– According to TSN’s James Duthie, Canucks’ G Roberto Luongo, 33, will give the team a short list of teams he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause for. The list will include the Maple Leafs. GM Mike Gillis said the process will not be made as a knee-jerk reaction to the Canucks’ first-round playoff exit and that it is “a little premature to start down that path already” of looking for trades. It was initially reported that the Leafs, Blackhawks, Panthers and Lightning are early teams believed to have serious interest.
“We’ve met, but we’ve decided we’ll take our time and talk in the next few days over the phone,” GM Mike Gillis said.
“This is an important decision for our organization and the players involved. It is not going to be something we discuss publicly throughout the process,” assistant GM Laurence Gilman told TSN.
– The Bruins released the following statement regarding the racist comments towards Capitals’ F Joel Ward after he scored the overtime winner in Game 7:
“The Bruins are very disappointed by the racist comments that were made following the game last night. These classless, ignorant views are in no way a reflection of anyone associated with the Bruins organization.”
G Tim Thomas told a young fan to smile despite the loss. Check out these videos:
Thomas, of course, may have just played his final game as a Bruin–the 2011 Conn Smythe Trophy winner’s no-move clause expires July 1, when he’ll have just 1-year/$5M remaining on his contract. Thomas said after the game:
“I thought we had a better chance than most. I thought that if we could get past this first-round hurdle that we would pick up some energy and momentum.
“I had the picture in my head of holding the Cup again this year. And I thought — I believed in — that this team still had what it took to get it done, even with that short summer and everything else.”
– Blues’ G Jaroslav Halak (lower body) skated on Thursday prior to practice, but his status for the start of St. Louis’ second-round series against Los Angeles remains unchanged. Head coach Ken Hitchcock said, ”He’s getting better. He’s not ready for the first two games. We’ll see from there.” Halak was injured in Game 2 versus San Jose when he was crashed into by D Barret Jackman, and will not start Games 1 or 2 of the semi-finals.
– Check out Bruins” F Rich Peverley’s fake slash on Capitals’ G Braden Holtby:
– The Colts selected Stanford QB Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. The selection has been nearly two years in the making, and any talk of Luck falling down the draft was never true. Luck is believed to be the top quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning, and appears to have all the makings of a star NFLer.
The Redskins selected Baylor QB Robert Griffin III with the No. 2 overall pick. RG3 led the nation in yards per attempt (10.7) while completing 72.4% of his passes. The Heisman Trophy winner is the complete package–incredible athleticism, arm strength, great speed, accuracy and IQ.
– The Steelers have signed QB Byron Leftwich. The No. 7 overall pick of the 2003 draft, Leftwich has attempted just seven passes the past two seasons, and landed on injured last September following ankle surgery.
– Redskins S Brandon Meriweather was arrested Thursday morning in Arlington, Virginia on suspicion of driving under the influence. Meriweather refused a breathalyzer after being pulled over around 3:00 a.m. He failed a field sobriety test, and told police he couldn’t remember the name of the club he had just left. Meriweather was cleared last summer in connection with a shooting incident that took place in February. Per ESPN 980 Washington, $3.5M of Meriweather’s new contract and signing bonus is guaranteed.
– ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the NFL is moving toward suspending the Pro Bowl game, as soon as this year. Per Mort’s report, teams would still honor Pro Bowl incentives to avoid a conflict with the NFL Players Association. “There may be no Pro Bowl this year,” ESPN’s John Clayton said on SportsCenter Thursday. Commissioner Roger Goodell has spoken of eliminating the Pro Bowl game since February. Last year’s 59-41 AFC win over the NFC was booed for its lack of intensity.
– WWE has announced that Rey Mysterio has been suspended for 60 days.
“STAMFORD, Conn. – In accordance with its Talent Wellness Program, WWE has suspended Oscar Gutierrez (Rey Mysterio) for 60 days effective Thursday, April 26 for his second violation of the company’s policy.”
Mysterio recently stated on Twitter that he was planning to return form injury in May, but now he’s looking at a late-June/early-July return at the earliest. As per the terms of WWE’s Talent Wellness Program, he will be released if he fails another drug test.
– According to the PWInsider, WWE is still in the early stages of deciding who Brock Lesnar will fight at WrestleMania 29, with The Rock, The Undertaker and Steve Austin all under consideration. WrestleMania 29 will be the final match on Lesnar’s 1-year contract.
There has also been talk of Randy Orton vs. Brock Lesnar headlining WWE SummerSlam in August. As of right now, Lesnar is tentatively slated to feud with Orton when his feud with John Cena concludes. As previously reported, WWE is also considering holding a Money in the Bank match at SummerSlam – if Wade Barrett [the rumored winner] is healthy to return by then.
Speaking of Brock, he is now being advertised for Monday’s WWE RAW Supershow from the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio, the night after Extreme Rules. The arena website has the following teaser for RAW:
“See Brock Lesnar in Dayton for the FIRST TIME EVER in a WWE Ring. Witness this historic event the night after he faces John Cena at Extreme Rules!!!”
– According to the PWInsider, there has been a lot of talk in recent weeks as to whether Chris Jericho will remain with WWE after this summer, when his band Fozzy goes on tour. Jericho has stated on several occasions that he will be leaving WWE once again to tour with Fozzy, but Jericho is known for promoting floating false information and misleading the wrestling media. Upon speaking with people close to Jericho, the feeling is that if he does leave this summer to tour with Fozzy, he’ll be back in WWE full time after the summer.
– According to the PWInsider, Kharma is indeed getting ready to make her return to television in the coming weeks. WWE is looking ahead to a Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix feud and feels that it has the potential to be one of the top women’s feuds in many years. The Beth Phoenix injury angle on RAW was done to get the Divas title off her without her having to face Kharma yet. WWE plans to bring Kharma back as a monster and she will likely squash Nikki Bella to win her first title in WWE. With reports that the Bella Twins are leaving WWE at the end of the month – whether or not Nikki Bella is Divas champion after next week will say a lot about whether the Bellas signed a contract extension or not. As for former WWE Divas champion Beth Phoenix posted the following update on Twitter on Wednesday, assuring fans that her [storyline] injury from RAW will not keep her from her scheduled live appearances:
“Thank u for the outpour of support…for all those wondering if I will be at the @navypier signing in #chicago on Saturday, I will be fulfilling all of my #WWE appearance obligations. Nothing will keep me from thanking the @WWEUniverse for being Glamfans. See u there!”
“I dont know where I would be without the love of my life. He has kept my spirits high during this tough week of pain and disappointment.”
– According to the Wrestling Observer, former WWE Champion The Miz’s spot on the WWE roster is considered safe, and there is virtually no risk of him being released any time soon, despite being on and off television for the last few months.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, there are plans to feature Christian in the World Heavyweight title picture after Extreme Rules.
– Things are heating up between Heath Slater and WrestleMania 28 Flo Rida – and its looking like we might actually see a match between these two. To recap, Flo Rida was at WrestleMania 28 and attacked Heath Slater backstage. Slater had some strong words for Flo Rida, which prompted Flo Rida to post a YouTube video showing him training and telling Heath Slater that he’s coming for him. [View Here]. WWE has now released a video from a recent live event – with Heath Slater attacking Flo Rida. Heath Slater is shown kicking open the door of a room while Flo Rida was talking to someone on the phone. Slater shoved Flo Rida to the ground and stood over him, stating that he’s not a joke as the rapper holds his hands up for protection. Here’s the video of Heath Slater getting payback on Flo Rida:
– The Twitter page of Universal Championship Wrestling, the indy promotion that Buff Bagwell has been working for lately, has posted an update on the former WCW star’s health after a bad car accident earlier this week. According to UCW, doctors are hoping that the swelling in Bagell’s face and neck will subside soon so they can perform surgery. Bagwell is on breathing and feeding tubes, and has a crushed nose, broken cheek bone, broken jaw and broken neck in two places.
– Paul Bearer returned to WWE television on Monday’s RAW, getting kidnapped by Randy Orton and placed in a freezer. The WWE Insider Twitter account noted that Bearer was suffering the effects of hypothermia due to the attack. It appears that Paul Bearer has thawed out, as he was able to write a new blog at Blogspot.ca where he spoke about his appearance on RAW:
“I certainly enjoyed being part of a live WWE Raw television event this week, after a long period. If you have been following the show you know that the week before my ‘son’ Kane attacked the Legendary Cowboy Bob Orton, Father of ring star Randy Orton. It was only natural for Paul Bearer to pop back in, and Randy Orton getting retribution on ‘The Fat Man.’ I throughly enjoy these storylines, notwithstanding my month long ‘kidnapped story’ with Edge just last year…
“Will you ever see Paul Bearer on WWE programming again? Never say never… but, I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you. My ship has virtually sailed. I have absolutely no intention of returning to The WWE, or any wrestling company for that matter, in any type of full time position. I will continue to work with independent promotions, wrestling conventions, reunions, etc., as I have been doing during the past few years.”
Bearer also noted that he was contacted about the appearance last Saturday and he currently has four years left on his WWE legends contract.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Lord Tensai’s claw finishing move has been modified for safety precautions. The hold now comes from the standing position, giving the opponent the ability to land back-first. The move originally started from Tensai’s knee, which caused the point of impact to be the back of his opponent’s head.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, following Sunday’s Extreme Rules PPV, there has been talk of shifting Daniel Bryan out of the World Title picture and having Sheamus feud with returning stars Alberto Del Rio and Christian.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, Mick Foley will be going on the road with WWE in a few weeks and will serve as the special guest referee for the main events of several upcoming live events.With Dean Ambrose also on the road with WWE recently, expect to see more between Foley and Ambrose.
– According to the Wrestling Observer, WWE has softened its position on Daniel Bryan’s “YES!” chants and are now embracing them, as evidenced by Bryan’s finishing move being renamed, the “Yes! Lock.” WWE is expecting a very rowdy, pro-Bryan Crowd this Sunday night, with Chicago being known as a city full of “smart” fans who support Bryan.
– DigitalTrends.com has an article up looking at video game publisher Electronic Arts being on the lookout for acquisitions of gaming studios. With THQ in major financial trouble, they speculate that EA could take them over, which would give them the rights to the WWE video game franchise.
– WWE has fired back at Linda McMahon political opponent Christopher Shays after Shays recently told the Weekly Standard that WWE is all about “violence, bullying, degradation of minorities and women.” Here is an excerpt from WWE spokesman Robert Zimmerman’s letter to Shays:
“With regard to our content being “violent,” WWE programming, like Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, is an exciting blend of action, characters and fictional storylines of good versus evil that entertains millions every week, including approximately 300,000 fans here in Connecticut. Our performers are professionals who have spent many years training to perfect the athletic and choreographed maneuvers in our shows. Your assertion that our content is “violent” is in direct conflict with the standards and practices departments of our current TV network distributors who have rated our programming TV-PG.
With regard to “degradation of minorities and women,” you should know that our shows are some of TV’s highest-rated programming and are watched by the very audiences, minorities and women, you claim that we disregard and “degrade.” In fact, Monday Night Raw is the most-watched entertainment program on primetime cable among Hispanic viewers and number four among African-Americans. Also nearly 40% of our audience is female. We would not have 13 million weekly TV viewers in the U.S. if they felt our programming was insulting or degrading.
Our company started with 13 employees and has grown to nearly 700 employees, which speaks to the quality and staying power of our product and our organization. WWE’s programming may not be your personal choice of entertainment, but that does not give you the right to recklessly damage our corporate reputation. We would appreciate a public apology and an assurance that you will not continue to unfairly denigrate our company.”
– According to the PWInsider, WWE.com had 12.3 million unique visitors in March, down 13% from 14.2 million in March 2011. The WWE Shop website averaged 548 merchandise orders per day in March, down a sharp 58% from 1,300 orders per day in March 2011. WWE shipped approximately 246,000 DVD units for March 2012.
– Here’s a new episode of WWE Inbox featuring WWE superstars and divas answering questions sent in via social media:
– MVP has posted a 30-minute discussion with fellow former WWE superstar Carlito. The two discuss their time in WWE, backstage heat, how working for WWE completely takes over your life and a lot more. Check it out:
– ECW Original Shane Douglas spoke with Mister Saint Laurent on MLW Radio, the official podcast of Major League Wrestling. Douglas talked about his Extreme Reunion, thoughts on Vince McMahon as a promoter and more. Douglas talked about TNA President Dixie Carter paying ECW Originals a low amount of money for the TNA Hardcore Justice PPV:
“After Dixie Carter did her show [Hardcore Justice] and paid the guys a ridiculous sum of money, $250 to go out there and do what we do better than most people do, that to me was just so disrespectful. For somebody who has been born and raised in a billion dollar household with a silver spoon in her mouth and up her backside, to ask guys to go out there and do that, for that little bit of money and then when it did better than any pay-per-view event in the last five years, didn’t even offer so much as an extra penny on top of it.”
“I said then and I stand by it, shame on you Dixie Carter that you’d expect anybody to do that in this day and age. At the same time she pays Ric Flair, 62, 63 years old, $35,000 a night. 60 year old Hulk Hogan, $75,000 a night and then somehow figures that these guys that come from ECW just don’t have any value or worth at all. I plan on disproving that.”
– WWE superstar Kane turns 45 years old today.
– Wednesday, April 25, 2012 marked the 10-year anniversary since Randy Orton made his debut as a WWE Superstar. Orton wrestled his first match on the April 25, 2002 episode of WWE SmackDown against Hardcore Holly.
– Red Sox’ OF Carl Crawford (left elbow) was diagnosed with a sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament and is not expected back before the All-Star break, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. Early reports had Crawford out for 3 months, but the team thinks a return in June “isn’t out of the question.” The Sox said a “conservative treatment protocol was recommended,” so Crawford will attempt to rehab the injury rather than have surgery. He was given a platelet rich plasma injection and will be shut down from baseball activity during the initial phase of his rehab.
– Mets’ RHP Mike Pelfrey (elbow) is scheduled to visit Dr. James Andrews on Friday. Pelfrey was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. It’s not clear if the surgery will actually take place on Friday, but it should happen within the next few days. The 28-year-old will likely be sidelined through the early part of the 2013 season and is likely to be non-tendered by the team this winter.
– The Tigers have released INF Brandon Inge. The team will still be responsible for his $5.5M salary and the $500K buyout on his $6M club option for next season. The 34-year-old has spent his entire professional career with the Tigers, batting .234/.304/.387 with 140 homers and 589 RBI over 1408 major league games.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Dustin McGowan (right shoulder soreness) has been shut down for 2 weeks. McGowan was diagnosed with inflammation after visiting Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday. Structural damage was ruled out, but it’s yet another setback nonetheless. McGowan signed a 2-year/$3M contract in March.
– Giants’ INF Freddy Sanchez (shoulder) felt renewed discomfort in his surgically-repaired shoulder Wednesday while taking infield. Manager Bruce Bochy said, ”He developed a little tightness in the shoulder. It’s a setback. We’re hoping it’s a minor one.” The 34-year-old was hoping to finish his rehab assignment and return to the major leagues on May 11, but everything may have to be pushed back a week.
– Cardinals’ OF Lance Berkman (calf) took swings in a batting cage Wednesday for a second consecutive day, and was able to hit some soft toss. The Big Puma is expected to be ready to rejoin the team as soon has his time on the 15-day DL is up. He’s batting .348/.500/.522 with two doubles and two RBI in 30 plate appearances this season.
– An MRI taken Wednesday night on Reds’ RHP Nick Masset’s (shoulder) showed an unhealed strain. Masset remains shut down indefinitely. The 29-year-old had a a 3.71 ERA and 62/31 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last year.
– Rays’ RHP Matt Bush’s bond reduction ruling has been postponed until Monday due to a health issue with the prosecutor. The former 1st-overall draft pick is currently in the Charlotte County jail in Florida with a bail of $1.015M. His lawyer is trying to have that reduced. Bush faces charges of DUI, hit-and-run and property damage for striking a 72-year-old motorcyclist last month while drunk and leaving the scene. The Rays have placed him on the restricted list and will likely release him once it becomes convenient for them to do so.
– UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell was recently on UFC Tonight and he said he would come out of retirement for a title shot.
“The only thing that would even make me think about it is if they gave me a shot at the title. So, we’ll see. For now? Yeah. Jon Jones. I don’t wanna come back as a sideshow. It’s just one of those things. It’s not something I wanna do.
“I’ll never say never. Not in this sport. Anybody can lose at any time. If he keeps doing what he does, he’s gonna be hard to beat if he keeps doing what he’s doing. He follows his game plan. He trains hard. He keeps learning. He’s young and he’s athletic and a great athlete. He’s a great guy. He’s gonna be hard to beat, but I’m never gonna say no one’s gonna beat him.”
The 42-year-old Iceman hasn’t fought in 22 months. From 2007-2010 Liddell had a UFC record of 1-5, and four of his five losses were by knockout.
– Clippers’ G Chris Paul (groin) reiterated that he’ll be ready for the playoffs. ”Yeah, I’ll be OK. I’ll be good.” When asked if he’d be playing for sure, CP3 responded “no question.”
– Thunder’ F James Harden (concussion) will practice on Friday and does not have a minutes restriction. Harden will be available for the playoffs after sustaining a concussion following the elbow heard around the world from Lakers’ F Metta World Peace.