No suspension for Evgeni Malkin

600448.jpg

No suspension for Evgeni Malkin

TAMPA Evgeni Malkin wont be receiving any further scrutiny from the NHL after his boarding hit on Johnny Boychuk in the third period of Bostons Sunday afternoon loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

There will be no hearing and no supplemental discipline from Brendan Shanahan and the Department of Player Safety for Malkin, and there wasnt much expectation from the Bruins that it would amount to anything. Boychuk exited to the dressing room briefly following the hit to have his nose checked out after his face was plastered into the boards, but he finished up the third period.

So there was no injury.

It also appeared that Boychuk might have slightly turned away from Malkin just before contact was made on the hit, and Malkin has no prior history of borderline hits with the league. Above and beyond that theres also the perceived superstar treatment from the league: it oft-times takes something far above and beyond the pale from one of the leagues top players to merit a fine, hearing or suspension.

Bruins coach Claude Julien casually referenced that following Sunday afternoons loss while also acknowledging the difficulty of Shanahans job parsing through each and every controversial hit at the league offices.

Theyre the ones that make those decisions. We dont like those hits. My job is tough enough as it is, said Julien. I dont want to do his because Shanahans job is tough as well. Well let him do his job and Ill do mine. Well move on. Youve just got to look at it that way.

For different reasons they make their assessments and decide. We as coaches have to do our jobs and work with the guys we have. Worrying about a Malkin suspension is wasting a lot of time because it doesnt change anything on our team.

The best news for the Bruins: Boychuk took a pretty healthy face-plant into the boards and walked away from it just a couple of weeks after suffering a mild concussion stemming from a Chris Neil steam-roller hit.

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

new-england-patriots-helmets-121215_0.jpg

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)