– The Ducks have re-signed F Teemu Selanne to a 1-year/$4.5M contract. The Finnish Flash scored 26 goals and added 40 assists in 82 games last season. Selanne is currently the NHL’s second-highest career scorer amongst active players, trailing only Jaromir Jagr with 1,406 points (663 goals) in 1,341 career games with the Ducks, Jets, Sharks and Avalanche.
– According to his agent, Terry Bross, UFA F Shane Doan may not wait until July 16 to sign somewhere. ”There is no relevance to the July 16th date for us. That’s off the table.” The Red Wings, Canucks, Sharks, Kings and Coyotes are known to be interested. Stay tuned.
– The Canadiens have signed RFA F Aaron Palushaj to a 1-year/2-way contract on Thursday. The 22-year-old split his time last season between the Canadiens and the AHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs. In 38 games with Montreal, he had one goal and four assists, while in Hamilton he had 15 goals and 20 assists in 35 contests.
– The Coyotes have signed F Nick Johnson to a 1-year/2-way contract. He scored eight goals and 26 points in 77 games with the Wild last season.
– The Sharks have re-signed F T.J. Galiardi and F John McCarthy to 1-year contracs; F Frazer McLaren to a 2-year contract; and have signed F Jonathan Matsumoto to a 1-year contract. Galiardi played 69 games for Colorado and San Jose last season, totalling 15 points. He also finished the regular season second on the Sharks with 110 hits to go with 53 total penalty minutes. McCarthy has four points in 51 career games for San Jose. McLaren has six points in 39 career NHL games. Matsumoto appeared in one game for the Panthers this season after being acquired from Carolina.
– Clippers’ F Blake Griffin (left knee) suffered a left knee injury during a Team USA scrimmage on Wednesday and will return to LA to be examined by team doctors. Reports are that he twisted the knee, which is the same one he hurt in the playoffs last season. Adrian Wojnarowski is also reporting that F Anthony Davis has been called to Vegas “immediately” to fill the void left by Griffin.
– The Bobcats have reached an agreement in principle to sign free agent G Ramon Sessions. Sessions has said he only wanted to sign with a team where he would be the starter. He averaged 13 points and six assists for the Lakers last season.
– Thunder’ F Kendrick Perkins (groin) underwent surgery on Thursday and will be sidelined 3-4 weeks. The injury bothered him over the course of last season, but Perkins opted to undergo surgery despite saying that it was no longer an issue.
– UFA F Greg Oden, who was contemplating taking the entire year off, has decided he wants to play in the upcoming season. It’s not known when he’ll be ready to play again, but his knee injuries raise a major red flag.
– Former WWE creative members Seth Mates (@sethmates) and Chris Gough (@kcmetropro) appeared on The LAW’s ‘Review a Wai’ podcast to chat about the infamous Katie Vick angle that took place on the October 21, 2002 episode of Raw. On the program, a vignette was shown of Triple H, dressed as Kane, simulating mock sex with a mannequin in a casket. Excerpts from the interview are as follows:
The genesis of the Katie Vick storyline: “At this point, (Vince) wanted to start having a lot more backstories to wrestlers. He didn’t want it just to be like, ‘Oh, I wanna beat you up. You stole my girlfriend, let’s have a match.’ He wanted it to be more like, ‘I wanna know who every character is.’ Their backgrounds, and a lot of that. You’ve seen through the years of wrestling, he’s gone up and down with this kinda stuff.
“It was just a matter of, ‘We want to know more about Kane. We know about Paul Bearer and the burning angle, and the Undertaker scenario, but we don’t really know much more about him. So let’s spend the last ten minutes of this conference call discussing Kane’s background and coming up with a way to bring Kane back,’ because he had torn his bicep, and he was coming back to TV. It started off with us pitching ideas about how to bring Kane back.”
Vince McMahon’s pitch: “At the end of the call, Vince basically made the call to say, ‘Why don’t we make Kane…why don’t we say he’s a murderer, and he’s murdered somebody in his past?’ It sort of formulated into what you saw. This was Vince’s seed.
The funeral home shoot: “The necrophilia thing had only really begun in that vignette. That vignette was done by Stephanie (McMahon), Vince, and Bruce (Pritchard), and I believe it was mostly Stephanie; Stephanie Triple H, and Vince were the ones behind that. This wasn’t discussed; Triple H was involved the whole time, so no one had to explain it to him. He was obviously almost part of the family at the point, he knew everything that was going on. Kane, on the other hand, he was getting a little bored with his direction. He had the big start in ’97, and it ran its course. He wanted to change it up a little bit, so they decided they were gonna push him to go for a title run eventually, for the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H in October. It was a situation where he knew it was going to be a big push, he’s taking on Triple H.
“The angle was basically, ‘There’s a backstory here where he’s gonna start picking on you for your girlfriend dying, and that he’s gonna start acting like you killed her, and he’s gonna start playing more emotional mind games with Kane.’ That was the pitch, with Triple H and Kane. There was no, like, ‘Hey, by the way, he’s gonna say that you banged your ex-girlfriend when she was, uh, dead.’ That was never even talked about until the vignette aired, and it really wasn’t talked about after that again. That wasn’t an idea by a writer, that wasn’t pitched to anybody. That was the vignette that was of the sick minds of the McMahon family that was taped in the funeral home that night.”
– The wrestler formerly known as Goldust, Dustin Rhodes, joined Kayfabe Wrestling Radio Tuesday night. In a nearly 20 minute interview, he talked about the creation of the Goldust character, his father’s wrestling and how that affected his career decision, his use of ring psychology, his time tag teaming with Booker T, his teaming with Ricky Steamboat and what he learned from it, his hopes for a heavyweight championship run, what he wants to do before he retires and a host of other topics.
Would he still have been a wrestler if his father (WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes) wasn’t involved with the industry: “Probably not. Just growing up, watching it all the time because dad being in the business probably was the one factor that lead me to be in the business. So, if he was not, then I have no idea what I’d be doing, probably playing football or something like that; maybe be in the NFL by now. Who knows?”
What he learned from working with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: “I mean the whole learning how to actually work heel. Working heel works different for me; being Dustin Rhodes for so many years and then a giant switch of a character and everything. It took me a while; it took me about six months) to figure out Goldust and it was pretty tough trying to figure it out. You know, I was frustrated because stuff wasn’t working and then finally I do one thing that works and you kind of hold onto it and kind of build off of that. That’s kind of how it got started.”
The importance of ring psychology in the professional wrestling business: “Psychology is so hard to learn these days; you can’t really teach it. Psychology is storytelling; it’s knowing when to do a certain move as opposed to not doing it; how to make that first person in the front row… there’s always someone out in the arena (out around ringside) that does not want to be there, that hates pro wrestling and can’t stand it, that doesn’t believe in it, he’s only there because of their kids; they’re only there to see John Cena or someone like that. And that’s my job, that’s who I pick; there is always one and I’ll find them. I’ll look for them and I’ll work my whole match to get around this one individual, whether it be female or male. And towards the end of the match, they are on their feet and you can actually see something in their eyes change, a spark in their eyes change… at the end of the match when they are on their feet and you can actually see ‘wow, this guy made me a believer’, then my job is done right.”
The Goldust character and issues with it: “When Vince sat me down and explained the character, explained that the character was androgynous; I seriously had to go home and look up that word cause I had no idea what the hell that meant. But he explained it to me; I thought ‘Ok, let’s give this a shot’, and he said ‘I’m going to be behind you no matter what, Dustin. There’s going to be a lot of people talking’. But he kept using the word androgynous; never used the word gay or anything like that, so me knowing what that means now, I’m going out there and try to dress the part but not really understanding how to act the part of the Goldust character; he had me trial and error stuff. I did a few things and they didn’t really work, so I was frustrated and finally one night I felt it clicked. I was with Savio Vega, and I owe a big deal to Savio Vega for helping me get this character over because he really kicked it into gear for me, and he said go behind me and start to rub up and down my chest. I was really against that and didn’t want to do it, but I thought ‘what the hell, let’s try it’. So I tried it, it worked, people became unglued, pissed off, angry, saying ‘what the hell is wrong with you’, you know just horrible stuff but I was like ‘Damn, this is fun, this is awesome. I got this’. And from that point it was so easy, so easy that Vince had to tell me to tone it back a bit.”
Hope to one day become World Heavyweight Champion: “Things just came natural to be and I think maybe some things that held me back in the past; I’m a little hot-headed and not patient enough and I get frustrated very, very easy. That could have led to a lot of my not getting a world title run and things like that. It’s no easy job being a World Heavyweight Champion; these guys like Cena, Sheamus, these guys are modeled around that and are champs for a reason. They can go out and do it 300 days a year and not bitch or complain and do whatever is asked of them: appearances and whatever is asked. And they can work… I fought for it a few times, with Austin, with Shawn Michaels, with Bret (Hart) and it just didn’t progress. I don’t know what much else to say about it except everyone who gets into the professional wrestling business wants to be the World Heavyweight Champion. If they don’t, they don’t need to be in the business. I want to be World Heavyweight Champion, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen… I’m not going to retire until I win the NWA World Heavyweight Title, the same belt my dad had. I’m going to win that title before I hang it up.”
– WWE.com has a storyline interview up with Chris Jericho, who hypes his involvement in the RAW brand’s Money in the Bank match this Sunday. Here’s an except of Jericho’s comments:
“Money in the Bank Ladder Matches can be almost like stunt shows in a lot of ways. But this is not going to be like that. Sometimes there are guys trying to make a name for themselves, so they’re going to take more and more risks. We’ve already all made names for ourselves, already have WWE Hall of Fame careers. We’re not taking risks to prove anything. We have nothing to prove, but we have everything to gain.”
“I’m sure there are still going to be dangerous moments – there always are. But I think you’re going to see more intensity, more brutality, with the ladder used more as a weapon, at least that’s the way that I see it. That’s my strategy.”
“I think you’re going to see four guys that come out of there feeling every moment of the match, and feeling every moment of our careers. After doing this for 22 years, I get into a match like this knowing that I’ll feel every match I’ve had in those 22 years.”
– WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has landed a role in the sequel to the 2010 hit “Grown Ups.” The film will star Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, Andy Samberg, Maya Rudolf, Taylor Lautner, Steve Buscemi, Salma Hayek, and Paulina Gretzky, daughter of NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. Austin previously worked with Adam Sandler in the 2005 comedy “Longest Yard.”
– WWE has released a behind-the-scenes video of the USA Network-produced commercial promoting the historic 1000th episode of Raw on July 23. Appearances include Vince McMahon, John Cena, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, Big Show, AJ, R-Truth, Kane, CM Punk, Triple H and The Great Khali.
– Nationals’ RHP Stephen Strasburg said Thursday that he has not discussed an innings limit with team officials. Strasburg, who had Tommy John surgery in late 2010, was expected to be limited to between 160-170 innings this season. “I have no clue how many innings I’m going to throw this year. Nobody’s said anything to me. I feel great right now.”
– According to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports, MLB has decided to uphold OF Jairo Beras’ $4.5M contract with the Rangers, but will suspend him for one year. Beras said his birthday was December 25, 1995 at a prospect showcase in February, making him just 16 years of age. When he agreed to a deal with Texas before the July 2 international signing period, however, it became known that was actually 17.