Mottau signs with AHL's San Antonio Rampage

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Mottau signs with AHL's San Antonio Rampage

Mike Mottau had been a regular participant in the informal NHL skates in Boston over the last three months, and continues to hope that a slot will open up for him once the lockout is over. The 34-year-old Mottau had some offers to play in Europe over the summer if he committed to the entire season, but the veteran defenseman held out hope on a couple of things: the NHL work stoppage wouldnt be a long one and that perhaps there would be a chance to re-sign with the Bruins.

But neither of those things appear realistic now with the lockout rolling right into December, and Mottau confirmed to CSNNE.com that he signed a veteran tryout agreement with the AHLs San Antonio Rampage. The former Hobey Baker Award winner at Boston College signed with the Florida Panthers farm team in the hopes of getting in game shape once the lockout is over.

Perhaps that will be soon, and perhaps it wont. But Mottau left for San Antonio on Wednesday and will start playing in games after skating with Shawn Thornton, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and others for weeks in the Boston area.

I think I would be more valuable to a team if Im in game shape once the lockout gets settled, said Mottau.

That makes a lot of sense for the former Devils, Islanders and Bruins defenseman after he finished with a pair of assists and finished with a minus-11 rating in 36 games for the Isles and Bs last season. There should be room on an NHL roster for a dependable defenseman like Mottau, particularly if a lowered salary cap becomes an issue that teams are grappling with courtesy of any future CBA.

That would be the best outcome for a veteran like Mottau that was caught in a tough spot by the timing of the NHL lockout, but still has plenty to offer the right NHL team as a bottom-pairing defenseman at an affordable price.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)