Joe Thornton

Series at a glance: St. Louis-San Jose playoff preview

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Schedule

All times are Eastern.

* – if necessary

Thursday April 12 in St. Louis @ 7:30 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
Saturday April 14 in St. Louis @ 7:30 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
Monday April 16 in San Jose @ 10 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
Thursday April 19 in San Jose @ 10:30 p.m. (NBC Sports Network, TSN)
*Saturday April 21 in St. Louis @ 7:30 p.m. (CNBC, TSN)
*Monday April 23 in San Jose @ TBD (TBD)
*Wednesday April 25 in St. Louis @ TBD (TBD)

Three storylines to follow

1. How will the St. Louis Blues handle their goaltending situation? Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott have both been dominant this season and either one might end up being the team’s starter. Do they go with Halak, who has already proven himself in the playoffs, or Elliott, who just set the NHL’s modern-era GAA record? Or, do they try something entirely different and continue to alternate goaltenders in the playoffs?

2. San Jose’s triple threat. Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, and Patrick Marleau all finished the season with at least 30 goals. Throw in Joe Thornton’s play-making abilities and Martin Havlat, who’s back after missing half the season with a hamstring injury, and the Sharks have two intimidating scoring lines. That being said…

3. Can San Jose overcome their regular-season struggles against St. Louis? The Blues have held the Sharks to just three goals over four games. St. Louis is also the only team that has a perfect 2011-12 record against its first-round opponent.

Records

St. Louis: 49-22-11, 109 points (1st in Central; 2nd in Western Conference) | San Jose: 43-29-10, 96 points (2nd in Pacific; 7th in Western Conference)

Leading scorers

St. Louis: David Backes (24G-30A-54PTS) | San Jose: Joe Thornton (18G-59A-77PTS)

Starting goalies

St. Louis: Jaroslav Halak (26-12-7, 1.97 GAA) | San Jose: Antti Niemi (34-22-9, 2.42 GAA)

Head-to-head

St. Louis won series 4-0
Oct. 15: St. Louis 4, at San Jose 2
Dec. 10: At St. Louis 1, San Jose 0
Feb. 12: At St. Louis 3, San Jose 0
March 3: St. Louis 3, at San Jose 1

Last 10 games

St. Louis: 4-3-3 | San Jose: 7-3-0

Playoff history

San Jose leads 2-1
2000: San Jose 4-3 (Western Conference quarterfinals)
2001: St. Louis 4-2 (Western Conference quarterfinals)
2004: San Jose 4-1 (Western Conference quarterfinals)

Stanley Cups

St. Louis: None | San Jose: None

Injuries

St. Louis: None

San Jose: Torrey Mitchell (upper body)

NHLPA hire Bruce Meyer brings a ‘wealth of knowledge,’ says Fehr

Donald Fehr
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Bruce Meyer’s résumé of victories as a lawyer is a long and impressive one, and he has now joined the NHL Players’ Association as a senior director of collective bargaining, policy and legal, the union announced Thursday.

During his tenure of more than 25 years at the law firm Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP, Meyer represented the NHLPA, NFLPA and NBPA.

The NHLPA said in a statement that in his new position, Meyer “will focus on a wide array of policy and legal issues.”

In working for those unions, he was involved in matters such as collective bargaining and arbitration, as per his online profile.

“Bruce will be a great addition to the NHLPA’s staff. He brings a wealth of knowledge to this new role coming from his law firm where he gained three decades’ worth of valuable experience, including effectively representing the NHLPA and other Players’ Associations as outside counsel,” said NHLPA executive director Don Fehr in a statement.

The NHLPA said Meyer will begin at his new position in mid-August.

The news of this hire comes more than a month after the league sued the NHLPA after Dennis Wideman‘s 20-game suspension for hitting linesman Don Henderson was reduced to 10 games by a neutral arbitrator.

Related: Report: NHL dismisses neutral arbitrator who reduced Wideman’s suspension

Sweet ride: Blackhawks sponsor CJ Wilson Racing’s Porsche Cayman at Road America

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CJ Wilson Racing
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Chicago Blackhawks fans, start your engines!

Yes, according to MotorSportsTalk, the Blackhawks have become the main sponsor of CJ Wilson Racing’s No. 35 car, a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport, for the upcoming IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge event at Road America next month.

That’s a sweet ride.

From MotorSportsTalk:

The partnership will officially launch at the United Center on Wednesday, August 3, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m in advance of Saturday’s race. Fans will have the opportunity to get up close to the car, meet the drivers and Blackhawks Ambassador Denis Savard, and have their picture taken.

The race takes place Aug. 6 at Road America in Wisconsin.

Third team’s the charm? Devils ink Gormley to one-year, two-way deal

<>during the first period at TD Garden on November 12, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Since being selected by the Coyotes at 13th overall in the 2010 NHL Draft, Brandon Gormley has had a difficult time breaking into the league on a full-time basis.

On Thursday, the 24-year-old Gormley joined his third NHL team, signing with the New Jersey Devils on a one-year, two-way deal worth $650,000 at the NHL level, the club announced.

Despite his draft status, Gormley has yet to play a full season in the big league, although this deal could give him an opportunity to end that. For the Devils, the deal adds more depth to the blue line in the organization and for a friendly price.

Last season, Gormley split time between the Colorado Avalanche and its farm team, the San Antonio Rampage. Despite some high expectations about where he could fit on the Avs’ blue line, he was eventually put on waivers in January.

He ended the season with one assist in 26 games with the Avalanche, and hit the open market after Colorado didn’t give him a qualifying offer.

Wild sign Dumba to two-year, $5.1M deal

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After ongoing contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and restricted free agent defenseman Matt Dumba, the two sides have come to a deal.

The Wild announced Thursday that they had signed Dumba to a two-year deal, worth a total value of $5.1 million.

A breakdown of the new deal:

— In 2016-17: $2.35 million.

— In 2017-18: $2.75 million.

Selected seventh overall by the Wild in 2012, Dumba had his most productive campaign this past season, with 10 goals and 26 points in 81 games.

Known for his offensive skills — he had 20 goals and 57 points with Red Deer in the WHL in his draft year — Dumba also brings a coveted right-shot to the Wild blue line, which features four players with contracts of four or more years of term remaining.

As per General Fanager, the Wild still have $2.168 million in projected cap space, but they have secured all their remaining restricted free agents.