– According to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, “it’s safe to say there will be no announcement on Tuesday,” with regards to the Thrashers’ possible sale. True North Sports and Entertainment is believed to be close to finalizing a deal that would allow them to purchase the Thrashers and move them to Winnipeg. 630 CHED’s Dan Tencer reported earlier in the day that an announcement could be made on Wednesday. Stay tuned.
– Red Wings’ D Brian Rafalski will reportedly announce his retirement in the near future. Rafalski, 38 in September, still as 1-year/$6M remaining on his contract. The move comes as a major shock. He scored four goals and 48 points in 63 games this season while missing time because of a knee injury. His knee problems have reportedly influenced his decision to retire.
Rafalski, however, hasn’t told GM Ken Holland if he’ll retire. ”I know there are tons of rumors out there. I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking. I did meet with him at the end of the year. I’ve had conversations with him. For lack of better words, I do know he’s doing a lot of thinking about next year. He’s got to make some decisions. I haven’t talked to him in a week. He hasn’t told me he’s retiring.” Stay tuned.
– F Doug Weight is expected to announce his retirement on Thursday. Weight was limited to just 18 games this season because of a back injury. He hasn’t played since November 17th, but he helped coach his teammates during the season and he will likely take a job within the Islanders’ organization.
– The Jets have legitimate interest in free agent WR Randy Moss, sources tell the Daily News. With WRs Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards set to receive big contracts in free agency, the Jets will need someone to fill the void. The 34-year-old is still a threat despite being unproductive with three teams last season.
– Bengals’ owner Mike Brown reiterated Monday that he has no intentions of honouring QB Carson Palmer’s trade demand. ”We don’t plan to trade Carson. He’s important to us. He’s a very fine player, and we do want him to come back. If he chooses not to, he’d retire. And we would go with Andy Dalton … Ideally, we’d have both of them. That’d be the best way to go forward. If we don’t have Carson, we’ll go with Andy.” Dalton, the No. 35 overall pick in the draft, is the favourite to start in Week 1.
– A team source tells Len Pasquarelli of the Sports XChange that the Falcons will not pursue Bengals’ WR Chad Ochocinco after he’s released. ”Aint happenin’,” a Falcons team source told Pasquarelli. There’s no reason for the Falcons to roll the dice on him.
– According to Pro Football Weekly, free agent RB Cadillac Williams is generating “behind the scenes buzz” at Rams Park. One Rams insider said, ”Cadillac would be a perfect fit behind (Steven) Jackson. He had no problem accepting a part-time role in Tampa.” Williams has failed to top 3.9 YPC since his rookie year, but is coming off a career-best 46-catch season. Now 29, Williams is more of a third-down back.
– Chagers’ coach Norv Turner told Chargers.com that WR Antonio Gates (plantar fasciitis) is 100% recovered. Turner met with Gates during the lockout lift in April. Turner added that Gates “is going to be our lead guy. It’s a shame he got hurt a year ago because he was not only going to have his career-best year, but maybe the best year ever by a tight end. He’ll be a big part of what we do.” Still only 31, Gates should be dominant for a few more years.
– Browns’ president Mike Holmgren is not guaranteeing the starting job to QB Colt McCoy. ”We have Seneca Wallace, too, and Jake Delhomme as well right now. I didn’t necessarily want (McCoy) to play that much last year, but we were injured, and so he had a chance to play.” He says the position will be “competitive” in training camp, but admits that McCoy will “probably be the guy.”
– Jeff Legwold of the Denver Post believes that the Broncos view RB Knowshon Moreno as a “situational” role player as opposed to a true feature, every-down back. ”His role in the (John) Fox era likely will be more of a third-down player,” writes Legwold. The Broncos didn’t draft a single back in the draft, and VP of Football Operations John Elway recently said he expected a “breakout” season from the third-year pro. If the Broncos acquire a big-time back through free agency, then Legwand is right. He suggests RB DeAngelo Williams as an option. Stay tuned.
– The NFL has cancelled the annual Rookie Symposium without a Collective Bargaining Agreement in place. It’s the first event deleted from the formal NFL calender. The Rookie Symposium was scheduled to begin on June 26 at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
– According to the PWInsider, Nexus leader CM Punk is currently slated to be the next challenger to John Cena’s WWE Championship after Cena’s feud with The Miz is over. Cena is said to be a big fan of Punk and went to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon asking to work with Punk. Punk is said to be unhappy behind the scenes in WWE with his lack of push and is strongly considering leaving WWE when his WWE contract expires at the end of the summer.
WWE is still hoping to re-sign Punk and a main event feud with John Cena, as well as another possible title run, could be used as a way to show Punk that he is a highly valued member of the WWE roster. Even if we do see a program between Cena and Punk, it’s no guarantee that Punk will stick around. Aside from being unhappy with how his character has been booked in recent months, Punk is said to be burned out from the hectic WWE road schedule and might have already made up his mind to take at least a few months off.
– Currently featured as one of the top stories on Yahoo.com is yesterday’s report comparing WWE wrestler death stats to similar sized samples in other fields of sports and entertainment. Alongside an image of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, the front page headline reads “Tragic legacy of huge wrestling event” with the description noting “An alarming number of performers from 1991?s Wrestlemania VII are now dead.” The Yahoo! Sports article notes that over 25 percent of the performers from Wrestlemania VII have died prematurely (14 deceased of 51 total), with many of the deaths being attributed to drug use. A graph is enclosed in the article listing the deceased wrestling talents, as well as their age and cause of death. It reads:
- “Macho Man” Randy Savage (58) – heart attack
- Andre the Giant (46) – heart failure
- Mr. Perfect (44) – drug overdose
- Miss Elizabeth (42) – drug overdose
- “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith (39) – heart attack
- Dino Bravo (44) – gunshot
- “The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich (33) – suicide
- Joey Marella (31) – car accident
- Hawk (46) – heart attack
- Hercules (47) – heart disease
- Earthquake (42) – bladder cancer
- Crush (44) – unconfirmed
- Big Boss Man (41) – heart attack
The article forgot to list Sensational Sherri, who died of a drug overdose at the age of 49. This list does not include Gorilla Monsoon (62, natural causes) and Lord Alfred Hayes (76). By comparison, of the 44 starters to play at the Super Bowl in 1991, none have passed away. Additionally, only two of 44 professional boxers who held a major championship belt that year are deceased.
– Legendary wrestling manager Jimmy Hart appeared on the Busted Open satellite radio show on Monday and of course had a lot to say about the late “Macho Man” Randy Savage. Here’s a recap of what Jimmy Hart said:
Hart on how is the Poffo family holding up in the wake of Randy’s passing? “I think since three days since it happened, pretty darn good. Lanny’s always been great. I think what they decided to do too, because I got so many calls from everybody wondering where the funeral is going to be… I know you know it by now too, going to be cremated of course. His ashes are going to be spread on his property. Now, the reason I’m saying this, and its already out there anyhow… Lanny confirmed it too… where his dog Hercules passed away and was buried.
“I think just a little private deal is going to be for Randy’s family, I don’t think he wanted something very very big and that’s kind of the way he was. When he did charities, he never went out there and told people about it or anything and I think donations are going to be sent in in his name are going to be in Tampa for one of the children’s foundations here. I think they’re doing pretty well for it just happening three or four days ago.”
Hart on the relationship between Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan: “I don’t think it was as bad as sometimes people make it out to be because in the wrestling business, there’s always a little angle right around the corner where people can work together and make a ton of money. I think it ended up pretty well. I think when Hulk was going in to the hospital for one of his operations with his back, Randy happened to be at the same place. He stepped in to the room, said hello to Hulk and everything else.
“At the end, everything was pretty well being put back together again. Sometimes people make more of it than what it really is sometimes but being on this end and hearing a little bit of the scuttlebutt here and there, it was almost like a big wrestling angle. Randy was great, there will only be one Macho Man ever ever, colorful and did some great things nobody ever really knew about because he was so private.”
– One of “The Macho Man” Randy Savage’s greatest rivals from the 80?s, George “The Animal” Steele, was on Busted Open. The highlights:
“That’s been said a lot of different ways, and there’s been a lot of different things said that are not true necessarily.”
“I think that what happened with Randy, when his career was winding down with the WWF, Vince McMahon just loved Randy,” he continued. “After all everything Randy had done and he took him under his wing, and he wanted Randy after the ring was over with for him, he wanted him to be our spokesperson. He was traveling with Vince all the time. Randy was almost like a son, they were really tight. And then one day, we were at a TV meeting, and we got word that Randy, without calling Vince, had left and jumped to the WCW.”
“I had never seen Vince McMahon broken before, he was crushed. It hurt him big time and I don’t think he ever got over that. I think that’s the real problem to be honest with you. I heard all this other stuff that I think is garbage when it comes to Randy and relationships with daughters and all that stuff… I don’t think that’s anywhere’s close to the truth.”
– TMZ.com reports that Randy Savage will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered with the ashes of his dog, Hercules. Savage’s brother, Lanny Poffo, told TMZ that Hercules’s ashes were scattered near Savage’s favourite tree several years ago. Lanny told TMZ what Savage would always say, “If it’s good enough for Herc, it’s good enough for me!” Furthermore, there will not be a public memorial for Savage, just a family-only one. It was reported yesterday that his cause of death is pending after an autopsy yielded inconclusive findings. Toxicology results are expected to be released in 4-6 weeks.
– WWE paid tribute to the late Randy Savage on Raw with an “In Memory of” graphic at the beginning of the show and a video package showcasing his career prior to the evening’s main event. The package highlighted his legendary match with Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat at WrestleMania XXVII, on-screen relationship with Miss Elizabeth, trademark mannerisms and other career milestones.
Prior to the airing of the video, Jerry Lawler said of the wrestling legend, “Savage will always be a Hall of Famer, no matter what.” CM Punk punctuated the Savage tribute by wearing “Macho Man” style yellow boots and pink trunks during the Raw main event. John Cena posted a fan’s remark on Twitter regarding Punk’s tribute. It reads: “pink trunks, yellow knee pads? How gay are you? I’m returning your action feagure to the store. I’ll choose @JohnCena instead.” Cena responded, “Please don’t. It was a tribute to randy savage. It was f’n awsome. I was proud to be out there with him.”
Former WWE creative writer Chris DeJoseph (aka Big Dick Johnson), who worked alongside Vince McMahon from 2005 through 2010, ripped his former employer over last night’s Savage tribute video on Raw. He feels it’s hypocritical that WWE would sing the Macho Man’s praises after he had been ostracized from the organization during the final years of his life. Pointing the finger of blame to Vince McMahon, DeJoseph wrote on Twitter, “Vince is steaming watching this Macho Man package.
“Only in death Macho Man was allowed back on WWE TV. Such a shame. Such hypocrisy makes me sick.”
“I was always told never to mention the name Macho Man EVER!”
DeJoseph then recalls pitching Savage for a storyline years ago and being told to never mention his name again.
“We pitched Macho Man and then we were told never to mention his name again because it was “personal.”
Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reported years ago that whenever someone on the writing staff pitched an idea to McMahon about bringing Savage back to WWE, he would immediately get angry and shoot the idea down flat. One day, however, head SmackDown writer Michael Hayes pitched an angle about Savage. Instead of giving his usual angry, expletive-laden response, McMahon peered off into the distance, collected his thoughts and said, “I do not want to do business with that man.”
– Nationals’ RHP Stephen Strasburg (elbow) threw off a mound Monday for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last September. ”First bullpen in the books. Felt great! Hopefully time will speed up now!” There’s a slim chance he could make it back in September, but the Nats are likely to opt on the safe side and keep him out until next season.
– Red Sox’ manager Terry Francona said that RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (sprained ulnar collateral ligament) will not require surgery. Francona took offense to Jon Heyman of SI.com’s report that Dice-K may need Tommy John surgery. “He’s not going to have surgery. He’s not going to have Tommy John. Some reports aren’t very professional. That’s a shame. It’s a shame that we have to do that.” He will receive a second opinion on his right elbow from Dr. Lewis Yocum later this month. Dice-K is currently in Japan on personal business.
– The Nationals have placed 1B Adam LaRoche (torn labrum in left shoulder) on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 22. He’s hoping that resting the arm will allow him to avoid surgery. The 31-year-old tried to play through the injury, but is batting just .172/.288/.258 with three homers over 151 at-bats.
– Twins’ trainer Rick McWane said Monday that 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka (fractured fibula) could play in his first rehab game later this week. He’ll likely begin with extended spring training before moving to a minor league affiliate. They want Nishioka to play at least 10 rehab games, so he’ll likely be back in the early part of June. It’s not yet known if he’ll return as a second baseman or move over to shortstop.
– The Cavs are “very likely” to take Duke’ G Kyrie Irving No. 1 overall, sources tell ESPN’s Chad Ford. Irving is still wearing a shank in his shoe to protect his toe, didn’t work out at the combine and recorded 10.2% body fat. The Cavs have been salivating for Irving for some time now, so it’s now all but confirmed that he’ll go first overall on June 23.
– The Magic are not likely to retain free agent G Jason Richardson, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Richardson, 31, is still one of the better 3-point shooters in the game. With J.J. Redick and Gilbert Arenas set to make a combined $25.7M next season, it’s no wonder why J-Rich won’t be brought back. Redick looks to be the teams’ starting shooting guard next season.
– Barcelona’ G Ricky Rubio wants to know if there will be a lockout before committing to joining the Wolves next season, according to the Pioneer Press. We don’t blame Rubio for not wanting to leave Barcelona just to get locked out, but the CBA doesn’t expire until June 30, meaning we won’t know if there’ll be a lockout for months. The Wolves want to know Rubio’s plans by the June 23 draft, so his situation remains very much up in the air.
– Grizzlies’ F Rudy Gay (left shoulder) said he is no longer using a sling on his surgically repaired shoulder. Gay was due for 4-6 months of rehab after getting shoulder surgery about two months ago. Gay is unlikely to be dealt despite the trade rumours, seeing as the team desperately needed a second scorer in their playoff loss to the Thunder.
– Blazers’ GM Rich Cho, who took over the job in Portland last year, is no longer with the organization. A few days earlier, Cho wanted to suspend F Brandon Roy for his Game 2 comments in Round 1, but was overruled by coach Nate McMillan and owner Paul Allen. He will be replaced by Director of Scouting Chad Buchanan for now.
– Bulls’ F Joakim Noah has been fined $50K for calling a fan a homophobic slur on camera on Sunday. It’s half of what Lakers’ G Kobe Bryant received for the same term aimed at a referee. Reportedly, the fan was making some vulgar comments towards Noah.