But­ler hud­dles with team­mates

Chicago Sun-Times - - BY THE NUMBERS -

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.

Jimmy But­ler

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