– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion) has been cleared to resume off-ice workouts in three weeks. Crosby met with concussion expert Dr. Michael Collins on Tuesday. Crosby, who was sidelined in early January after sustaining two hard hits in as many games, was enjoying his best season with 66 points in 41 games before he was hurt. The 23-year-old Crosby will not start on-ice workouts until late July or early August, which is his normal off-season workout schedule.
– The Stars will not offer F Brad Richards a new contract this summer, making him a UFA on July 1. The team’s ownership situation is expected to carry on late into the summer, and with that uncertainty, they decided that they couldn’t offer a realistic contract and have decided to cut him loose. They’ll likely try and trade his rights to another team before they lose him for free on July 1, but Richards has a full NTC and will need to approve the trade first. He recorded 28 goals and 77 points in 72 games last season for Dallas.
– NHL senior VP of hockey operations Mike Murphy has announced that Canucks’ F Alex Burrows will not be suspended for the allegedly biting Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Wednesday night. ”After reviewing the incident, including speaking with the on-ice officials, I can find no conclusive evidence that Alex Burrows intentionally bit the finger of Patrice Bergeron,” said Murphy in a statement. It’s a potentially blown call, and given that Burrows has clicked with the Sedins all season, it would’ve given Boston an advantage. Burrows has seven goals and seven assists in 19 playoff games.
– Canucks’ F Manny Malhotra (left eye) missed practice earlier this week after undergoing another procedure on his eye. Malhotra suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury on March 16, but is now on the verge of returning to the ice after an incredible recovery. He has been cleared to play this weekend for Game 2, but this latest procedure once again puts his season in doubt. Stay tuned.
– Wild’ GM Chuck Fletcher said that F Mikko Koivu is the only untouchable on the roster this summer. “I’m not trading Mikko Koivu. I can guarantee you that.” Minny has missed the playoffs for the last three seasons, and once they hire a new head coach, the roster is expected to be shaken up. G Niklas Backstrom, F Martin Havlat, D Marek Zidlicky and F Matt Cullen all have full no-trade clauses, so it may prove difficult to move some of their larger contracts.
– The Capitals acquired F Taylor Stefishen from the Predators for a conditional pick in the 2013 draft. Stefishen, 20, spent last season with the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League. He had 24 goals and 43 assists in 68 regular-season games.
– Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has confirmed that Red Sox’ RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka will undergo Tommy John surgery. Dice-K and his reps met with the front office on Thursday morning, and both sides agreed that undergoing the reconstructive elbow procedure is the logical course of cation. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum next week in LA. He’s out for the remainder of this season, and will miss the bulk of 2012, at which point, his contract with the BoSox expires.
– Royals’ prospect LHP John Lamb (elbow) will undergo Tommy John surgery Friday. The surgery will be performed by Dr. Lewis Yocum in LA. Lamb, 20, was ranked as the No. 18 prospect overall by Baseball America coming into the season. He had a chance to crack the team at some point this season, but will now be sidelined into part of the 2012 season.
– The Twins have placed OF Jason Kubel (sprained left foot) and DH Jim Thome () on the 15-day DL, as well as transferring C Joe Mauer (leg) to the 60-day DL. Kubel suffered the injury during Monday’s game against the Tigers. It was originally deemed a minor ailment, but the 29-year-old showed no improvement this week. Thome suffered the strain on Wednesday night in the Twins’ loss to the Tigers. The 40-year-old will likely need around three weeks of recovery time. Mauer’s move is procedure to open up another roster spot. Mauer caught three innings Thursday in an extended spring training game, which was his first game action behind the plate since he landed on the DL on April 14. Mauer also went 0-for-5 on the day and is hitless over his first 10 at-bats in extended spring training. He’s still a few weeks away from returning. The Twinkies continue to drop like flies.
– The U.S. District court in Minnesota has cancelled mediation sessions scheduled for next week to begin “confidential settlement talks” with the NFL and the NFLPA. U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan is pushing for a settlement due to the uncertainty and lack of leverage on both sides before the Eighth Circuit issues a ruling on the lockout. The players have been pushing for serious talks with the “power-broker” owners as opposed to attorneys, and this is a step in the right direction. As NFL Network’s Albert Breer points out, terms of the next CBA were included in the settlement reached back in 1993.
– Giants’ RB Brandon Jacobs, WR Plaxico Burress’ best friend on the Giants, says the free agent believes he will end up signing with the Eagles. Jacobs thinks Plax will be looking for a “new start” like the one QB Michael Vick received in Philly. Plax, 33, has already spoken with Vick, and Philly is now considered the favourite to sign him. Adding another deep threat would make Vick and the Eagles that much more dangerous. Jacobs emphasized that there is “no chance” Plax will re-sign with the Giants. “No chance. None.”
– According to the Denver Post’s Woody Paige, the Broncos’ brass has decided that RB Knowshon Moreno is “not a big-time running back.” This report is similar to the one by Jeff Legwold of the Post. Reportedly, the belief is that Moreno “doesn’t have the skill-set or the mind-set” to be a true feature back. If this ends up being true, Denver will search for an early-down back this offseason, bumping Moreno to third-down situations. RB D’Angelo Williams makes sense, and with his history with coach John Fox, it’d be a shock if Denver didn’t give him a real hard look.
– The Arizona Republic hears the Cardinals “think highly” of Broncos’ QB Kyle Orton as alternative to Eagles’ QB Kevin Kolb. Beat writer Kent Somers believes the Cardinals have Kolb rated “slightly ahead” of Orton, but not enough to justify overpaying in a trade with the Philly. This report could be an attempt at gaining leverage, but there’s no question Orton will be the more cost-effective fallback option. Philly is still seeking at least a 1st-rounder for Kolb.
– Saints’ RB Mark Ingram has been participating in seven-on-seven drills with teammates while trying to familiarize himself with the team’s offense. QB Drew Brees said, ”He looks great. There’s no doubt he’s been working and he’s in shape. He can play a pretty significant role on our offense.” It’s a step in the right direction in terms of his immediate role with the team. Ingram re-iterated that he wasn’t offended by RB Reggie Bush’s Twitter tantrum after the draft. “He’s always been real cool with me, real encouraging, real positive.”
– Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times Union confirms that the Jaguars will give No. 10 overall pick QB Blaine Gabbert a legitimate chance to start as a rookie. According to Ganguli, Gabbert “won’t sit for the sake of development,” and “he will start … if he beats out (David) Garrard.” Garrard is owed nearly $8M in 2011 salary.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross has updated his blog, which you can read in its entirety over at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what Jim Ross said about:
Chris Jericho’s 3rd Book & WWE Return: Chris Jericho is looking at doing a 3rd book! Amazing. I can’t even put a plan together to write one while wanting to stay away from a full blown autobiography at this time. Jericho is uber talented in many areas and has likely not wrestled his last WWE bout. The thing about Jericho is that he’s going to do things on his time line and that he enjoys doing. When or if he becomes ready to return to WWE he will. The Winnipeg native and Fozzy front man certainly doesn’t ‘owe’ any of us one more match.
Alex Riley Getting A Babyface Push: Yes emailer….Alex Riley has upped his game the past two weeks on Raw while beating up The Miz. The key to Riley’s rise to stardom and latching on to something tangible at the next level is his continued ability to shine and to get on a roll. The roll has started but how long will it be sustained? That’s always going to be the question no matter the talent. Riley-Miz has been some of my favorite, MNR content the past two broadcasts. It feels new and fresh.
The New WWE ’12 Video Game: The THQ rendition of the WWE12 video game is going to really be slick. THQ has some very educated and intelligent fans of the genre working on this game and I look for it to be the most ecstatically pleasing and exciting to play video game that THQ/WWE has done to date.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Mexican-based wrestling magazine Super Luchas reported on Sunday that WWE had signed Averno, one of the top heel wrestlers in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). He then claimed he hadn’t signed with WWE and would prove it by defeating La Mascara in an upcoming Mask vs. Match Match. His father confirmed that his son had signed with WWE, but backtracked because it would make the result of the match, scheduled for June 17, obvious.
Averno participated in a tryout match with WWE in October, but was not signed then due to organization officials’ directive on not obtaining talent older than 30 years unless established. He is 34 years old.
Averno, as well as WWE developmental wrestler Peter Orlov, participated in the filming of the vignettes promoting Sin Cara’s debut. WWE’s acquisition of the masked grappler is said to be directly related to the SmackDown Superstar being asked to name the wrestler he worked best with, following concern over his match with Chavo Guerrero at Over the Limit. WWE officials are determined to make Sin Cara successful because he was promoted as the first discovery of Triple H in his role as chief of talent development. However, there has always skepticism on his prospects due to his inability to speak English and being thrown on television before learning the American style of wrestling.
It’s almost certain that Averno will debut with a new ring name. One name being discussed for the 16-year wrestling veteran is Rey Ortiz II. He is also expected to perform without his mask.
– Following her recent return to the national wrestling scene for TNA Wrestling, things were starting to look good for Chyna’s future in the business. She appeared to be in good shape on television, all indications were that she was professional to work with and there was talk of TNA signing her to a long-term contract. That was until news came out that Chyna is getting back into the porn business.
TMZ.com is reporting that TNA told Chyna point blank – if her new sex tape comes out, she will never work for them again. Chyna’s latest hardcore adult movie “Backdoor Into Chyna” is set to be released by Vivid Video later this month – and TNA has informed her that their previous contract offer is dead. Chyna told TMZ:
“The whole thing has been constant drama … it’s all good in the end … [TNA] is missing the boat … FREEDOOOM!”
– The ongoing saga between the Ultimate Warrior and Hulk Hogan continues. Following The Ultimate Warrior’s recent remarks that he’s going to expose Hulk Hogan for what he truly is, Hogan asks people to pray for Warrior:
“It’s awesome how such grateful positive people live in abundance and how they always try to help and pray for the lost negative people. his claim to fame was our match at WM,if he didn’t have that I’m not sure what he’s done.he’s just trying to keep his deal alive. only pray for him, just hope he stops attracting so much hate into his life. like attracts like.”
– TNA executive Eric Bischoff went on another rant against the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) on Wednesday night. Bischoff tweeting the following in response to the “IWC smarks” who follow pro wrestling online and are outspoken about TNA’s product:
“Seems like 90% of the audience loves what the loudest 10% hates. So who really matters? The 10%er’s can’t get over the fact that they are irrelevant. Ratings don’t lie. Research doesn’t lie. IWC smarks need to get over it.”