HOCKEY

NHL suspends Marchand five games for elbowing

The NHL suspended Boston forward Brad Marchand five games without pay Wednesday for elbowing New Jersey’s Marcus Johansson in the head during the Bruins’ win over the Devils Tuesday night.

In announcing the suspension, the league’s department of player safety ruled Marchand’s hit was not defensive or accidental.

The Bruins’ star has previously been suspended five times in his nine-year career. He will forfeit $373,475.60 in salary.

Marchand will miss Boston’s game at Ottawa on Thursday night, the Bruins’ last game before this weekend’s All-Star game.

He will also be out for home games against Anaheim, St. Louis and Toronto, and a road game at Detroit. Marchand will be eligible to return when Boston visits the New York Rangers on Feb. 7.

San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton will likely miss several weeks with an injury to his right knee.

The Columbus Blue Jackets signed forward Nathan Gerbe to a one-year, two-way contract. Gerbe, 30, last played in the NHL during the 2015-16 season, when he was with Carolina. He has played the last two seasons in Switzerland.

OLYMPICS

RUSSIA: The Kremlin dismissed talk of an Olympic boycott despite some of Russia’s top athletes being barred from competing at the PyeongChang Games.

Several of the country’s top medal hopes, including six-time short-track speed skating gold medalist Viktor Ahn, were barred from next month’s games amid the country’s ongoing doping scandal, which has already forced Russia to compete under a neutral flag.

Asked whether the Kremlin might consider a boycott in light of the new restrictions, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said “right now it is important to avoid words like ‘boycott.”‘

U.S. SKI TEAM: Past Olympic medalists Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin, Ted Ligety and Andrew Weibrecht are among the 22 ski racers named to the U.S. Alpine team.

The Olympics open Feb. 9 in South Korea.

NORWEGIAN CROSS COUNTRY: Two-time gold medalist Petter Northug has failed to qualify for Norway’s Olympic team.

Tore Ovrebo, head of sports at Norway’s Olympic committee, says the 32-year-old Northug had not done well in recent competitions and also had been ill.

At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Northug won two gold, one silver and one bronze medal. He added two team bronze medals four years later in Sochi.

TENNIS

BNP PARIBAS OPEN: Serena Williams plans to return to tournament play after the birth of her first child in March in the Southern California desert.

Williams was among the entries released for the BNP Paribas Open, which runs March 5-18 at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

HALL OF FAME: Michael Stich and Helena Sukova were elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony is scheduled for July 21.

BASEBALL

MAJORS: Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Glen Perkins has confirmed his expected retirement, ending a 12-year major league career with 120 saves.

The Royals signed former Blue Jays infielder Ryan Goins, 29, to a minor league contract that includes an invitation to big league spring training.

Goins set career highs with 21 doubles, nine homers and 62 RBI last season.