– Canucks’ F Ryan Kesler fired back at head coach Alain Vigneault following Sunday’s loss to the Ducks. Kesler has just two goals and three points in his last eight games.Vigneault said:
“I think he has to use the players around him a little bit more so that he can get into open space and create the type of offensive chances and be the type of defensive player that he can be.”
Kesler responded to Vigneault’s comments, but wasn’t made aware of what was said until reporters brought it up on Monday.
“Me utilize my players? Obviously, I don’t know what he means by that and if he wants to say that he can come to me and talk to me about it. I am going to play my game, the things that have made me successful. I know what that is and if he wants to come talk to me he is more than welcome.”
– Devils’ G Martin Brodeur will reportedly postpone his retirement for another season. Brodeur would enter his age-40 season if he chose to play another year. He has a 13-10-1 record this season. Brodeur has played his entire 18-year NHL career as a member of the Devils, but with his 1-yeaer/$5.2M contract expires at the end of the season, but if New Jersey welcomed him back, they would be his “first and foremost” option to return. Brodeur is the NHL record holder for games played (1,159), wins (638), and shutouts (116). He is also tied with Patrick Roy for the most 30-win seasons (13).
“I’m having fun. I feel differently about it now than I did last summer, or at the start of the season. It’s not 100%, but I’m definitely leaning toward coming back next year.”
“There’s a bigger chance now than before. A few people I’ve spoken to have told me that if you think you still have that little flame, keep it going, because once it’s out, it’s out.”
– Sabres’ G Ryan Miller sounded off on the team’s 5-0 loss to the Red Wings on Monday night:
“It’s embarrassing. I got family and friends here. Everybody came to watch Drew and I play. At least they got to watch Drew perform.”
“If you guys really think there’s going to be any kind of trade made anywhere that’s going to affect this team anymore than we can affect it in this locker room, you guys are just … I don’t know. I don’t know what to think because there’s no such trade.
“There’s not ever going to be a trade in the history of the NHL that’s going to affect anything like that. There’s no chance anybody comes into this team and just shakes it up or we can even move multiple players and get any kind of return.
“If you want to just destroy a team and go out and be reckless and do something, yeah. Then there’s going to be new guys in here. But other than that, this locker room is going to be pretty much the same, if not completely the same and we gotta find it from in here [points to chest]. You can’t sit and wait for somebody else to [bleeping] do it.”
“It’s not good hockey. It’s not good from top down. I need to be better. I can’t seem to find a night where I can get in a groove. I don’t know what the hell it is.”
Sabres’ head coach Lindy Ruff spoke out on Miller’s comments:
– The Red Wings set a new franchise record by winning 15 consecutive home games. The NHL record is set by the 1976 Flyers and 1930 Bruins at 20 games.
– The Dodgers have signed OF Andre Ethier to a 1-year/$10.95M contract, avoiding arbitration. He can earn $50K in performance bonuses: $25K each for 600 and 625 plate appearances. Ethier hit .292 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs for the Dodgers last season. He is eligible for free agency after this season.
– According to FOX Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, the White Sox are “still listening to offers” for RHP Gavin Floyd. Floyd drew some trade interest earlier this winter from the Orioles. Floyd, 28, posted a 4.37 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in 193 2/3 innings last season. He’s owed $7.5M in 2012.
– The Giants have signed OF Melky Cabrera to a 1-year/$6M contract and OF Angel Pagan to a 1-year/$4.85M contract. Cabrera, 27, hit .305 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 87 RBIs for Kansas City last year. Pagan, 30, batted .262 with seven home runs and 56 RBIs last season. Pagan’s deal includes $150K in available performance bonuses: $50K each for 550, 600 and 650 plate appearances.
– The Rangers have signed RHP Mark Lowe to a 1-year/$1.7M contract, avoiding arbitration. Lowe was 2-3 with a 3.80 ERA and one save in 52 games for the AL champions last season.
– The Brewers have signed OF Nyjer Morgan to a 1-year/$2.3M contract. Morgan batted .304 with four home runs and 37 RBIs in 119 games last season.
– The Blue Jays have signed RHP Carlos Villanueva to a 1-year/$2.3M contract. The 28-year-old appeared in 33 games, with 13 starts, for the Blue Jays last season, posting a 6-4 record with a 4.04 ERA.
– The Tigers have signed RHP Rick Porcello to a 1-year/$3.1M contract and LHP Phil Coke to a 1-year/$1.1M contract. Porcello, 23, went 14-9 with a 4.75 ERA in a career-high 182 innings. Coke finished 3-9 with a 4.47 ERA in 48 appearances. In 34 relief outings after going back to the bullpen, he went 2-2 with a 3.71 ERA. Coke can earn $50K in performance bonuses: $25K each for 65 and 70 relief appearances, or $25K apiece for 15 and 25 starts.
– INF Craig Counsell is retiring from baseball. Counsell started this offseason with the intention of continuing his playing career, but never drew interest on the market. Counsell was recently offered a position in the Brewers’ front office. The 41-year-old was a .255/.342/.344 career hitter over more than 1,600 games. He was also part of two World Series championships.
– The Marlins have signed RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo to a 1-year/$6M contract, avoiding arbitration. Oviedo has yet to return to the US since revealing his true identity, but he’s not facing charges of fraud in his native Dominican and should gain clearance by the start of spring training. The 29-year-old will function as a setup man this year.
– The Royals have signed C Brayan Pena to a 1-year/$835K contract and 2B Chris Getz to a 1-year/967,500 contract. Pena hit .248 with three homers and 24 RBIs in 72 games last year. Getz hit .255 with 26 RBIs in 118 games and can earn a $17,500 bonus for playing 110 games and a $50K bonus if he’s an all-star.
– The Nationals have signed C Jesus Flores to a 1-year/$850K contract. The 27-year-old hit .209 in 86 at-bats last year after missing the 2010 season following surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
– The Red Sox have signed RHP Aaron Cook and RHP Franklin Morales to a 1-year/$850K contract. Morales appeared in a career-high 50 games last season for Boston and Colorado, with a 3.69 ERA.
– The Rays have signed LHP J.P. Howell to a 1-year/1.35M contract. The 28-year-old went 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in 46 appearances last season after left shoulder surgery that sidelined him all of the previous year.
– The Orioles have signed RHP Darren O’Day to a 1-year/$1.35M contract and LHP Dana Eveland to a 1-year/$725K contract. O’Day was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 2011. Eveland went 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA last year for the Dodgers.
– Hornets’ G Eric Gordon (knee) is not running or doing any contact work right now. The Hornets were hopeful that he’d be able to return early next week. “We’re just trying to make sure we heal it up as much as we can at this point.” Gordon has played in just two games so far this season.
– Hawks’ G Kirk Hinrich (shoulder) is ahead of schedule in his recovery from surgery, but there remains no timetable for his return.
– WWE issued the following statement on Tuesday morning announcing that Evan Bourne has been suspended once again for his second violation of WWE’s Wellness Policy.
STAMFORD, Conn., January 17, 2012 – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE (NYSE:WWE) has suspended Matthew Korklan (Evan Bourne®) for 60 days effective Tuesday, January 17 for his second violation of the company’s policy.
This is Bourne’s second violation of WWE’s Wellness Policy in approximately 2 months. Bourne’s first violation was announced back in November and he’s only back from his suspension for a number of weeks. One more strike and he’s terminated. The suspension also explains why Bourne dropped the tag titles a Raw house show earlier this week.
– On last night’s Raw, Jack Swagger became the new WWE United States Champion after he defeated a badly injured Zack Ryder, who was selling the attack from Kane last week. Ryder wrote the following on Twitter last night about his United States Title loss:
“So I’m not the US champ anymore. Sorry to let my Broskis down. I will make no excuses for tonight…I will be United States champion again!”
Swagger stated in a recent interview that 2012 was going to be his year, and he had his sights set on the United States championship. As reported in recent weeks, Zack Ryder’s segments on RAW have been drawing very low ratings, which could be the reason WWE decided to take the US title off him. Either Ryder will be put back in the role of “chasing the title” (which is typically a better ratings draw than a babyface champion) or shuffled around in the mid-card.
– John Cena vs. Kane was officially announced for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on Monday’s RAW Supershow. With that match set, here’s the updated card for Sunday’s Royal Rumble PPV:
30-man Royal Rumble Match
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler (John Laurinaitis will be the special referee)
John Cena vs. Kane
– Hardcore legend Mick Foley wrote the following on Twitter regarding his surprise appearance on Monday’s RAW:
“Very cool to be out there again, exchanging words and blows. Hope to see everyone in the #WWE Universe again soon.”
Foley announced on RAW that he plans to enter Sunday’s Royal Rumble PPV so his youngest children can see him wrestle again. Foley stated that he plans to compete “at least one more time” – leaving the door open for another high profile match, possibly at WrestleMania 28.
– A number of celebrities were spotted at last night’s Raw in Anaheim. Aside from Perez Hilton being on the show, actor Dennis Haskins (aka Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell) was shown on camera during Monday’s WWE RAW Supershow sitting behind Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler’s announcing table. Chris Jericho noted on Twitter that members My Chemical Romance and Avenged Sevenfold were also at RAW along with legendary record producer Rick Rubin.
– The All Pro Wrestling promotion has confirmed our report from Monday about WWE signing Jody Kristofferson to a developmental deal. Kristofferson, the son of country music legend Kris Kristofferson, wrestled his final match for California’s APW promotion over the weekend and won APW Universal Heavyweight Championship in his final appearance. Kristofferson’s family, including his famous father Kris, were all in attendance for the event.
– Former WWE diva Stacy Keibler has signed with prestigious William Morris Endeavor, one of the top talent agencies in the world. WME reps such names as Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, Russell Brand. Stacy’s acting work so far includes guest appearances on Chuck, Psych and How I Met Your Mother, as well as a cameo in Bubble Boy. While Keibler’s relationship with George Clooney is likely a factor that helped her get signed to WME, it’s worth noting that Clooney is signed to a rival talent agency, CAA.
– Boxing legend Muhammad Ali turns 70 today.
– Williams has signed Bruno Senna, 28, to a 1-year contract. Bruno is the nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton Senna.
– Renault driver Robert Kubica is back in hospital after slipping on ice in the street. ANSA says Kubica fell in Pietrasanta in northwestern Italy and was taken to hospital in Versilia. Kubica is still recovering from a serious rally car crash in Italy on February 6 and missed the entire F1 season. ANSA says doctors X-rayed his right leg, which he fractured in the crash, before Kubica was transferred to a hospital in Pietra Ligure. Kubica has been undergoing lengthy rehabilitation treatment in a bid to return to Formula One as Renault’s No. 1 driver.
– An auction dedicated to the late Dan Wheldon raised more than $600K that will go to his wife and two young sons. The final total of $627,203 was released Friday by organizers of the Dan Wheldon Auction. The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner was killed in an accident in the October 16 IndyCar season finale.
– Jay Penske has signed Katherine Legge, 31, to a 2-year deal with a 1-year option.
“It’s the kind of tracks they race on, the street courses, the road courses, the ovals, the airport courses, it’s everything. You can test yourself in every way. And, obviously, they have the Indy 500, which is a massive thing to me. I’ve wanted to do that since I was age 7. It’s real racing, it’s wheel-to-wheel, and I love being in America.”