Bad blood lingers between B's and Stars

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Bad blood lingers between B's and Stars

GLENDALE, AZ. --- It goes without saying that a game between the Bruins and
Dallas Stars has become synonymous with fireworks and fisticuffs.

Three years ago, an early season meeting of the B's and Stars at TD Garden turned into
an all-our war against Sean Avery and Steve Ott. The hate-filled 60 minutes also featured Shane Hnidys most memorable moment as a Bs player as he tuned up Matti
Niskanen during a line brawl on the ice, and Marc Savard throwing punches at Avery in
defense of a young Milan Lucic.

That game really ushered in the Bs current team personality as a club not to be
trifled with, and handed the current cast of Bruins players their first evidence that dialing
up the physicality brings out the best in them.

Last season, when the B's were accused in some circles of notplaying with enough heart, toughness or chutzpah, they engaged in three fights withinthe first four seconds of a game against the Stars.

Gregory Campbell and Ott -- who had taken a run at Campbell during Campbell's days with the Florida Panthers -- renewed pleasantries, but it didnt stop there.

Shawn Thornton dropped the gloves with Krys Barch and busted up the then-Dallas
enforcers face with a punishing right hand. And Adam McQuaid crushed Brian
Sutherby in the third bout.

Andrew Ference and Adam Burish followed up with another fight four minutes
later, and once again the Bruins and Stars had renewed a unique bad blood relationship.

Its rare that kind of hatred crosses over to the opposite conference, but thats what has
happened in Dallas and Boston.

It doesnt seem to matter that the two teams only play once a season, and the expectation
is Saturday night could be another bloodbath.

Another ode to Slap Shot is not what Claude Julien is thinking, however.

With some of the old Stars players no longer in Dallas and new coach Glenn Gulutzan
in place, the Bs coach doesnt think the Stars will be pulling any shenanigans. But then
again the Stars still have the agitating Ott on their roster, and wont be shying away from
things should they get a little nasty on the ice.

It doesnt matter. They have a different coach and different players, and they probably
have a different approach, said Julien. Were going to go in there and play our game.

"And what youve seen over the years is that whatever they throw at us, were going to be
ready for.

The other factor in this years BruinsStars matchup: it will be Michael Ryders first
game against his former team. Ryder leads the Stars with 14 goals scored this season
and has been reunited with his old buddy from Montreal, Mike Ribeiro, in Dallas. The
reunion has brought the best out of both players, and theres also Ryders history of
playing well against his former team, the Habs, during his years in Boston.

In other words, a highly talented player that sometimes struggles to maintain focus and
motivation gets up for games against former teams. There should be a little extra for
Ryder against a Bruins team that didnt bring him back after he helped win a Cup in
Boston.

Hes a good man and hes having some success playing with his old liney Mike
Ribeiro, said Thornton, who formed a solid friendship with Ryder during their
time in Boston. He was a good guy, good teammates and obviously he helped us get a
ring so Im happy for him having some success there.

But certainly not too much success for Ryder against the Bruins on Saturday night if
Thornton has his way

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)