– The Kings have reached a verbal agreement with RFA D Drew Doughty, signing him to an 7-year/$56M contract worth $8M annually. Wow. The Kings were adamant on both a 6-year deal and at a maximum of $6.8M a year–now, they’ve added money to the deal and extended the term by an extra year. What a win by Doughty. So much for losing $25K per day that he didn’t report. President/GM Dean Lombardi confirmed that Doughty will join his teammates in Europe in time for the start of the season. The team leaves for Sweden this weekend and both parties wanted a deal before they left.
Doughty, 21, has built a strong resume after three NHL seasons. The native of London, Ontario has 126 points in 239 contests while signal-calling the Kings’ power play, and was a finalist for the Norris Trophy after the 2009-10 season. He was also named the Kings Outstanding Defenceman for three straight seasons and he was voted as the clubs best newcomer following his first year with the Kings. He was also on the gold medal-winning Canadian team at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Doughty statistically ranks among the best defencemen to ever play for the Kings. His nine career game-winning goals ranks fourth all-time among Kings defencemen and his 17 career power-play goals ranks ninth all-time. He also ranks 12th on the all-time list in career goals (33), 13th on the all-time list in both career assists (93) and career points (126), and tied for 15th on the all-time list in career plus/minus rating (plus-16).
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion) is expected to accompany the team on their Western Canada road trip to start the 2011-12 season. If his concussion rehab requires him to use facilities back in Pittsburgh, then coach Dan Bylsma said Crosby will remain behind. If he did that, however, then he would miss out on a number of valuable practices. Crosby has been a regular on the ice for sessions during training camp, but he still hasn’t been cleared for contact so his timetable for a possible return is unknown.
– The Wild have claimed F Nick Johnson off waivers from the Penguins. Assistant GM Brent Flahr said, ”He’s a big winger who’s got pretty good hands and is a pretty good puck control guy. He played well when he got called up last year and just got caught up in the numbers game there in Pittsburgh.” Johnson will have to clear waivers again if the Wild want to send him to AHL Houston, but he is expected to compete for an NHL spot.
– Red Sox’ 2B Dustin Pedroia (foot) will undergo surgery on Friday to have the surgical screw removed from his foot. It shouldn’t affect his offseason. Pedroia batted .307/.387/.474 with 21 home runs, 91 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 159 games played this season.
– The Cubs have activated RHP Carlos Zambrano from the restricted list. With the 2011 regular season over, Big Z’s stint away from the team is finished as well. He should be able to have a normal offseason program heading into spring training 2012. The Cubs reportedly intend to shop the overpaid starter on the trade market this winter.
– The Indians have exercised the option on manager Manny Acta for 2013. Acta’s 3-year contract was set to expire at the end of the 2012 season. The Tribe faded a bit down the stretch this season, but still finished in second in the AL Central with an 80-82 record. Acta has a 149-175 (.460) record over his first two seasons in Cleveland.
– Roger Mason said Thursday that the players are willing to give more money back in talks with the owners, and that there’s a “sense of urgency beyond belief” heading into Friday’s closed-door meeting between the sides. ”We would go down from that 54 — I don’t know what that number is — but I know that if it’s going to get a deal done, we would be willing to compromise even more,” said Mason. The players lost any chance at leverage when they chose not to decertify, and many insiders believe it’s now a matter of ‘how low will the players go.’ David Stern is threatening increasingly worse offers as games get missed, and there are too many players not willing to lose a season. As long as the owners don’t offer the players less than 47% of BRI under the current system, which owners are not offering, there is a very good chance talks head toward resolution.
In an update, NBA insider Chris Sheridan said Thursday that he would be surprised if the owners and players don’t have a deal done by Tuesday. Sheridan has remained optimistic throughout the lockout. He believes the general consensus opinion, in that the split will be closer to 50/50. Stay tuned.
– Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer does not believe Bengals’ QB Carson Palmer is a candidate to be moved before the October 18 trade deadline. Owner/GM Mike Brown isn’t going to give in because he doesn’t want to set a precedent in an organization that deals with disgruntled players on a semi-annual basis. Asked earlier in the day if he could envision the Bengals caving and dealing Palmer, ESPN’s Adam Schefter responded, “Not this season. Maybe not ever.”
– Forbes published an article on Thursday looking at “Who Got Rich This Week” on Wallstreet – and WWE CEO Vince McMahon is one of this week’s big winners. After WWE’s stock recently bottomed out at $8.80, it has bounced back to the mid-9?s, a gain that earned Vince McMahon nearly $17M (on paper). WWE television’s recent debut in Portugal is seen as a factor in the stock’s stabilization. As of this week’s trading, the value of Vince McMahon’s WWE stock was valued at approximately $400M. Back when the stock was trading at close to double its current level, Vince’s overall wealth was over $1B.
– Hollywood actor George Clooney is said to be furious about a report in the tabloid magazine US Weekly that claims his ex-girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis recently sent him angry text messages and was unhappy with Clooney’s relationship with Stacy Keibler. Clooney, who is always very private about his personal life and romantic relationships, has demanded reporters correct their story and commented on the story to TMZ.com. Clooney told TMZ:
“(The report) was completely fabricated in order to sell magazines. I never comment on my personal life unless it affects others… and this lie affects others.”
“Since I would be the only actual witness, I ask you to correct your story immediately, but that would assume you cared at all about telling the truth.”
Clooney took Keibler to the red carpet premiere of his new film, “Ides of March,” on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. The two were not photographed together, but you can see pictures of both Keibler and Clooney on the red carpet at HuffingtonPost.com.
Keibler recently posed nude for a new book titled Culo, co-edited by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and Interscope record executive Jimmy Iovine. Regarding the revealing photo shoot, Keibler recently wrote on her Facebook page:
“So excited for the release of CULO!”
“[Photographer] Raphael Mazzucco Rocks!”
The book hits stores in late November.
– 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 JR said about:
What He Would Change About The Business: “What’s the one thing that I would do if I could institute any change in the business? It is and always will be adding more developmental areas so more world class/ highly recruited athletes can train and be given the opportunity to make the primary roster and contribute sooner than later. It would also make sense to have a positive working relationship with all the smaller wrestling promotions that are fighting to survive and crave out their niche. Virtually every talent in a smaller promotion wants to advance to WWE where they can maximize their opportunities to earn better money in a career that generally has a short shelf life.”
The Attitude Era: “It’s amazing that some fans think that WWE going back to the attitude era would automatically cure any perceived ailment that WWE may have in some fan’s eyes. That is essentially absurd. Evaluate the attitude era’s talent roster and compare it to today’s. If you do so objectively then you can easily answer the question.”
The PG Era: “Smart PG works just fine and developing new stars is much more imperative than the TV rating. Some fans need to understand that stars like HBK, Austin, Rock, etc don’t come along in every generation. Plus, age and injuries adversely affect talents just like they do any athlete. Too many young wrestlers have found their comfort zone performing in the mid card and thus avoiding the immense responsibility that comes with being a main event star. The money is good for the mid card role and some talents are simply content to not make waves and to take their ‘good money’ and move on. Squeaky albeit talented wheels need to create more awareness for their desires to be headliners. It’s not as simple as raising one’s hand.”
– Jim Ross was asked on twitter whether he and Jerry “The King” Lawler will be calling the action this Sunday at WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. Regarding Jerry Lawler’s status, Ross wrote:
“I think so.”
When asked whether he’ll be doing commentary, he responded:
“Not at this time but things can change.”
In his latest blog at JRsBarBQ.com, Ross wrote the following about the same subject:
“So many have asked about Jerry Lawler’s physical condition. King will likely return to the announce table on Sunday at Hell in a Cell. I plan on seeing him on Monday in Lafayette for Raw if things go as they are currently planned. Or I might just show up in New Orleans.”
– WWE has released referee James Maritato (aka Little Guido/Nunzio). He is taking independent bookings as a wrestler.