– According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Dodgers were awarded claiming rights on Phillies’ LHP Cliff Lee. LA’s new ownership continues to make a big splash at the deadline. The Dodgers now have three days to work out a trade with the Phillies, but Morosi and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports are both hearing that a deal is unlikely. Stay tuned.
– The Dodgers have acquired RHP Joe Blanton from the Phillies for a PTBNL or cash considerations. The Dodgers claimed Blanton off waivers this week. The 31-year-old has a 4.59 ERA and 115/18 K/BB ratio over 133 1/3 innings this season. LA will be responsible for the roughly $2.9M left on his contract.
– The Nationals have acquired C Kurt Suzuki and cash considerations from the Athletics for C David Freitas. Suzuki is batting just .218/.250/.286 with one homer this season, but is still likely an upgrade over C Jesus Flores. Suzuki making $5M this season and $6.45M in 2013.
– The Cavaliers have agreed to terms with UFA G C.J. Miles on a 2-year contract, a league source tells Brian T. Smith of the Salt Lake Tribune. Cleveland needed help from the wing position, so it looks like a good signing. Miles also “expects to compete for a starting spot” with the team. The Lakers were reportedly interest in him as well.
– The Wolves have signed F Greg Stiemsma. He’ll will come off the bench as a backup centre. Stiemsma averaged 1.5 blocks last year off the bench with the Celtics, and was second in the league in blocks per minute.
– NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Titans’ RB Chris Johnson has been impressive in practice, and looks likely to have a bounce-back season. ”I’ve been stunned. He looks like the Chris Johnson of old. He’s fast, he’s in shape. Looks like he’s primed for a big year.” Johnson turned in a career-worst year in 2011. Charley Casserly also reports that the Titans believe Johnson is “on a mission” in 2012.
– According to CSN California’s sources, the Sharks are one of the favorites to sign UFA F Shane Doan. He’s reportedly seeking a 4-year/$30M contract, which seems a bit much. Right now, Doan’s asking price would put the Sharks over the cap limit, and that’s assuming the cap doesn’t lower for next season. Doan is still likely to re-sign with the Coyotes once their ownership situation is figured out, though.
– The Maple Leafs have signed 1st-round draft pick D Morgan Rielly to a 3-year entry level contract. The Maple Leafs selected Rielly No. 5 overall on June 22. Rielly missed most of the 2011-12 season with the WHL’s Moose Jaw Warriors because a torn ACL, but still collected 18 points in 18 games. In 2010-11, he led Moose Jaw in rookie scoring and was second among defencemen with 28 points (6-22-28) in 65 games.
– The Kings have signed F Tanner Pearson to a 3-year entry-level contract. Pearson selected by the Kings in the 1st-round in the 2012 NHL Draft. The 19-year-old has played the last two seasons with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. He was named to the OHL Second All-Star Team at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season after recording 91 points, 37 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 60 regular season games. His 91 points ranked third overall in the OHL, while his 54 assists ranked fifth.
– The Islanders signed 1st-round pick D Griffin Reinhart to a three-year, entry-level contract Thursday. He was selected 4th overall in the June draft. He had 12 goals and 24 assists in 58 games last season for the Edmonton Oil Kings in the WHL.
– The Canucks have signed F Alexandre Mallet. He was originally picked in the second round, 57th overall by the Canucks in the 2012 NHL entry draft in June. The 20-year-old recorded 81 points (34-47-81) and added 132 penalty minutes in 68 games with the Rimouski Oceanic in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the 2011-12 season.
– Four players from Detroit’s “Russian Five” will be on hand when Red Wings alumni take on alumni from the Toronto Maple Leafs the day before the Winter Classic. Viacheslav Fetisov, Igor Larionov, Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Fedorov will participate in the festivities December 31 at Comerica Park in Detroit. The next day, the current Red Wings and Maple Leafs are scheduled to play at Michigan Stadium. Gary Leeman, Russ Courtnall, Bill Derlago, Bob McGill, Vincent Damphousse and Dave Ellett are joining the alumni day representing the Maple Leafs. Vladimir Konstantinov’s hockey career ended in 1997 because of injuries sustained during a limousine accident, but he will be in attendance. Vyacheslav Kozlov, who is the only member of the “Russian Five” not already on the roster, might participate in the game, but he wants to see what the KHL schedule is like first.
– The Vancouver Sun reports that Hall of Famer Mark Messier has been awarded a $6M settlement in a grievance over money he claimed he was owed by the Canucks. According to the newspaper, a decision was reached recently by New York-based arbitrator George Nicolau after meeting with both sides earlier this year. Moose signed a 5-year/$30M contract with the Canucks in 1997. According to The Sun, the dispute between Messier and the Canucks was regarding deferred money he felt was owed to him and the newspaper added that Messier had a clause in his contract that would compensate him if the franchise’s value increased over the life of his contract. Messier was signed by then-owner John McCaw, who later sold 50% of the Canucks and their arena for $150M to Aquilini Investment Group. In 2006, the Aquilinis bought the other 50% for another $150M. Messier played three seasons with the Canucks and the club exercised an option in the contract to buy him out after the 1999-2000 season. He returned to the Rangers and played four more seasons before retiring.
– The Jets announced Thursday the appointment of Larry Simmons as assistant GM. Simmons spent the 2011-12 season with the Jets as the Assistant to the General Manager, assisting GM Kevin Cheveldayoff and assistant general manager Craig Heisinger in various capacities. He remains with the Winnipeg Jets hockey franchise after spending 12 seasons with the team in Atlanta. Simmons held the position of Vice-President/Assistant General Manager with the Atlanta Thrashers beginning in 2004,and continued in the same capacity until the team’s relocation to Winnipeg in 2011. Simmons, who joined the franchise before play began in 1999, held various roles within the Hockey Operations department prior to 2004.
– South Korean weightlifter Se Jae-Hyouk suffered a dislocated his elbow during a snatch attempt at the London Olympics on Wednesday. Jae-Hyouk was competing in the men’s 77 kilogram division and the incident occurred when he attempted to lift 163 kilograms.
– WWE Studios and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment announced Wednesday that Randy Orton will star in 12 Rounds: Reloaded. The direct-to-homevideo title is the sequel to the film John Cena starred in 2009. According to WWE.com, “Orton will portray an Emergency Medical Technician who finds himself caught in a deadly 12-round game of cat and mouse with a vengeful man tied to the paramedic’s past. With little time to spare and his wife’s life hanging in the balance, the EMT must figure out why he’s been chosen to be the pawn in this maniac’s game before it’s too late.”
12 Rounds: Reloaded was written by David Benullo and will be directed by Roel Reiné (The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption and Death Race: Inferno). Production will begin September 26 in Vancouver. This is WWE Studios’ second film in a three-picture agreement with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
In late March, Orton was set to star in The Marine: Homefront for WWE Studios and Fox, but was replaced by The Miz after the companies were reminded of Orton’s dishonorable discharge from the Marines. Orton has also appeared in WWE Studios’ That’s What I Am.
– Here is the latest edition of Zack Ryder’s Z! True Long Island Story:
– Chris Masters appeared on Inside The Ropes radio Thursday night. Highlights are as follows:
How he finds Vince McMahon backstage: “He’s above and beyond everybody. Even The Hulkster. He’s the guy that put this stuff together. They’re an odd family. They are good at business. People who are business savvy tend to come off a little cold. They don’t get too close to the performers. My first meeting with him was very cool. I told him in due time, I could definitely be a huge player for WWE.”
Who came up with Masterpiece gimmick: “Dr Tom Prichard changed my name to Masters. My friend Matt Morgan and I were sitting one day and he said Masterpiece. I brought it to Jim Cornette and he ran with it, WWE ran with it. I joke that I give 10% of my salary to Matt Morgan. I’m just kidding. He always ribs that he’s responsible for it but I tell him he just had one moment of brilliance (laughs).”
On working with John Cena in 2005/06: “That guy had some heavy fists. Carlito and I used to joke around that in tag matches with Cena and HBK, we would literally rush to get to Shawn Michaels, because he wasn’t as heavy with hands and the other guy would be stuck with Cena and you’d be potato’ing each other left and right. I remember at the Elimination Chamber I felt like I was in a real shoot fight. It’s not that he’s bad, he just gets really fired up and he’s got big hands, he doesn’t realise his own strength.”
Thoughts on his TNA dark match and ending up working for Dixie: “I think there’s a good chance I’ll be working them in the future. It’s a different vibe to WWE. I like that Dixie Carter makes herself accessible to the talent. Jason Hervey came up to me after the match with a camera and just let me talk, it wasn’t some writer giving you stuff to say. There was a good reaction from the crowd. All in all it turned out as good as it could go. I’ve planted all the seed I could. It’s up to them if they want to capitalise, if not I’ll just go about my way.”
– TNA star AJ Styles says it’s time for TNA to hold a pay-per-view event from the United Kingdom, where the company has a strong following. During a recent interview with the U.K. Sun’s podcast, Styles said:
“What baffles me the most is why we haven’t run a PPV here. That’s what I want to see. And not just any PPV. I want to see Slammiversary here. I want to see Bound for Glory here. These fans, they want it – let’s give it to them. They’ll be there, they’ll watch it.”
Styles acknowledged one of the main issues with holding a pay-per-view event overseas – the time difference would require the show to take place at a very late hour, or be recorded in the afternoon (US time) and then air on tape delay:
“What’s the problem? Let’s get it done. Just tape it. You’d get it a couple of hours late (in the U.S.) but people are going to buy the PPV whether it’s taped or not. They’re going to want to see it. If it’s a money issue, then there are going to be so many people in that arena that it’s not even going to be a factor.”