– According to ProWrestling.net, Vince Russo has been removed from his post as the head of TNA’s creative team. Russo has been replaced by Bruce Prichard, who is also in charge of TNA’s talent relations. Russo is not entirely gone, as he’ll still be one of the senior writers for the show along with writer Matt Conway, but Bruce Prichard will now handle the overall direction of the shows and has the final say on the scripts. This major change to TNA’s creative structure has been in the works for several months and became official within the past week or so. There are said to be mixed feelings in the TNA locker room regarding Bruce Prichard getting so much power in TNA so early into his run with the company – but at the same time, Russo’s demotion is sure to make many people happy.
– Cardinals’ OF Matt Holliday (finger) expects to be in the starting lineup for Game 5 of the NLDS against the Phillies on Friday night. Holliday went 1-for-3 with a single, a hit by pitch and two runs scored Thursday in his first start during the NLDS. He is still dealing some discomfort in his right hand, but intends to play through the injury as the Cardinals attempt to keep their season alive.
– Tigers’ INF Don Kelly will make the start at third base for Game 5 of the NLDS against the Yankees on Thursday night. He’ll bat second against RHP Ivan Nova, which is an interesting choice by Tigers manager Jim Leyland given his .285 career on-base percentage. Meanwhile, OF Magglio Ordonez will start in right field while INF Ramon Santiago plays second base. OF Ryan Raburn and 3B Wilson Betemit are on the bench.
– According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, there’s “no chance” that Orioles’ Buck Showalter will become the team’s GM. Showalter was rumoured to be leaving the dugout for the front office, but Nightengale hears that he “absolutely loves managing and plans to stay put.” If that’s the case, recent speculation by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that Andy MacPhail could remain as O’s president is beginning to look like a very plausible scenario.
– Giants’ ace RHP Tim Lincecum is being sued by his former landlord for allegedly causing $200K worth of damage at a furnished apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District. Attorney Jonathan Bonstein, representing the landlord, told the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday, ”My belief is there was some kind of party that left it in really bad condition. Maybe there’s a perfectly good explanation on his side, but we haven’t heard it yet.” The Giants aren’t issuing a comment on the lawsuit and Lincecum’s agent called it “unwarranted.”
– Colts’ QB Peyton Manning (neck surgeries) insists he won’t “fight” the front office to stay off IR if his spot is needed, as he remains hopeful to play late this season,. ”You have to have hope. Until the doctors rule you out … Bill (Polian) and Chris (Polian) are in charge of the roster. If they come and say they have to make a move, then I can’t fight them on that. I won’t fight them on that. They have to do what’s best for the team.” Beat writer Phillip Wilson suggests Manning’s comments as preparing the fan base for a move to the IR.
– Patriots’ TE Aaron Hernandez (sprained MCL) practiced on a limited basis Thursday for the first time since the injury in Week 2. Hernandez appears to be on track to play against the Jets this week. He averaged 4.5 catches and 76 yards against Rex Ryan’s defence in two regular-season games last year.
– The Coyotes have signed F Martin Hanzal to a 5-year/$15.5M extension worth $3.1M annually. Hanzel registered 16-10-26 and 54 penalty minutes (PIM) last season for the Yotes. He established new career highs in goals (16), game-winning goals (5), power play goals (7) and hits (147).
– Sabres’ F Jason Pominville has been named team captain. He will be entering his seventh season with the Sabres in 2011-12 and has played in 459 career games with the organization. Pominville was captain prior to D Craig Rivet taking the spot. D Paul Gaustad, F Derek Roy, F Thomas Vanek and F Drew Stafford will alternate the “A” as assistant captains.
– The Stars have signed D Jamie Oleksiak to a 3-year/entry-level contract. He was Dallas’ first-round pick in this year’s Entry Draft.
– A Minnesota judge threw out a felony charge against the brother of hockey enforcer Derek Boogaard on Thursday, saying the facts didn’t support the accusation in the player’s overdose death earlier this year. Aaron Boogard, 24, was accused of giving his brother an oxycodone pill at the start of a night of partying that led to Boogaard’s death May 13 at age 28. Aaron Boogaard was charged with unlawful distribution of a controlled substance. In dismissing the charge, Hennepin County District Judge William R. Howard said the facts of the case didn’t support the charge. Howard wrote that Derek Boogaard had acquired the drugs and asked his brother to hold them, and that Aaron Boogaard’s act of giving him the pill was merely returning his property to him.
Derek Boogaard, a former fan favorite for the Minnesota Wild, was with the New York Rangers before his death. After he died, his family acknowledged that he had become addicted to painkillers. They said Aaron Boogaard had attempted to help his brother with his addiction by controlling his access to drugs, and had criticized authorities for charging him. Boogaard’s attorney, John Lundquist, called the judge’s decision a significant victory. The younger Boogaard still faces a misdemeanor charge for allegedly flushing evidence down a toilet in his brother’s Minneapolis apartment after finding his brother dead.
– Senators F Brad Winchester (shoulder) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
– The Canadiens have claimed D Jeff Woywitka off waivers from the Rangers. He will join the team in Europe and add some depth to a blueline that is starting the season without D Marc Staal (concussion).
– The Jets have claimed F Brett MacLean off waivers from the Coyotes. MacLean has played most of his hockey at the AHL level the past three years after being selected in the second round, 32nd overall, of the 2007 draft. He posted two goals and one assist in 13 games with the Coyotes and earned 50 points in 51 contests with San Antonio last campaign.
– Canadiens’ F Alexei Yemelin will now wear “Emelin” on the back of his jersey.
– WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Zack Ryder have been going back and forth on Twitter over the past few weeks, with Ryder recently promising to send Austin a special package. Austin received the package on Wednesday and wrote the following on Twitter:
“Was starting my workout but realized I forgot to put on my legwarmers and headband…”
“Got my legwarmers and headband on…hang on Earth…gonna try a personal best of 1700lbs on the bench press…not a workout for the weak…”
“If I’m not mistaken, I think I have some mail from @ZackRyder…will find out after the workout….a broski shirt perhaps??”
“Wow what a day….a tshirt and a BLL coaster from @ZackRyder”
“But wait! There’s more! Takin care and spikin my lack of hair…am I serious, bro?”