– The Penguins have confirmed that F Sidney Crosby (concussion) will make his season debut on Monday night against the Islanders. Crosby hasn’t played since January 5 after taking a pair of headshots four days apart against the Capitals and Lightning. The 24-year-old has spent the last 10 months rehabbing. The 2007 NHL MVP was cleared for contact on October 13. Crosby will start the game lined up with F Chris Kunitz and F Pascal Dupuis. Kunitz has seven goals and 11 points on the season, while Dupuis has 14 points. Crosby was on pace for career-highs across the board before the injury.
– Both ESPN Chicago and the Chicago Sun Times report that Bears’ QB Jay Cutler (right thumb) has suffered a fracture and will undergo surgery, which is expected to sideline him 6-8 weeks. Per the Sun Times’ Sean Jensen, “there is a fear” that Cutler may not play again this year, but “there will be more tests.” QB Caleb Hanie would take over as the starter–as such, Chicago’s chances at a playoff run are in serious jeopardy. Stay tuned.
– Bills’ WR Donald Jones (ankle) is expected to miss 3-6 weeks. Jones was injured in the second quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins. It’s his second major ankle sprain of the season, which could force him to the IR.
– The Arizona Republic reports that Cardinals’ NT Dan Williams (fractured left arm) is done for the year. Williams, the 26th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft, was showing signs of his potential this year. Pro Football Focus has graded Williams positively against the run after a disappointing rookie season.
– The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Chargers’ LT Marcus McNeill (neck) is in danger of missing the rest of the season. Multiple sources tell the Union-Trib that McNeill will miss “at least” two more games, and possibly the final six. In a best-case scenario, McNeill would return on December 11 against Buffalo. McNeill’s neck problems date back to 2008, so they’ve now officially become chronic.
– The Phillies have acquired INF Ty Wigginton from the Rockies for a PTBNL or cash. The Rockies wanted to drop Wigginton, and will eat half of his $3.5M salary next season (with a $4M option for 2013 or a $500K buyout). The 34-year-old batted .242/.315/.416 with 15 home runs, 47 RBI and a .731 OPS over 446 plate appearances this season while playing first base, third base and both corner outfield spots. He’ll be a solid bat off the bench, also capable of filling out nicely around the infield. Wigginton hasn’t topped a .750 OPS since 2008 and isn’t a strong defender, but it remains a good pickup.
– Jeff Passan of YahooSports.com reports that Bobby Valentine is expected to meet with Red Sox’ GM Ben Cherington Monday to discuss the team’s managerial opening. Passan says Valentine “could emerge as the favourite” if the meeting goes well. Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe reports that it will be Valentine’s second meeting with the Sox. Dale Sveum appeared to be Boston’s top choice, but he ended up signing with the Cubs. Valentine has 15 years of MLB managing experience and currently works as an analyst for ESPN.
– A source told John Harper of the NY Daily News that the Braves have asked the Yankees about the availability of SS Eduardo Nunez. ”They need offense, they need a shortstop because they don’t want to bring (Alex) Gonzalez back, and they like Nunez a lot. They know the jury is out on him defensively, but they think his offense is strong enough that he could move to the outfield if he can’t be their long-term answer at short.” Harper says the two sides haven’t discussed any other names, but suggests that RHP Jair Jurrjens could be used as trade bait, given that he’s currently on the trade block and the Yankees are thin at starting pitching. The Yankees would likely have to create some kind of package deal for Jurrjens, as Nunez alone probably won’t be enough.
– Celtics’ F Paul Pierce spoke to Yahoo! Sports and said, among other things, that “a lot of players didn’t understand the 50-50 (deal)” they rejected last Wednesday, and that “the owners need to take the next step (to renew labor talks).” It’s been rumoured that Pierce was urging players to reject the owners’ offers, but in the interview, he doesn’t sound like he’s aware of the major obstacles in negotiations. Pierce even had to explain to Glen Davis the difference between BRI and system issues. WHile the players need to wake up, it speaks volumes to Billy Hunter’s leadership.
– G J.R. Smith (knee) injured his knee during his debut in the Chinese Basketball Association, and needed to be carried to an ambulance by his teammates. He couldn’t walk under his own power, so the injury appears to be very serious, and injury overseas is a risk players have to take if they want to play during the lockout. Smith is an NBA UFA. Stay tuned.
– Not only did The Rock score the pin over R-Truth in his tag bout against The “Awesome Truth” at Survivor Series but he nailed his WrestleMania opponent, John Cena, with a Rock Bottom after the match. He then spoke to the Madison Square Garden audience following the broadcast.
He started off his speech by saying “Can The Rock get some water? Jesus Christ!” The Rock told a ringside attendant “You better give The Rock some water, or I’ll kick your monkey ass.”
A loud chant then broke out with half the crowd chanting “You still got it!” while the other half chanted “Welcome back!” The Rock told the audience “to make up their damn minds.” He then addressed one-half of the crowd by saying “As far as you still got it, shit, I always had it!”
A “We want Ryder” chant then broke out. The Rock said “Yeah, I love him. I can’t believe how tall that son of a bitch is!”
A fan in the crowd yelled “Are you gonna cry?!” and The Rock responded, “Hell no! I’ll put boots to asses before I cry! There must be some good weed in NYC for people to ask if The Rock is gonna cry!”
The Rock continued, saying that he came to entertain the fans tonight. He thanks them all and says tonight was the greatest night in the history of his WWE career. He says tonight is only the beginning and “the money isn’t that bad either.”
The Rock thanks the fans once more and says goodnight. He spent a lot of time shaking hands around ringside, including the announcers and attendants.
– The official Twitter feed of the WWE Insider stated this evening that Sin Cara (ruptured patellar tendon) will be sidelined 6-9 months, following surgery. Cara suffered the injury while performing a dive outside the ring during the Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match. He was left unable to compete and therefore eliminated.
– Former WWE Champion John “Bradshaw” Layfield stated on Twitter that he declined WWE’s invitation to appear at Survivor Series.
“Not at Survivor Series and not watching-too late for me. 15 years ago my SS debut Tim White counted me out by mistake! Big screw up! It was my big push and Tim White counted 3 by mistake, first time ear pieces were used and someone was in his ear. Killed my push:)
“I’m not watching cause it’s too late for me-got early morning tee time in Bermuda! Was asked if I was available by WWE, but I’m not. #golf”
– During WWE’s third quarter conference call with investors on November 3, 2011, CEO Vince McMahon stated the organization would “soon be making a very big announcement” regarding WWE Network plans. He said the company feels confident they “finally turned the corner” on the cable television network’s status to make the announcement. Included will be future expenses of $4-6M for staffing and $10-15M for additional equipment and construction of their media center to house network operations.
According to a source within WWE’s corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut, the “very big announcement” is that Wrestlemania 28 will be broadcast live. The cable television network is expected to be launched on April 1, 2012, the day of WrestleMania.
WWE has bought extensive amount of office space in Norwalk and Stamford, Connecticut to employ over 200 employees for the cable television network. They’ve also spent money on trailers so employees could work on digitizing their vast tape library. WWE has approximately 100,000 hours of footage in their tape library, with 30,000 hours currently digitized.
– According to the PWInsider, Evan Bourne’s suspension for his first violation of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program has generated a great deal of controversy amongst talent as some feel a double standard is in place.
Bourne, who’s real name is Matthew Korklan, was suspended for thirty days on November 1, 2011 after testing positive for Spice, a synthetic marijuana brand. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reports Bourne and another wrestler higher up the card smoked the marijuana substitute drug at a party, yet he was the only one of the two to be suspended. The other wrestler was told he had failed for marijuana, which results in a $2,500 fine, as opposed to a thirty-day suspension for synthetic marijuana.
According to the Wrestling Globe Newsletter, the wrestler in question is a participant in tonight’s Survivor Series match featuring John Cena and The Rock against R-Truth and The Miz.
This has led to questions about whether WWE’s drug testing procedure is flawed or whether talent are treated differently depending on their status in the organization.
This would not be the first time in which WWE reprieved a top-level talent who had violated their Talent Wellness Program. On August 30, 2007, Sports Illustrated named Randy Orton as one of fourteen contracted and former WWE performers to have purchased pharmaceuticals from an online pharmacy (Signature Pharamacy), a violation of the Talent Wellness Program. Specifically, Orton received somatropin, nandrolone, stanozolol between September 2004 and February 2007, which occurred after the “no drugs from online sources” rule was instituted. However, Orton was the lone contracted performer not to be suspended by WWE. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer reported that WWE did not suspend Orton because he had already been suspended for a drug policy violation in August 2006, resulting in double jeopardy. The ruling, however, appeared nonsensical since Orton continued to receive pharmaceuticals following the suspension. WWE attorney Jerry McDevitt claimed last year in a letter to Irv Muchnick that “no action was taken against Randy Orton because he was not on any customer list for Signature Pharmacy ever provided to us by District Attorney Soares.”
– Sean Waltman stated during a recent interview with the PWTorch that Faby Apache, who performs for Asistencia Asesoría y Administración, is the single best female wrestler he saw when he was in Mexico a few years ago. He recently recommended the veteran wrestler to WWE officials, but they declined.
“She is the best female worker I’ve seen in maybe the last ten years. It’s just that she’s a little bottom heavy like a lot of the girls down in Mexico that doesn’t fit in with the look WWE is looking for with the Divas division, unfortunately. In terms of in-ring talent, she can go with anyone. I put in a word for her, but they weren’t interested in her.”
– Below is what looks to be the full roster for THQ’s WWE ’12, which officially hits stores on Tuesday.
Superstars: Alberto Del Rio (WWE Champion), Alex Riley, Big Show, Booker T, Chavo Guerrero, Christian, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga (Tag Team Champion), Dolph Ziggler (US Champion), Drew McIntyre, Evan Bourne, Ezekiel Jackson (IC Champion), Goldust, Heath Slater, Husky Harris, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Morrison, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Kevin Nash, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, Mason Ryan, Michael McGillicutty (Tag Team Champion), Randy Orton (World Champion), Rey Mysterio, R-Truth, Santino Marella, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Ted DiBiase, The Miz, The Rock, Triple H, Tyson Kidd, Undertaker, Vince McMahon, Vladimir Kozlov, Wade Barrett, William Regal, Yoshi Tatsu, Zack Ryder
Divas: Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Kelly Kelly (Divas Champion), Layla (Women’s Champion), Maryse, Michelle McCool, Natalya
Legends: Animal, Arn Anderson, Ax, Brock Lesnar, Eddie Guerrero, Edge, Hawk, Ricky Steamboat, Smash, Steve Austin, Vader
Downloadable Content: Divas Pack: Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Kharma, Nikki Bella, Trish Stratus, Vickie Guerrero; Legends Pack: Batista, Mick Foley, Randy Savage; WrestleMania Pack: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Shawn Michaels; Future DLC Pack: Brodus Clay; Non-playable Characters: Justin Roberts, Ricardo Rodriguez, Teddy Long, Tony Chimel
– Matt Hardy’s girlfriend, Reby Sky,stated on her Formspring account that she is able to bail partner Matt Hardy out of jail following his arrest Friday night for violating a court order, but chooses not to at this time. Sky was asked Saturday if she would be posting bail that day and responded,
“Let him sit there. And think. Hard.”
She wrote Saturday night regarding his whereabouts,
“I’m reading a lot of ridiculous things on the ‘dirtsheets’ tonight, so to clear things up: I could have bailed him out & did not. He’s still in jail. Have fun with that.”
“He’s understandably upset but not angry – He knows he has no right to be at this point.”
Hardy announced on September 19, 2011 that he was checking himself into a WWE-sponsored rehabilitation center for the next three months. It was later reported that entering rehab was one of the conditions for Hardy’s release from custody following his third arrest within a month. On Friday, Hardy was kicked out of a court-ordered rehab for failing a breathalyzer test. He was arrested for violating the court order when he returned to Moore County in North Carolina, and was booked into the Moore County Detention Center on a $1M bond.
– TNA Wrestling producer/personality Eric Bischoff published the following statement on Twitter regarding online critics and his son Garett:
“If online critics were as smart as they like to think. They wouldn’t STILL be spelling Garett’s name wrong after all this time.”
A user on the site responded,
“Nobody cares about the Garett angle, which is probably why no-one spells it properly. Nepotism rides again. #DavidFlair”