Butler huddles with teammates
Jimmy Butler reportedly held what he described as a players-only meeting with his Minnesota Timberwolves teammates Thursday, a day after he reported to the team for a first, contentious practice.
Butler said he reiterated to players in the meeting that his issues were with management and not his teammates.
But at least one member of the Timberwolves disputed that it was a players-only meeting. Guard Jeff Teague, in his second year with the team, tweeted “it wasn’t no players meeting,” after the first reports surfaced.
♦ LeBron James’ first game with the Los Angeles Lakers against the Golden State Warriors was ESPN’s most-watched preseason game ever. The game on Wednesday night in Las Vegas was seen by 1.98 million viewers.
Penguins’ Kessel rings up natural hat trick
Phil Kessel scored a natural hat trick and the host Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Vegas Golden Knights 4-2. The Golden Knights scored the first goal of the game, and Kessel had the next three — with the final two coming on second-period breakaways. It was Kessel’s sixth career hat trick and first in four seasons with the Penguins.
♦ David Perron scored his fourth career hat trick, Alexander Steen had a goal and an assist and Brayden Schenn had three assists as the host St. Louis Blues won for the first time this season, beating the Calgary Flames 5-3. Jake Allen made 31 saves for the Blues, who visit the Blackhawks on Saturday.
♦ Nashville Predators forward Austin Watson’s suspension for domestic abuse was reduced from 27 games to 18 by an arbitrator. Watson pleaded no contest in July to a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident in June, and the NHL found Watson engaged in unacceptable off-ice conduct.
Veteran Wainwright stays put with Cardinals
The St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a one-year deal with 37-year-old right-hander Adam Wainwright, bringing him back to the only major-league team he has pitched for. He made just eight starts this season because of hamstring and elbow problems, going 2-4 with a 4.46 ERA.
♦ Detroit Tigers right-hander Jordan Zimmermann and outfielder Christin Stewart had core muscle repair surgery but are expected to be ready for spring training.
♦ Giants bench coach Hensley Meulens has interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds for their open managerial position and is set to meet with the Minnesota Twins for their job.