– The NHL has suspended Blackhawks’ D Duncan Keith 5 games for his elbow on Canucks’ F Daniel Sedin. This is Keith’s first suspension in his NHL career. Chicago has only seven games left in the regular season. Keith will be eligible to return on April 5. Meanwhile, Sedin has been diagnosed with a concussion, and is out indefinitely. According to his brother Henrik, it’s Daniel’s first concussion of his career.
– Capitals’ G Tomas Vokoun (groin) skated for about half an hour on Friday, participating in drills and taking some shots. “Hopefully it stays the same and I can do a little bit more tomorrow. Then we’ll see, maybe shoot for some time next week.” Vokoun has a 25-17-2 record, 2.53 GAA, and .916 SV% in 47 games this season.
– Bears’ RB Marion Barber has announced his retirement. The 28-year-old has fallen off considerably over the past few seasons. He averaged under 3.8 YPC in three of the past four seasons after what looked to be a promising career with the Cowboys. The 2005 4th-round pick was one of the NFL’s most physical backs in 2005-2007m scoring 33 all-purpose touchdowns in his first three years. Unfortunately, he’s another example of power backs having very short lifespans in the NFL.
– The Packers have signed C Jeff Saturday. Saturday was believed to be interested in re-uniting with QB Peyton Manning in Denver. The 37-year-old ranked as one of the top-five NFL centers in 2011 according to Pro Football Focus.
– Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times reports Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid wanted the team to bid on then free agent QB Peyton Manning several weeks ago. Discussions never got serious, as Peyton didn’t want to face his brother, Giants’ QB Eli Manning, twice per season in the NFC East. Per Farmer, Reid was also willing to walk away from the Eagles if he wasn’t granted more personnel control. In any event, QB Michael Vick’s $100M contract ensures that he’s staying in Philly, no matter what.
– ESPN’s Adam Schefter believes that WR Chad Ochocinco “absolutely” will be back with the Patriots for the 2012 season. ”They believe that he’ll spend this offseason immersing himself in the playbook, familiarizing himself with the Patriots’ offense. They’re going to bring all these wide receivers in and let them compete in training camp and the best receivers will play.” Both sides are reportedly working on a restructured contract.
– The Broncos have agreed to terms with TE Jacob Tamme to a 3-year/$9M contract with $3.5M guaranteed. Tamme will play slot tight end in Denver. The 27-year-old recorded 67 catches for 631 yards and four touchdowns in 2011.
– According to Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange, the Panthers will “definitely” listen to trade offers for RB Jonathan Stewart this offseason. Stewart, 25, immediately became expendable following the addition of RB Mike Tolbert. Per Pasquarelli, however, the Steelers could be a “sleeper” to make a run at Stewart, and “everyone” has the Broncos as a favourite. Pasquarelli notes that “there hasn’t been anything serious yet.”
– The Colts have acquired QB Drew Stanton and a 2012 7th-round pick from the Jets for a 2012 6th-round pick. Stanton and QB Trevor Vittatoe as now the only two quarterbacks on the Colts’ offseason roster. Stanton, 28 in May, went 2-1 with the Lions in 2010 as a spot starter, and is poised to back up QB Andrew Luck in Indy.
– The Colts have signed WR Donnie Avery. The former 33rd overall pick recorded 100 receptions for 1,263 yards and eight touchdowns during his first two NFL seasons before tearing his right ACL in August of 2010. Avery recorded three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown in Week 17 of 2011, but nothing else prior to that. The 28-year-old is lightning quick, but his worth remains limited unless he can remain healthy.
– Royals’ RHP Joakim Soria (right elbow) has opted to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Soria’s UCL is believed to have been damaged considerably, and although he debated surgery or rehab, he really never had a choice. He could be ready for the start of the 2013 season.
– The Newark Star-Ledger reports that Yankees’ RHP Joba Chamberlain (open dislocated right ankle) will undergo surgery and is likely to miss the entire 2012 season. Chamberlain, who is also coming back from Tommy John surgery, suffered the sickening injury while playing on a trampoline with his son. GM Brian Cashman hasn’t given a timetable, but referred to it as a “significant injury” and that he “would like to believe it’s not” a career-threatening injury. Chamberlain is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter and could be let go.
– Rangers’ 2B Ian Kinsler’s agent, Jay Franklin, met with the team Friday (at the Rangers’ request) to discuss a contract extension. Franklin is “not very optimistic” that they can get something done by Opening Day, but that the club is making a “sincere effort” to lock up their core. Kinsler is owed $7M in 2012, with a $10M club option for 2013.
– Cardinals’ GM John Mozeliak confirmed Friday that RHP Chris Carpenter (back/neck) is dealing with a nerve issue in his right shoulder. Carp has previously dealt with nerve issues in 2004, 2008 and 2010. He’ll likely get the same re-strengthening treatment as he got in late-2008, meaning he’s out indefinitely.
– The Cubs have named RHP Ryan Dempster their Opening Day starter. It will be the second straight Opening Day nod for the Canadian. RHP Matt Garza will go No. 2, and LHP Paul Maholm will get the ball at No. 5, with the No. 3 and No. 4 starters yet to be determined.
– Red Sox’ RHP Bobby Jenks posted bail Friday after being arrested on five charges, four of which that were related to driving under the influence. According to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal, Jenks was charged with one count of driving under the influence, three counts of driving under the influence and damage to property and one count of leaving the scene of a crash involving damage to property. Jenks has a history of off-field issues in the minor leagues, but has been better behaved during his MLB tenure. He was already expected to miss the first half of the season after undergoing two offseason back surgeries.
– Indians’ RHP Chris Perez (oblique) is scheduled to make his spring debut Saturday. Perez was cleared for game action after throwing 20 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday. Barring setbacks, he should be ready for Opening Day.
– Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo said Friday that he “feel(s) good about Opening Day” for OF Michael Morse (lat), “and if not Opening Day, soon after.” Morse received a platelet rich plasma injection recently in hopes of speeding up his recovery. Morse maintains that he feels fine.
– Marlins’ OF Logan Morrison (knee) admitted that he’s uncertain for Opening Day. Morrison began a light running program on Thursday and is scheduled to DH in a minor league game Saturday. “I don’t think I’m going to tell them. I think the knee is going to tell me. The knee is going to tell everyone. I can’t tell it what to do.” Joe Frisaro of MLB.com believes OF Giancarlo Stanton (wrist) has a better chance of being ready on April 4 than Morrison does.
– 10-year-old Naomi Kutin from New Jersey set a new world record in the women’s 97-pound class for raw squat competitions, lifting 160 and 187 pounds. She is just 4’8″ and her 215 pound lift catapulted her ahead of the former record holder, a 44 year old European women.
“It was only when I brought in my medal and certificate that they did. Everyone thought it was really cool. It’s great being stronger than everyone I know. I’m always beating the boys in sports at school.”
– Celtics’ G Mickael Pietrus (head) has been hospitalized with what is being called a “questionable closed head injury” after Friday’s game. His condition is currently unknown. Stay tuned.
– Check out Samuel L. Jackson’s intro for the Clippers / Hornets game, including a Pulp Fiction reference:
In the same game, Hornets’ F Jason Smith absolutely decks Clippers’ F Blake Griffin. Enjoy:
– Cavaliers’ F Anderson Varejao (wrist) will return to practice in the first or second week of April. Barring setbacks, he would be roughly three weeks away from game action.
– Former NBA F Andrei Kirilenko’s wife was caught wearing a mask from the movie Scream during a recent game:
– 2012 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Edge appeared on Between The Ropes with Brian Fritz. Highlights from the interview are as follows:
What he misses the most about not being with WWE on a day-to-day basis: “Honestly, I don’t miss anything about being on the road. If there’s things I miss, it would be the camaraderie of some of the guys. Being able to see Kane every week or Christian every week or (Dolph) Ziggler, guys I’m good friends with and road with. I miss that. I don’t miss the travel. I don’t miss being constantly exhausted, constantly sore and feeling like a zombie. I don’t miss that at all. I wake up now and my body doesn’t hurt. I have some neck days here and there but the rest of me feels great. So I’ll get out and mountain bike 35 miles. I wouldn’t have the energy to do that when I was working. So, I don’t miss much. I miss the guys and the feeling of that crowd reaction when you have a good match but beyond that not a whole lot.”
If he starting mapping out his final year in the WWE which he was planning before the neck injury forced him to retire: “I wanted to try and build it to Christian and I at a WrestleMania if it was possible. It looked like if I would have stuck around it would have happened before that. I think we would have got to him and I this year. I was kind of hoping that this would be the last year, the last Mania and gauge it from there. If I had another year left in me, sign for another year because my contract is up this month. I thought I’ll sit down at this year’s WrestleMania and see where I’m at. But if it could have built to where it would have been Christian and I at this year’s WrestleMania then I don’t think there would have been any other way to go. It’s like why bother, so I can do another year just to do another match that won’t mean as much to me in the final match. But I had been mentally preparing for it. I knew or assumed that it would be this year. So, it wasn’t that hard to come to terms or grips with. I think it was harder for other people. I’ve had a lot of grown men come up to me, man, I’m just so bummed, I was crying. I was like thanks but I knew what was going on in my body so it wasn’t as much of a shock to me I guess.”
His thoughts on the build to The Rock vs. John Cena at WrestleMania 28: “I’ve really enjoyed it. I like the promos. I like the fact that you can tell they don’t like each other. I also like the fact that you have a match that’s a year in the making, especially with nowadays schedule and the amount of TV programming that we have. For them to be able to do a match a year out and not touch, nowadays is mind blowing. I think people have lost respect for that aspect of it. You know, everybody goes ‘back in the day programs last longer and they didn’t get blown off so quick’. Well yeah but there wasn’t six hours of programming every week or whatever it is. It’s hard to keep guys apart to do Savage vs. Steamboat nowadays. Back when I was a kid growing up, you had Wrestling Superstars or one hour on a Saturday from 11-12 or 12-1. It was easy to keep guys apart. Not any more. It’s changed. So the fact that they’ve been able to do this year-long program without touching is astounding to me. And the fact that if Rock comes back next year, who knows? They could go again next year. Then you essentially have a three-year program with two matches. That’s amazing. There’s always going to be people that will complain if they haven’t touched this, that or the other but then will complain if they blow it off too quick. You just got to sit back and enjoy this and take it for what it is because it hasn’t actually been done before.”
– In part 3 of Arda Ocal of theScore’s in studio sit down with Bret Hart, the “Hitman” talks about why Bret Hart vs Hulk Hogan never happened in WWE back in 1993:
– WWE has yet to announce who will be inducting the 2012 WWE Hall of Fame inductees, but here’s what we’ve heard are the current plans:
Edge will be inducted by Christian
Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, JJ Dillon, Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard) will be inducted by Dusty Rhodes
Mike Tyson will be inducted by Shawn Michaels and Triple H
Mil Mascaras will be inducted by Alberto Del Rio
Ron Simmons will be inducted by John “Bradshaw” Layfield
Yokozuna will be inducted by Jey Uso, Jimmy Uso and Rikishi
Jerry “The King” Lawler will host the event.
– Reports this week of former WWE talent Nelson Frazier (aka Big Daddy V, Viscera) appearing at WrestleMania Axxess are incorrect. He is advertised to appear at a wrestling tour taking place in Georgetown, Guyana on March 31 and April 1. Other talent appearing include Tom Howard, Predator (aka Sylvester Terkey), Butterbean, Domino, Daivari, Luke Gallows, Shad Gaspard, Paul London, Mike Knox and Raven. Bill Goldberg will also appear at the events in a non-wrestling capacity.
– Former WWE talent Travis Tomko turns 36 years on Friday. A jury trial for his arrest last October in St. Augustine, Florida on a felony robbery charge is scheduled for May.