Sports News Post ! Wrestlemania Weekend Is Here + More

WWE WrestleMania 30: Stone Cold Steve Austin to call out CM Punk in New Orleans?

Stone Cold Steve Austin has confirmed that he will appear at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, but remained coy about what role he will play.
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The wrestling legend has been trash-talking WWE absentee CM Punk on his podcast the past couple of weeks, leading to rumours he may call the former champion out at the flagship PPV.

More likely however, is that he comes out and drinks several beers in quick succession.

Here's the word from the WWE:

'The biggest WrestleMania in history just got a whole heck of a lot bigger, now that “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has confirmed he will be there! The WWE Hall of Famer revealed the huge news in an interview with TMZ. When pressed for what his role will be, The Texas Rattlesnake said the WWE Universe will have to tune in to WrestleMania this Sunday on WWE Network to find out.

Former NHL player and long-time referee Paul Stewart accused the Rangers in a Thursday post on
of being 'passive' in not responding to Burrows’ hit on McDonagh, reacting 'like they barely had a pulse.'
BY Pat Leonard

New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault yells during the third period of the Rangers' NHL hockey game against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward) JONATHAN HAYWARD/AP Rangers' Alain Vigneault says 'sometimes stuff happens' about hit that injures Ryan McDonagh.

DENVER — It won’t be long until Ryan McDonagh is back in the lineup, coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday morning at the Avalanche’s Pepsi Center, but it may be a while until the talk dies down about the Alex Burrows hit that injured the Rangers’ top defenseman Tuesday night in Vancouver.

Former NHL player and long-time referee Paul Stewart accused the Rangers in a Thursday post on of being “passive” in not responding to Burrows’ hit on McDonagh, reacting “like they barely had a pulse.” That echoed many fans’ distaste for Vigneault appearing to tell agitator Dan Carcillo on the bench Tuesday night not to retaliate.

Stewart’s assessment, though, ignored Dan Girardi’s righthanded swing to the back of Burrows’ head immediately after the hit and presumed the Blueshirts are going to let Burrows’ antics slide — which they may not.

“I think (Girardi) got in there pretty quickly, but things happen so fast on the ice sometimes,” fourth-line agitator Derek Dorsett said. “You have a split second to make a decision. Also in the last five minutes if you get an instigator penalty, it’s an automatic one-game suspension, so that goes into it. But you remember who hit him. You definitely know what player it was, and sometimes you just throw it in the memory bank for a later date.”

Could this be a clear indication that next season’s first Rangers-Canucks matchup could be an ugly one?

“They had two physical players (Burrows, who has cleaned up his act in recent years, and willing fighter Zack Kassian) going at a defenseman, going back for the puck,” Vigneault said Thursday when asked if he saw something wrong his former Vancouver player’s actions. “Sometimes stuff happens.”

The coach reserved any scathing comments for his own player, forward J.T. Miller, 21, whom he sent back to the AHL on Wednesday. Miller, the 15th pick in the 2011 draft, played in only two of four games in his latest call-up and clearly is not in good graces with his coach.

“He just hasn’t earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis,” Vigneault said. “He needs more commitment. There needs to be more commitment from his part on the ice and off the ice, and until there is, he hasn’t earned the right to be at this level on a regular basis.”

“It’s part of any young player going through the process of being an NHL player,” he continued. “You’ve got to figure it out, and hopefully he will, and when he does, we’ll have a good player, and if he doesn’t figure it out, he’ll be a good minor-leaguer.”

Miller has one more season remaining on his entry-level contract and could become a valuable trade asset this summer if the Rangers decide he won’t mature in their system.

On the other hand, Vigneault expressed confidence in — and hope for — 23-year-old defenseman John Moore, who has returned from a March 21 concussion to replace McDonagh (day-to-day, undisclosed left shoulder injury) in the final match of the Rangers’ four-game road trip.

Patrick Roy’s Avalanche entered with the seventh-best home record in the NHL (25-11-3), while the Rangers came in with the most road wins in the league (25-14-0).

The President and First Lady Welcome Team USA to the White House

his afternoon, the President and First Lady hosted members of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams at the White House, in honor of their performance in this year's Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

At an event in the East Room of the White House, the First Lady told the athletes that she was "truly amazed" by their performances in Sochi:

I am really in awe of everything you do, as so many people here in America and across the globe are. Again and again, you all showed us that being an Olympian is about heart; it’s about guts; and it’s about giving it your all no matter what stands in your way. And that’s a message that I try to convey to young people all the time — the idea that if you work hard and commit yourselves to a goal, and then pick yourself up when you fall, that there is nothing that you can’t achieve.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event to welcome United States teams and delegations from the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to the East Room of the White House, April 3, 2014.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks during an event to welcome United States teams and delegations from the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to the East Room of the White House, April 3, 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama, Jon Lujan, Paralympic Alpine skier and Marine veteran, and Julie Chu, Olympic ice hockey player, share the stage with the President. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

President Obama echoed the First Lady's remarks, saying that he and the First Lady "could not be prouder of Team USA." The President commended the athletes for their "dominating performances" in this year's Winter Games, noting the 46 medals they brought home this year.

From our ski jumpers who fought for equality, to the athletes and coaches who served our country in uniform ... these athletes all send a message that resonates far beyond the Olympic Village. And that's always been the power of the Olympics. In going for the gold and pushing yourselves to be the best, you inspire the rest of us to try to, if not be the best, at least be a little better.

"All of you remind us," the President told the athletes, "the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight."

Read the President's and the First Lady's full remarks here.

The President and First Lady, however, weren't the only ones who enjoyed today's event. Check out some of Team USA's tweets and Instagram posts from their White House visit below:

Can Houston Rockets Really Count On Jeremy Lin?

Jeremy Lin is back in the spotlight.

The question is, can the Houston Rockets trust him there?

Lin, who’s come off the bench for 36 of his 63 games, is back as a starter due to Patrick Beverley‘s torn meniscus injury. With the 49-25 Rockets fighting for playoff seeding in the Western Conference, they’re now relying on Lin to carry them from the point guard position.

So far, Houston seems to be struggling with Lin running the show. The Rockers are 1-3 in their last four games, with the only win coming against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. For this stretch, Lin is chipping in 14.0 points and 3.7 assists on just 31.7 percent shooting from the field. For the year, he averages 12.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 28.9 minutes a game.

The Rockets are currently fourth in the West, and are barely holding off the Portland Trail Blazers for home-court advantage in their likely first-round matchup.

Houston must now rely on Lin, who they’ve often bounced up and down the rotation this year, notes’s Chris Baldwin:

What’s truly bizarre is where this injury leaves the Rockets. They need to lean on Lin as their playoff lifeline after a season spent taking shots at his confidence. The way Lin’s been treated is dizzying. From starter to sixth man to . . . sometime seventh and eighth man. All the while Jeremy Lin still put up some crazily good games — rescuing the Rockets with his defense on Spurs All-Star point man Tony Parker on Christmas, popping off the bench to deliver a triple double against Cleveland, blitzing Portland for 26 points. No matter, his time would be reduced with no notice, no logic.

It’s worth noting that Lin has needed to fill in for Beverley before.

Beverly suffered a fractured hand back in late December and would go on to miss 14 games. The Rockets, led by starting point guard Lin, finished 9-5 in that stretch.

How were the Rockets still able to find success with Lin? Efficiency and defense, mainly.

Lin didn’t blow up the stat book with his scoring and assists, and he didn’t need to either.

During these 14 games, Lin averaged 12.8 points and 4.3 assists while playing excellent defense and moving the ball. His defensive rating was an impressive 101.3, down from his season average of 108. His ball-handling was also improved, as Lin’s 2.6 turnovers per game were an improvement over his overall average of 3.1.

With James Harden as a backcourt mate, Lin doesn’t need to put up the 18.2 points and 7.7 assists he did as a starter with the New York Knicks back in 2011-12. Instead, his role should be as a facilitator and defender, while doing a lot of the little things needed to help Houston win.

The Rockets have proven they can win with Lin as their starting point guard already this season.

There’s no reason to believe they can’t do it again.

Just because lmao

Why Derrick Rose turns the Bulls into championship contenders

When looking at the Chicago Bulls, fans will always bemoan the lack of offense and cheer for the great defense. Tom Thibodeau's system is set up to exaggerate the Bulls skill [for better on defense and worse on offense] on both ends of the court by running Chicago at a snail's pace.

The lack of pace is why one star player could make such a big difference for this team.

First, understand what Thibodeau is doing every game. He's slowing it down. He's making his team use a good chunk of the shot clock and his opponent's team is using a good chunk of the shot clock because the Bulls always get back on defense and play great transition defense.

Chicago rarely runs leak out plays on offense with their full team typically focusing on the rebound, and this season anyway, they've spend far more resources getting back in transition than they do crashing the offensive glass.

This isn't to say Chicago is typically horrible on the offensive glass, but one change we've seen is Jimmy Butler's offensive rebound rate nearly cut in half because his responsibility this season is to get back on defense not attack the offensive glass so much.

What the style of play does is force both teams into lower percentage offense. Both teams miss out on easy baskets in transition, both teams have to grind it out in the half court where points come less efficiently. Thibodeau is counting on his team to execute better than his opponents. He's counting on his team to be more disciplined.

The result has typically been favorable. The Bulls DO out discipline most teams. This was most glaring in the game against Houston where once Houston had to settle down and play half court offense/defense for 24 seconds every possession they just looked completely out-schemed by Chicago.

The Bulls cans still [and frequently do] get blown up by superior talent or a lack of shooting from their players. Chicago typically does a nice job finding open looks for itself eventually, but it frequently lacks the shooting touch to finish them off as many of those looks are perimeter looks.

Why Derrick Rose elevated the offense

When the Bulls had Rose they played at the same pace and had the same style of half court game, so why was the Bulls offense so much better despite playing a style that yielded low offense? There were a couple reasons.

First, Derrick Rose was a one man fast break.

While the Bulls wouldn't push the tempo and get into a running game, Derrick Rose could initiate a running game and a fast break offense on his own. If he didn't beat everyone back for an easy basket then Chicago could slow the offense down. If he shot and missed, the Bulls transition defense typically wasn't hurt because everyone else could get back.

Derrick Rose allowed the Bulls to selectively run while still positioning their defense to stop opponents from running. This gave them some of the benefits of a faster pace of play without some of the deficit.

Next, when the shot clock's winding down, you need a guy who can make tough shots or create something out of nothing.

Derrick Rose didn't have the best FG% of the various superstars in the league, but like anyone who wears the superstar mantle, he could create something out of nothing with some consistency.

The Bulls will run their offensive system to exhaustion now, they frequently open jump shots out of it, but with Derrick Rose the got a lot more action at the hoop out of it because he could break guys down off the dribble.

Also, when Chicago runs their offense for 15 seconds without getting much going on, they could simply dump the ball to Rose and allow him to create in isolation where he might get a lower percentage shot than we'd like, but a much higher percentage one than the Bulls are getting now with the present roster doing the same thing.

How would another star fit in this system?

Carmelo Anthony will certainly bring the second of these traits. He'll probably be even better at it than Derrick Rose. He won't give the Bulls much in the way of the first, but that's probably okay. Particularly if Rose comes back and plays well also.

For Chicago, to have multiple players who can hit tough shots and generate open looks, it would revolutionize their offense. Prior to Rose's ACL injury, the Bulls were ranked fifth in offensive rating and second in defensive rating. Those are the numbers of a legitimate championship contender. That team still only had one star on offense and played much of the season without Rose.

This season up, the Bulls have plenty of interesting options open to them. There's the chance they could land Anthony, the opportunity to trade for another star player, the hope that Mirotic is the real deal, and a couple draft picks in a deep draft.

Whatever the Bulls make of this season's opportunity, they'll need to hope that Derrick comes back to play like he did prior to the ACL injury, something he hasn't proven he can do yet but was trending in the right direction prior to tearing his meniscus.

Chicago's not a championship contender this year, but they're almost certainly going to improve on last year's win total. This team, which might be a 50 win team still, could add Derrick Rose, Nikola Mirotic, and two 1st rounders in a deep class while subtracting just Carlos Boozer. And that's the worst case scenario.

PHOTO: Red Sox fan mocks Jacoby Ellsbury, can't spell

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Via Deadspin comes the following photographic image, which is a of a board-certified member of Red Sox Nation attempting to taunt Jacoby Ellsbury for his signing with the Yankees this past offseason. Let's allow said photographic image to do the garbled talking ...

On the proclamation you see above, which doubles as a slogan that can be shouted in the streets, there are but three words that span longer than two letters. Of those three words, two are spelled incorrectly and or misused. As a flourish, this happened at a Yankees-Astros game ... in Houston.

The oblivious sense of agency that the sign's author and finisher seems to take in her work is almost adorable. Almost.

Speculating on a Potential Batista Face Turn After WWE WrestleMania 30

Batista has quickly become one of the most hated Superstars in WWE. From the moment that he returned to the company back in January, The Animal has struggled to get over. Call it bad timing, call it poor booking, the fact is that Batista turned heel because WWE likely just did not have any other choice.

But the more time goes on, the more opportunities there are for WWE to turn it around for Batista. In fact after WrestleMania 30, everything could change for The Animal as he could very well turn babyface once again.

As recently as just a few weeks ago, it seemed highly unlikely that WWE could even hope to salvage Batista's run and find a way to transform him back into a protagonist. After all, it was on the February 28 edition of Friday Night SmackDown that Batista addressed the hate that he had been receiving since his return.

Batista finally had the chance to cut loose, to air his grievances for the world to hear. He didn't have to hold back or try and maintain the very weak crowd reaction he had been dealing with since he came back. This was a statement by WWE that they had recognized any chance to present The Animal as anything other than a heel had come and gone.

However the tide seems to be changing. Much of this is thanks in large part to Batista's spot in the upcoming WWE World Championship match at WrestleMania 30.

The fact is that he and Orton have a huge history dating back to their days in Evolution. And considering that Triple H has been directly involved in the angle from day one, it would have been very easy to just turn Batista heel and leave him that way. There was no reason to feature Batista as a neutral Superstar, much less a babyface.

But Batista has maintained from day one that he only returned for the WWE world title. He has had no allegiances to his former mentor Triple H and there is obviously no love lost between him and Orton. Instead of aligning himself with The Authority or with any other heels in the company, Batista has remained his own man.

And that is perhaps beginning to make a difference for his character.

The moment that could be considered the first sign of a very subtle change was the night that Batista verbally insulted Stephanie McMahon in the middle of the ring. His words and the slap that followed garnered more reaction for him than perhaps at any other time since he came back to WWE.

And on the following week's Monday Night Raw, Batista confronted Triple H and Stephanie in the ring. This time, he reminded The Game that of all his past opponents, he had never beaten The Animal. And instead of verbally assaulting crowd favorite Daniel Bryan; Batista seemed much more concerned with Triple H himself.

All of that combined with the fact that he has not consistently worked like a heel in the ring and suddenly it seems entirely possible that WWE may not have given up on Batista as a top protagonist.

The truth is that Batista is a very likable character at his core. He had a way of connecting with the WWE faithful in the past, and if he can manage to do it again then fans could find themselves cheering for the man they hated just weeks earlier.

While it may seem like a chore to turn Batista yet again, the truth is that all he needs is to show a little respect. And he could learn that respect from working with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 30.

Up to this point, Batista has had nothing but insults and criticisms to throw at Daniel. And tough they have not had a real physical rivalry; the fact is that if Bryan defeats Hunter at WrestleMania then the WWE world title match will become a triple threat. And that means that Daniel will be added to the main event between Batista and Orton.

Could Batista have a babyface run after WrestleMania 30?
Believe it Forget it Submit Vote vote to see results

From a storyline perspective, it's very easy for Batista's character to stand back and hate on someone he has never worked. All Batista sees is a small man, a wannabe that is pretending to be a WWE Superstar. He's a minor league player swinging for the fences in the big leagues. And he's missing.

But assuming Daniel makes it to the WrestleMania main event match and wins it, everything could change. And that change could happen on the following Monday Night Raw.

All Batista would need to do is come out and cut a promo; one promo to say that he was wrong about Daniel Bryan. He could even interrupt Daniel's title win celebration to publicly congratulate him and show the respect that many fans already feel he deserves. It may not be instant acceptance for fans but it would go a long way to perhaps changing their minds about him.

From that point on, Batista could potentially set his sights on Triple H. There seems to still be bad blood between them and that would need to be resolved at some point. Going after Triple H could possibly put Batista back on the right path and their match could take place at Extreme Rules in May.

The fact is that Batista will likely be involved with WWE at least through the fall. The reason for that is due to his new movie, Marvel Comics' Guardians of the Galaxy, out on August 1 of this year. WWE will likely promote the film, as one of their own will be featured in the main cast.

Batista does not necessarily have to be a babyface when the move is released in order to gain positive press but if he was, it could be even more beneficial for him and WWE.

Batista may have returned to a weak reception that forced WWE to turn him heel but since then, there have been a few moments of hope to get him back on track as a face. Those moments came at the expense of both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and may be the key to turning Batista back as a top protagonist.

All he needs is more of the same and more time, to make it happen. The only question is will it happen?

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TYFYT ONTD ! Happy Friday !!!