– The Oilers drafted F Nail Yakupov at No. 1 in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Yakupov, who had 31 goals and 69 points in 42 games last season for the Sarnia Sting, was the consensus top choice heading into the draft.
The Blue Jackets selected D Ryan Murray with the No. 2 pick in the NHL draft on Friday night. The 6-foot, 198-pound Murray spent the last three seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League. He led Everett defencemen in scoring in each of the last two seasons. He had nine goals and 22 assists in 46 games this season.
The Canadiens drafted 18-year-old F Alex Galchenyuk at No. 3. He was limited by an ACL injury to two regular season games in 2011-12, although he had two goals and two assists in six playoff games.
The Islanders selected D Griffin Reinhart of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings at No. 4. The six-foot-four, 207-pound Reinhart had 12 goals in 58 games this season and is the son of former NHLer Paul Reinhart.
The Maple Leafs selected D Morgan Rielly with the number five pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The six-foot, 190-pound defenceman missed most of the 2011-12 season with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors because a torn ACL, but still collected 18 points (3-15) in 18 games.
The Sabres selected F Mikhail Grigorenko with the 12th pick. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Grigorenko is from Russia, but played for Quebec of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. He led the league’s rookies with 45 goals and 85 points in 59 games despite dealing with an illness at the end of the season.
– The Hurricanes have acquired F Jordan Staal from the Penguins for F Brandon Sutter, prospect D Brian Dumoulin and their No. 8 overall selection in the 2012 draft (D Derrick Pouliot). One day after he rejected the Pens’ 10-year/$60M contract extension, Staal gets his wish and joins brother Eric in Carolina–likely becoming linemates, with Eric shifting over to the wing. The 23-year old has 1-year/$4M remaining on his contract before becoming a UFA, but is expected to re-sign with Carolina before then. Of note, Staal is getting married on Friday night, with his brother Eric likely being in the bridal party. Staal scored 25 goals and 50 points last season.
– The Islanders have acquired D Lubomir Visnovsky from the Ducks for a 2013 2nd-round pick. An injury-riddled 2011-12 season limited Visnovsky to 27 points in 68 games, but he remains a solid offensive player and powerplay quarterback. Duing the 2010-11 season, he recorded 18 goals and 68 points, including 31 points on the powerplay. The 35-year-old will make $5.6M in the last year of his contract.
– The Capitals have acquired F Mike Ribeiro from the Stars for F Cody Eakin and the 54th overall pick in 2012. Ribeiro becomes the team’s No. 2 centre. The 32-year-old Ribeiro had 18 goals and 45 assists in 74 games last season. Ribeiro will be paid $5M next season in the final year of a 5-year/$25M contract. Eakin played in 30 games last season in his rookie campaign, with four goals and four assists. He also played 43 games in the AHL with the Hershey Bears.
– Bruins’ G Tim Thomas has agreed to waive his no-trade clause if the team wants to trade him before July 1. Thomas has previously stated that he doesn’t want to play next season, but plans can always change depending on where he lands. Thomas’ $5M cap hit will count against the books even if he takes a year off. The 38-year-old went 35-19-1 with a 2.36 GAA and a .920 SV% this past season. In the playoffs, he had a 2.14 GAA and a .923 SV%.
– The Flyers have traded G Sergei Bobrovsky to the Blue Jackets for the 45th overall pick and 117th selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, and Phoenix’s 4th-round pick in 2013. Bobrovsky is set to compete with G Steve Mason for the starting job–both players had strong rookie seasons, but have struggled since. Bobrovsky, 23, has a career record of 42-23-10 with a 2.73 GAA and .909 SV% with the Flyers. He posted a 14-10-2 mark with a 3.02 GAA and .899 SV% in 29 games last season.
– Blue Jackets’ GM Scott Howson says that he is not close to trading F Rick Nash right now. Nash asked the Jackets for a trade in January, but has a no-trade clause. He has given Howson a list of teams that he will accept a trade to. Sharks’ beat writer David Pollak reports Columbus is still believed to be asking for F Logan Couture, 23, who is thought to be a key member of the team’s future. “No counter-porposal, period.”
– The Kings have signed F Jarret Stoll to a 3-year/$9.75M contract and F Colin Fraser to a 2-year/$1.65M contract. Stoll, who turns 30 on Sunday, is the Kings’ third-line centre and faceoff specialist. He also plays extensively on the Kings’ penalty kill while providing veteran leadership. He matched his career low with 21 points in the regular season, but added five points in the playoffs, including the series-winning overtime goal in the first round to knock out Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver. Fraser is a gritty, defence-minded forward who played extensively for the Kings on their depth lines before appearing in 18 playoff games. He scored only one goal in the post-season, but it was Los Angeles’ first goal of the Stanley Cup finals, kicking off the Kings’ victory over New Jersey in Game 1.
– The Blackhawks are “actively shopping” D Niklas Hjalmarsson and D Steve Montador, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The 25-year-old has two years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $3.5M. The re-signing of Johnny Oduya and growth of Nick Leddy has made Hjalmarsson expendable, and teams looking for a defensive defenceman and shotblocker are sure to come calling. Chicago could also use the salary cap relief.
– The Canucks have listened to “numerous” trade offers for G Roberto Luongo, and assistant GM Laurence Gilman admitted it’s possible that a trade gets done in the near future. ”There is interest that’s in place right now/ It is conceivable that we could make a deal this weekend…If we think we can get a player who is going to make us better, we wouldn’t bypass a potential trading partner.”
– The NHL and players’ union are expected to begin CBA negotiations next week. The current CBA is set to expire on September 15. Owners are expected ask the players to take a lesser share of the league’s revenues.
– SKA St. Petersburg has denied a recent report that they offered Jets’ G Ondrej Pavelec a 1-year/$5.5M contract. According to the team, the club is not looking for a goaltender at this time. Pavelec is scheduled to become an RFA on July 1 and is currently negotiating a contract extension with the Jets.
Nail Yakupov has been selected by the Edmonton Oilers with the first overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Yakupov made an immediate impact in the OHL in the 2010-11, setting franchise marks in both goals and points for the Sarnia Sting. Despite facing injury this past season, Yakupov tallied a tremendous 69 points in 42 games. He is a dynamic offensive player, who combines great ice vision with a knack for creating quality offensive chances. Yakupov has one of the best shots in the draft class, and his great hands allow him to manipulate the puck in a variety of ways to fool both opposing defensemen and goaltenders. His strength on his skates and his shiftiness on the ice will also help him at the next level. Yakupov tends to float back to the defensive zone and will need to improve his play away from the puck if he is to become a star in the league. Despite this, there are no questions about Yakupov’s game-breaking ability and for that reason he is regarded as the top prospect in the draft. He’ll be joining an Oilers’ core that’s full of promising young forwards.
– The Blue Jackets have chosen D Ryan Murray with the No. 2 overall pick. Murray has the skill, character, and hockey sense that every team looks for, making him the top defenseman prospect in a loaded class. His talent is noticeable, as he became the youngest player since Paul Kariya to be selected for Team Canada for the World Junior Championship. He surprised some scouts by registering 46 points in 70 games in his first season with Everett. However, even if he doesn’t become a point-producer NHL, he still has the ability to be the puck-moving, quick transitional defenseman every team covets. Murray is not a physical player, but he is the strongest positional defenseman in the draft, which points to his high hockey sense. Scouts compare him to Scott Niedermayer, and by factoring in his character and talent they might not be too far off. He is captain material and should fit nicely into the future plans of the Jackets.
– Chris Jericho’s WWE suspension ends tomorrow and WWE is advertising that he’ll be at Monday’s RAW Supershow. With just one day to go until he’s cleared to wrestle again, Jericho continued his countdown on Twitter:
One man, one goal One mission One heart, one soul Just one solution One flash of light One God, one vision One flesh, one bone…
It’s expected that Chris Jericho will be working as a babyface when he returns to action. WWE showing footage of Jericho performing with Fozzy on RAW was the first step in portraying him in a more positive light.
– WWE’s third annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view will feature MITB matches for both the WWE Championship and the World Heavyweight title. At the start of tonight’s WWE SmackDown show, the Big Show will announce that he is first participant for the RAW brand’s Money in the Bank match for the WWE Championship. While the line between the RAW and SmackDown rosters has been blurred more than ever this year, it’s expected that each show’s respective match will only feature participants that are officially on that brand’s show. WWE Money In The Bank 2012 takes place on Sunday, July 15, 2012 from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
– Despite being fired by Vince McMahon at No Way Out (and getting disposed of by John Cena on RAW), John Laurinaitis continues to work WWE live events. The main event of this weekend’s RAW shows (Bethlehem, PA on Friday, Wheeling, WV on Saturday and Huntington, WV on Sunday) will be John Cena vs. Big Show and John Laurinaitis. The storyline behind Laurinaitis still appearing at live events is that WWE’s Board of Directors are “making him fulfill his contract obligations.” Fans attending these RAW-brand shows expecting to see WWE Champion CM Punk will be out of luck, because this weekend’s SmackDown shows (Springfield, IL & Bloomington, IL) will feature CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kane and Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio as the top matches.
– Christian recently spoke with Pantagraph about his career, being Intercontinental Champion and more. Here are some highlights of what
On having the Intercontinental Title eighteen years into his career: “It’s kind of cool to be Intercontinental Champion. It means a great deal…I used to make my own title belts out of cardboard and attach them to the back of my weightlifting belt, then hold it up in the mirror and practice my posing. My thought was that if you believe you’re a champion and work hard at it, you’ll finally get to that point.”
On wanting to be a wrestler as a kid: “I loved playing hockey growing up as a kid, but the first time I stepped into a ring, it seemed natural to me, like home. The first day of training, I was a kid thrown into the ring, and the minute I hit the ropes and the mat, it felt comfortable.”
On Edge’s retirement: “Yeah, I was the first person he called after he got the news (about the injury). It was one of those things where I had to listen and be there for him. I could tell he was upset about it once it sunk in. I told him that if was writing the end to his story, this was the perfect way to finish it off, just winning the WrestleMania (XXVII) world championship, the biggest show of the year. You can’t write a better ending than that.”
On how long he wants to keep going: “Having a long career with real lasting power has always been a goal,” he says. “So as long as I’m physically able to do what I do, I’ll keep doing it.”
– The WWE’s website has an interview up with ring announcer Justin Roberts, who celebrated 10 years with WWE this past Monday. Here are some highlights of what he said about:
Celebrating 10 Years With WWE: “It’s really cool have accomplished 10 years of ring announcing with WWE. I was a wrestling fan who lived for WWE. I didn’t watch any other sports; WWE was all I wanted to watch.”
Advice He Received from Stephanie McMahon: “When I started here, I had been listening to Howard Finkel. So when I previously announced at independent wrestling events, tough man contests, University of Arizona women’s softball games, basically anything I could announce … I was utilizing a bit of The Fink’s ‘cool announcer voice,’. I didn’t even realize that I was doing it.”
“One day, Stephanie McMahon came up to me and said not to go out there and be Howard, but to be me. I didn’t understand it at first, and then it hit me. I went back, watched some of my work, and thought, ‘That that isn’t my voice, that’s not how I sound.’ Once she said that to me, the light went on and I just became me. So every introduction that I do has its own flavor. I don’t go out and give the same introduction to everybody.”
– The Miz just completed his second week of shooting The Marine: Homefront and is expected to return to action next month.
– Fans who pre-order the upcoming WWE ’13 video game from GameStop will get Mike Tyson as a playable for free (via download). GameStop ran a similar promotion last year where fans who bought the game at their store got The Rock as a free downloadable character.
– After finishing up shooting scenes in Philadelphia, Wade Barrett is headed to New York this weekend to continue filming for WWE Studios’ Dead Man Down, due out in 2013.
– The theme song for the new season of WWE NXT is “Welcome Home” by Coheed and Cambria.
– The Rangers have placed 1B Mitch Moreland (strained left hamstring) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 20, and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
– Red Sox’ RHP Daniel Bard said Friday that he’s no longer a starting pitcher. Bard added that he recently called GM Ben Cherington to say that he believes he’s a reliever. The 26-year-old has has a 7.36 ERA and 10/2 K/BB ratio over 7 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket, but should to rejoin the bullpen during the second half.
– Nationals’ RHP Drew Storen (right elbow) threw batting practice Friday afternoon for the first time since surgery. Storen threw all fastballs during the session, but will need to throw all of his pitches before being cleared for a minor league rehab assignment. He’s aiming to return around the All-Star break.
– Orioles’ OF Nolan Reimold (neck) has decided to undergo surgery to alleviate the pressure on a nerve caused by a herniated disk in his cervical spine. A timetable won’t be released until after the surgery.
– The Rays have placed OF Matt Joyce (oblique) on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 20. He should return in early July when first eligible.
– Royals’ RHP Felipe Paulino (torn right UCL) has been diagnosed with a torn right ulnar collateral ligament and will likely need Tommy John surgery. Paulino made a rehab start with Double-A Northwest Arkansas Wednesday and had been scheduled to rejoin the rotation next week.
– Blue Jays’ RHP Drew Hutchison (sprained right UCL) will opt for rehab over Tommy John surgery, and has been shut down for the next 4-6 weeks.
– According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Hornets are making a “concerted effort” to re-sign RFA G Eric Gordon. The Hornets cleared some salary in their recent trade, and will wisely do whatever they can to retain their centrepiece of the Chris Paul trade. According to the report, the team “appears ready to match any offer Gordon might receive on the open market, even if it means extending him a maximum-money contract of 5-years/$80M.” Stay tuned.
– Thunder’ F Kendrick Perkins (groin) played the final three playoff rounds with a partially torn groin, league sources tell Yahoo! Sports. There is no word yet on if Perkins will require surgery.
– The Hawks have reportedly spoken to Spurs’ assistant GM Danny Ferry, according to ESPN.
– The NBA intends to appeal Friday’s arbitrated decision which granted Bird Rights to G Jeremy Lin, F Steve Novak, G Chauncey Billups and F J.J. Hickson. The league’s appeal will need to be heard and decided upon quickly with free agency right around the corner.
– Bears’ unsigned franchise RB Matt Forte expressed optimism Friday with the progress of contract talks with the Bears. ”Last year we were worlds apart, but it’s gotten better,” said Forte. He skipped all of the Bears’ spring practices while hoping for a new deal. As of late May, Forte was “believed” to be seeking $8.5M annually.
– “The Last Emporer” Fedor Emelianenko knocked out Pedro Rizzo at “M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Rizzo” on Thursday night, and then he retired from the sport of MMA. The 35-year old finishes his career with a record of 34-4 over 12 years of competitive fighting.
– Check out Italy’s Mario Ballotelli having some more fun on the field:
– Check out Cristiano Ronaldo’s awkward boob-squeezing celebration after scoring against the Czech Republic:
– TNA Impact Wrestling star Jeff Hardy joined “Monday Night Mayhem” on Thursday (6/21). Hardy addressed a number of TNA related topics including his return to Buffalo on Friday, Impact Wrestling going live in the summer on Spike TV and more. Here are some highlights of what Jeff Hardy said about:
On returning to Buffalo this Friday night for a TNA Wrestling live event: “We are doing so many fresh new things. We will rock the house this Friday night. The fan interaction is amazing. You would never experience this over there (WWE). It’s how I’ve been my whole career. The fans come first and I always take time to communicate with the fans. At our shows the fan interaction is so cool and so beyond anything else in pro wrestling. You get so close to your favorite stars.”
On returning to TNA following the “Victory Road 2011? PPV incident: “I honesty think and feel I’m at the top of my game. I’ve been through the hard times and dark times. Now being a father I’m so inspired with music, painting and wrestling. Once you see me that is a moment that you will never forget. I’m having the best matches in my life and wrestling the smartest ever. I’m in love with life again.”
Why he enjoys the TNA working schedule: “It’s huge for the quality of life. Every now and then, the human body needs that week off. At least at TNA when you have six or seven straight days off. Your body needs that. I’m extremely proud of TNA and we are doing a lot of shows that aren’t televised. We are working our asses off to get things done. For the quality of life, it is a huge difference to be in TNA.”
If he has anything left to accomplish in TNA or pro wrestling: “Nothing – there is nothing more I want to do. I’ve done everything I’ve dreamed up. It would be nice to become TNA Champion and end the selfish generation. Man, I can’t complain. I have a great life and have a beautiful family. I love TNA and what we are doing. If I never won the title again, I’m fine. I just want to keep my health and avoid any kind of surgeries.”
On Impact Wrestling going live in the summer on Spike TV: “It’s a huge step for TNA and Impact Wrestling. I couldn’t be more happier. I love the fact that if you make a mistake it will be witnessed by everyone who watches that night. I used to be on a show on Monday night that was live and was always excited about it as well. There is no editing involved. It’s a huge step and (we will) take it week by week.”
– During Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, it was finally revealed why A.J. Styles and TNA President Dixie Carter have been sneaking around for months. They weren’t having an affair – they have been secretly working together to help a pregnant woman recovering from addition who has been waking up in hotel rooms with strangers.
– The main event of TNA Destination X will be TNA World Champion Bobby Roode vs. Austin Aries. Aries forfeited the X Division title on Thursday’s Impact to earn the title shot.