United States. 22% market penetration in the United States means you don’t exist from an advertisers point of view. 22% means Nielsen doesn’t even track you as a network, and that’s assuming they get distribution on all 22 of those stations, which isn’t guaranteed. So while I think it’s a great thing for ROH because at least they have something, I think the enthusiasm of the fact that it’s a network, people are getting excited over a lot of nothing.”
If he has ever been a fan of short title reigns (coming off the fan fallout after Christian losing the World Heavyweight Championship to Randy Orton, just days after winning the title): “It all goes back to story. What’s the circumstances? What’s the context? Where’s it going? There’s not a simple formula to answer that question. Generally speaking, short title reigns tend to be risky, because your audience never really has a chance to grasp it and to get embedded into it one way or the other.”
– Ric Flair’s son Reid Flair appeared on the Hit the Ropes radio show on Wednesday and spoke about the possibility of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming a pro wrestler. Despite the fact that Reid’s father works for TNA, the second generation wrestler’s ultimate goal is to make it to what he calls “the big time” – WWE.
“No, I have not ruled out TNA. I respect the guys that are there. I respect the people in management and stuff like that. My dream since I was five years old was to work for the WWE and that’s my goal.”
Reid acknowledges that working for TNA has its benefits, but his perception of the company is similar to the reputation that TNA has earned in recent years – which is that TNA is where “established” wrestlers go after they’ve been in WWE.
“I think for people who are already established as stars, TNA is a great place to go. But me being a young kid and stuff like that, not having established myself, I think that sometimes the younger guys may be misrepresented and stuff in TNA. And I’m not saying anything malicious about TNA, WWE is just where I want to be. That’s my goal. WWE is the big time and I want to be with the best.”
– Updating a previous item, TNA star Kurt Angle is training to compete at the Summer 2012 Olympic games from London, England. Angle wrote on Twitter this week that he is going to be filming a reality television show that will follow him on his path to the Olympics next summer. Angle noted that TNA is supportive of his decision to return to Olympic competition 16 years after he won the gold medal back at the 1996 summer games from Atlanta.
– According to the PWI, employees at Universal Studios, home of TNA’s Impact Zone, are cracking down on the usage of cellphones at TNA television tapings. Universal has been threatening fans in recent weeks that they will be kicked out of the building if they are suspected of texting spoilers to websites. The new policy is said to be mandated by Universal Studios, not TNA.
– The Lions’ training staff is describing QB Matthew Stafford’s shoulder recovery as “off the charts.” Team president Tom Lewand said, ”The surgery that he had is very similar to Sam Bradford’s a year ago. Obviously, Sam had a tremendous rookie year, didn’t miss any snaps, and we feel the same about Matthew’s ability to go forward, better than he’s ever been.” Stafford’s arm strength is rumoured to be even stronger post-surgery. Stay tuned.
– Bucs’ CB Aqib Talib was officially indicted Friday morning on felony charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. From here, they’ll schedule hearings, followed by a trial, where Talib could face 2-20 years in prison if convicted of firing multiple shots at his sister’s boyfriend. Talib will likely face NFL discipline regardless of the outcome of the trial. His days with the Bucs are likely over.
– The Cowboys reportedly had RB Mark Ingram in their sights had they successfully traded down with the Jaguars in the draft. Dallas reportedly rejected Jacksonville’s offer to move to the No. 9 spot due to being so high on OT Tyron Smith. Had they made the deal, the Cowboys would have used the extra 2nd-rounder to move back into the 1st round for a chance at selecting Ingram. The front office wanted more backfield depth than what was expected heading into the draft.