– Kings’ D Drew Doughty scored the game-winning goal in last night’s 3-2 win over the Blue Jackets with the help of a clock malfunction. Replays show that the game clock stopped at 1.8 seconds for roughly one full second, which was just enough time for Doughty to pot the winner–if the clock hadn’t stopped, the clock would have hit 0:00 approximately half a second before Doughty scored the goal. Not that it matters, though, since the Blue Jackets are terrible. Nonetheless, check it out:
Kings’ GM Dean Lombardi issued the following statement:
“Those clocks are sophisticated instruments that calculate time by measuring electrical charges called coulombs – given the rapidity and volume of electrons that move through the measuring device the calibrator must adjust at certain points which was the delay you see – the delay is just recalibrating for the clock moving too quickly during the 10 – 10ths of a second before the delay – this insures that the actual playing time during a period is exactly 20 minutes That is not an opinion – that is science – amazing devise quite frankly.”
Flames’ GM Jay Feaster also issued a statement, saying:
“It is our understanding the NHL is already investigating this matter. Moreover, as Colin Campbell was quoted as saying, once the game is over it is over. There is nothing the NHL is going to do, or can do, to correct the situation if, indeed, there was a mistake made in that game. Rather than crying over what happened in a game in which we did not take part, our time and energies are devoted to our own team and doing everything we can to win the games we play and in so doing qualify for the post-season. We sincerely believe that is a much better and more efficient use of our time and effort.”
– Flyers’ F Daniel Briere (concussion) was back on the ice on Thursday and reported that he feels “close” to being able to return to the lineup. ”I felt good today. I was able to push myself fairly hard on the ice at practice, which is a good sign. I haven’t had any contact, but I felt better than yesterday, so that’s a good sign.” He didn’t skate on Wednesday because of headaches, but is confident now that he is on the right track.
– Jets’ D Dustin Byfuglien will probably go to trial on charges that he operated a boat on a Minnesota lake while he was impaired. The NHL player’s defence lawyer, Mitch Robinson, says he was unable to reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor. The case is to be back in Hennepin County court on April 19, and Robinson expects a trial date will be set for June. Police stopped a boat Byfuglien was driving on Lake Minnetonka last August. Court documents say the 26-year-old passed a breathalyzer test, but a police drug recognition expert concluded he was under the influence of drugs. Byfuglien has pleaded not guilty to charges of boating while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, refusing to provide a blood or urine sample and failing to display proper lights and flotation devices on the boat.
– The Nationals have reportedly signed RHP Edwin Jackson to a 1-year/$10M contract. Jackson should slot behind Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez while John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang and Ross Detwiler currently project to compete for the fifth spot, making for a very nice rotation. Jackson will test free agency again next offseason.
– According to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers’ OF Josh Hamilton was spotted drinking alcohol on Monday night at a bar in the DFW area. What he drink and how much is currently unclear. Hamilton, a recovering addict, is supposed to remain completely sober as part of a pledge he’s made to his family and the organization. A Rangers spokesman said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News that the team is “aware of a situation” but not ready to make a comment.
– According to Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald, the Cubs have signed Cuban LHP Gerardo Concepcion to a 1-year/$7M contract. Concepcion, 18, was named the Rookie of the Year in Cuba’s Serie Nacional last season after posting a 3.36 ERA and 53/43 K/BB ratio across 101 2/3 innings. He also drew interest from the Yankees, Phillies, Royals, Marlins, Giants, Blue Jays and Red Sox this offseason. Concepcion will likely open the 2012 campaign at a low level of Single-A.
– The Indians have reportedly signed free agent 1B Casey Kotchman to a 1-year/$3M contract. Kotchman, 28, posted a .306/.378/.422 slash line with 10 home runs and 48 RBI in 563 plate appearances last season for the Rays, and is also among the best at his position defensively.
– FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles and A’s are “most interested” in OF Manny Ramirez. The 39-year-old posted an .870 OPS with nine home runs and 42 RBI across 320 plate appearances in 2010 before sitting out for almost the entire 2011 campaign. He will have to serve a 50-game PED suspension before being allowed to play in a regular season game this year. His interest could go up if he performs well in his upcoming workout.
– According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Nats are “aggressively shopping” LHP John Lannan. The Nationals just won an arbitration hearing against Lannan, who will make $5M in 2012. Rosenthal suggests that they might be motivated to clear his salary in order to make a late run at either RHP Edwin Jackson, but Jackson appears off-limits unless Lannan is successfully moved. The Red Sox have reportedly made Jackson a 1-year/$5-6M offer, while the Orioles and Cardinals have also been mentioned as possibilities in recent days. Lannan, 27, is coming off a career-low 3.70 ERA across 33 starts last season. He’ll be arbitration-eligible for the final time next offseason.
– A source told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the Rangers are unlikely to sign RHP Roy Oswalt. The 34-year-old said a few weeks ago that he wanted to sign with either Texas or St. Louis, but the Rangers have a logjam in their rotation and are unwilling to move LHP Matt Harrison to bullpen. The Cardinals remain in the mix.
– Braves’ RHP Tommy Hanson (shoulder) expects to have no limitations at the start of spring training. The 25-year-old has been on a throwing program since early January and continues to build the strength of his prized right arm. “It feels better now than it did [in December]. I’m definitely a lot more optimistic now than I was even last month.”
– Marlins’ president David Samson said Thursday that RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo will “probably not” start the season with the team. Oviedo is currently working through legal issues in his native Dominican Republic after admitting to falsifying his identity last year. Samson believes he will probably be in spring training, but mentioned that the 29-year-old could face disciplinary action from MLB because “there was an acknowledged violation of the law.” The Marlins and Oviedo avoided arbitration last month by agreeing to a 1-year/$6M contract, but he won’t be paid as long as he remains on the restricted list.
– ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Colts’ QB Peyton Manning (neck surgeries) has received medical clearance to resume his NFL career. This contradicts several sources claiming to be close to Manning told reporters early in the week that his career was in serious jeopardy. Doctors determined that Manning has enough stability in his neck to play right now “if the nerves in his arm had regenerated to a satisfactory performance level.” Arm strength will now be Manning’s next biggest obstacle. Doctors have prescribed an “aggressive rehabilitation path if the nerves in his arm had regenerated to a satisfactory performance level.” Stay tuned.
– Patriots’ TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle) returned to a limited practice on Thursday. He remains likely to play in Super Bowl XLVI this Sunday.
– NFL Network’s Michael Lombardi confirms the Patriots will place the franchise tag on WR Wes Welker if a long-term deal can’t be reached. ”They’ve been trying all season to get a deal done, but it hasn’t come to fruition yet. … They’re not going to lose Wes Welker. He’s going to be a part of their team.” The Pats are trying to sign Welker to a 2 or 3-year deal. His franchise tag will drop from $11.5M to roughly $9.4M this year.
– TE Tony Gonzalez said Thursday that 2012 will probably be his last in the NFL. ”I said that last year though, and the year before. But I really do believe this is it. First of all, this is the first time my wife came to me and said, ‘You’re only going to play one more year, right?” Gonzalez, 35, signed a 1-year/$6.9M extension in January.
– NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora expects the Eagles to use the franchise tag on free agent WR DeSean Jackson. ”He’s someone that you don’t just let walk. Whether he’s going to be there long-term remains to be seen, but you franchise him, then entertain trade possibilities.” Philly will use the opportunity to see if Jackson will change his attitude before signing him long-term.
– Colts’ owner Jim Irsay said at the Super Bowl Wednesday that the Colts have prioritized re-signing free agents DE Robert Mathis and WR Pierre Garcon. ”I think we can [sign Mathis]. We have the [franchise] tag if we don’t, but I think we’ll get something done.” Irsay added that the Colts “for sure” want Garcon back long-term. Mathis, 31, could test the market. Garcon will likely draw significant interest if he hits the free agent market.
– The Colts have hired Greg Manusky as DC. Indy is in the process of moving to a 3-4 defence. Manusky worked in the AFC West against then-Raiders DBs coach and new Colts’ head coach Chuck Pagano in the mid-2000s.
– Chiefs’ GM Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel are now “adamant” that QB Matt Cassel will face competition for his starting job in 2012. Pioli said, ”Who that [competition] is, I don’t know. Maybe it’s Kyle (Orton), maybe it’s another free agent, maybe it’s a draft choice. Very few people can perform at an extremely high level without competition.” Cassel will enter training camp atop the depth chart.
– New Raiders’ OC Greg Knapp is expected to install a zone-blocking scheme in Oakland. ESPN’s John Clayton suggests the Raiders will have to decide whether to re-sign free agent RB Michael Bush or trade RB Darren McFadden this offseason, as McFadden never flourished under former coach Tom Cable’s zone-blocking scheme–Hue Jackson was forced to re-do the offence to accomodate his strengths. Beat writer Steve Corkran suggested last week that McFadden could be dangled as trade bait for new GM Reggie McKenzie.
– The Packers have promoted QBs coach Tom Clements to OC. Coach Mike McCarthy called it an “obvious decision” to promote Clements after Joe Philbin took the Dolphins job. Clements developed QB Aaron Rodgers and has coordinator experience going dating back to 2004-05 with the Bills. McCarthy will continue to be the primary play-caller in Green Bay.
– The 2011-12 NBA All Star Game starters have been announced. For the East, it’s G Derrick Rose, G Dwyane Wade, F LeBron James, F Carmelo Anthony and F Dwight Howard. For the West, it’s G Chris Paul, G Kobe Bryant, F Kevin Durant, F Blake Griffin and F Andrew Bynum.
– A league source indicated that the Pacers “could, in fact, be the leading candidate” for Hornets’ F Chris Kaman. This disputes a SI report that the Rockets had taken the lead on Wednesday, and the Pacers are in the market for a backup to F Roy Hibbert. Kaman’s contract is set to expire at the end of the season, but it’s clear that no deal is imminent and there are still a number of teams involved in the discussion.
– The driver of a Zamboni at a peewee hockey game in Apple Valley was arrested for operating the ice resurfacing machine while drunk. Police were called to Hayes Arena Monday night after the Zamboni driver began weaving across the ice and smashing into the boards. Coach Bryan Dornstreich called 911 as the 10-minute ice resurfacing job went on for nearly a half hour. The Star Tribune in Minnesota reports the 34-year-old man failed a field sobriety test. A blood alcohol test taken at the police station was sent to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis. Parents helped smooth the rough spots on the ice after the man was arrested.
– Former WWE Women’s Champion Chyna rambled at length on Twitter on Wednesday, incoherently posting over 200 messages throughout the day. She discussed her issues with Vince McMahon and Triple H, early wrestler deaths, her belief that her influence in the wrestling industry is overlooked, as well as accusations of drug and alcohol use. A Twitter user wrote to former D-Generation X mate Shawn Michaels of her diatribe: “need to pray for Chyna, the girl is losing her mind HBK.” He responded, “Already have. More never hurts.” Chyna responded, “Ha ha ha Pray? No my mind is just fine thank you. Real good! Better than ever now. And yes livid!”
– Former WWE superstar John Morrison, who is now competing as John Hennigan, spoke to the UK’s SportsVibe to promote his upcoming appearance at the WWFX wrestling show in Manilla, Phillapines. Here are some highlights of what Hennigan said about:
The MNM Tag Team: “What I loved about MNM was that it was our idea, us being Melina, Mercury, and myself. We were MNM in OVW (developmental wrestling) for a year before we were brought up to Smackdown. MNM was the first time I really felt at home in wrestling.”
His Favorite WWE Moment: “Some of my favorite moments are my debut match, MNM vs. Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio, and beating Sheamus to become the number 1 contender at TLC 2011. To be honest with you thinking about it, some of my favourite moments are from matches that I lost – losing the ECW championship to CM Punk in August 2007 plus Falls count anywhere versus Miz; MNM vs. the Hardy’s, Morrison vs. Ziggler any given night of the last Europe tour; the infamous Limo explosion on Z True Island story.”
Why He Left WWE: “I was starting to accumulate injuries faster than they were healing… neck surgery, and a lot of nagging injuries; shoulder, knee, ankle- I decided that time off is my best option. I’m working on elevating every part of my game during the time I have off, physical in ring stuff and mic work.”
Vince McMahon As A Boss: “Vince is a perfectionist, a work-a-holic, and a micro-manager. He expects everyone to work as hard as he does, and he really does work like a mad man. He cares very much about his business, and you have to respect that about him. If I had to pick out any one flaw, I’d say that I think it would behoove him to delegate more. Give power to others in the organization for longer periods of time without allowing them to be undermined.”
– One of the new shows being developed for the upcoming WWE Network will exclusively feature Cruiserweight wrestlers, according to the PWInsider. WWE has been scouring the independent scene looking for talents weighting around 200 pounds that will be featured on the new show. WWE held a pilot TV taping at Florida’s Sunlife University back in December for an undisclosed project. WWE reportedly love the feel of the building and is looking to film the new cruiserweight show there. As of this week, the plan is still for WWE to launch the Network this fall.
– 2012 WWE Royal Rumble winner Sheamus spoke with Sky Sports in the UK this week and spoke about winning the Rumble, when he’ll announce which title he’ll challenge for at WrestleMania and which title he feels is the most prestigious. Here are some highlights of what Sheamus said about:
Eliminating Chris Jericho To Win The Rumble: “To be honest with you, when Jericho hit the deck I can’t really explain how I felt. This is something I’ve wanted my entire life, it’s a dream of mine that I’ve had ever since I was a kid and it still hasn’t really sunk in. There were a lot of emotions running through me.”
Who He Will Face at WrestleMania: ”Ha! Not a chance. There’s no way I’m letting that one out of the bag. I’ve got plenty of time between now and WrestleMania to decide which title I want to go after. There’s also a huge pay-per-view coming up called the Elimination Chamber and both Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are going to be in there with their titles. They may not be champions by the time WrestleMania rolls around, so I’m going to wait and see. Take it to the wire and keep everyone guessing. That’s another thing that will make me happy.”
Which Belt Holds More Prestige: World Heavyweight Championship or the WWE Championship: “To be honest with you, I think both titles are huge. The World Heavyweight Championship holds the prestige that goes back to the days of people like Ric Flair and the WWE Championship is something special and I’ve held that twice. To hold either Championship would be a huge honour for me and a huge achievement and, to be honest with you, I’ve no preference between one and the other. To me there is no second-class championship and both of them are equal. Both have prestige, both have a wealth of legends behind them. I know you’re asking me the question to try and get me to tell you which title I’m going after, but I’m not telling you! I’m not giving anything away!”
– CM Punk appears on the latest episode of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast and confirmed that WWE is working on a DVD about his career that will be released later this year. Chicago Tribune reported in November that WWE was filming a “straight-to-DVD documentary” on Punk at the time.
– After taking a hiatus from Twitter to sell his storyline injuries, Zack Ryder has resurfaced on the micro-blogging website.
“When I’m healed, I’ll take Z012 back into my own hands! I’m not sure if I’ll rise above hate but I will rise above & fist pump Kane’s face!”
“Resting & trying to heal up…Kane, we coming for you Broski!”
– Sting appeared on Between The Ropes and spoke about a number of topics, including whether he’s retiring this year, his health and Kurt Angle’s recent statement that 2011 was a “subpar” year for TNA:
Dixie Carter’s Recent Comment That He Is Retiring This Year: “She’s listening to what I’m saying to her. I’m saying every year this will probably be the last year and part of it was in the beginning it was kind of like a project. I wanted to see TNA Impact, I wanted to see it succeed like we did with WCW. I hated that being the second rate or second class citizen to the WWF all those years until we launched Nitro and like I said before, everything was history – we became the number one. This has the same feel and I want to be a part of something a little bit like that and I’ve see us … we’ve gone from being at the fairgrounds in Nashville, Tennessee period to being in 120 countries worldwide now and the interest in other countries is enormous.”
His Recent Injury & His Overall Health: “Yeah, I tore something. I went to make a move in the ring and I tore something on the bottom of my right foot and I think ‘oh no I hope it’s not the Achilles’ tendon’. If it is, then I’m done. Wrestling is officially over with. And that night, I said a few words to the crowd in London and that was part of it. I said I don’t know if I’ll be back. I don’t know what this injury is. I’m hoping it’s not serious. The move I was moving around on it, limping around, I could tell … I didn’t think it was the Achilles’ tendon. Then I thought there’s the fascia down there and maybe I just tore the fascia. And that’s exactly what I did. I tore the fascia off … The doctors say 4-6 weeks but it’s like I’m just going to stay off of it, take care of it and be back in the ring a week from this Sunday.”
Whether He Agrees With Kurt Angle’s Comment That 2011 Was A “Subpar” Year For TNA: “No, I really don’t. I don’t think it was a subpar year. I think a lot of the young guys have been elevated, guys like James Storm, Bobby Roode. These guys are now making a name for themselves. They’re elevating the company. Everything is moving up. We had a very successful trip to the UK. In my book, that was very successful. Again, getting back to the ratings that we have in other countries, Australia, New Zealand, all over Germany, all over the UK, incredible ratings. We’ve got stuff going on in India now. So, I just see growth. I don’t see how it could be considered subpar.”
– 73 people are dead and up to 1000 people are injured after a large riot broke out during an Egyptian soccer game. The fight took place during a match between Al-Masry and Al-Ahly. Egypt is currently in a transitional period after ousting former President Hosni Mubarek, and their are rumours that police in attendence were instructed by government officials not to take action against the fans.
Al-Ahly goalie Sharif Ikrami spoke about the riot:
“There were people dying in front of us. It’s over. We’ve all made a decision that we won’t play soccer anymore. How will we play soccer after 70 people died? We can’t think about it.”
Essam el-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood lawmaker is blaming the military and police for the incident.
“This tragedy is a result of intentional reluctance by the military and the police. This is not about soccer. This is bigger than that. This is a plot to topple the state.”
– Last Saturday’s UFC on Fox 2 fight featured another awesome finish. Lavar Johnson made his UFC debut from Strikeforce and destroyed Joey Beltran in the process. Check it out: