Brian Burke

Is Brian Burke eyeing another draft day blockbuster?

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Yesterday, we spotlighted a pretty interesting interview an Edmonton Oilers blog did with Hockey Hall of Famer Igor Larionov.

Larionov, the agent representing OHL Sarnia draftees Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk, relayed some intel from Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, who holds the first overall pick in the upcoming draft.

From Oilers Nation:

Tambellini told me: ‘We like [Yakupov]. We want him. But we’re going to make a decision the day before the draft’. I also know the Habs want to get one of my guys – either Nail or Alex.

So do the Leafs. It is possible that the Leafs are going to trade their draft pick and get both of them. There is a possibility like that.

Nail and Alex went to New Jersey for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals. After this they met Leafs GM Brian Burke.

The idea of Burke going after Yakupov and Galchenyuk will raise eyebrows. This is the same Burke, after all, that “hijacked” the 1999 draft to get both Daniel and Henrik Sedin into Canucks uniforms.

That deal is widely considered to be one of his savviest moves — if not the savviest — as a general manager.

Here’s the blow-by-blow from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:

On the Sunday before the draft, [then-Chicago GM Bob] Murray and Burke finally reached an agreement: Vancouver would send defenceman Bryan McCabe and a first rounder in 2000 for the No. 4 selection in ’99. But Burke wouldn’t register that deal until draft day, so as not to tip off the other GMs on his plan to hijack the 1999 draft.

He then flipped that No. 4 pick and a pair of third-rounders for Tampa’s No. 1 overall pick and then – with the 1st and 3rd overall picks now in hand – Burke convinced Atlanta GM Don Waddell to accept the first overall selection for Vancouver’s No. 2, with Atlanta giving up a conditional third-rounder with the promise to lay off either of the Sedins.

The result? Atlanta took Patrick Stefan first overall, Burke took the Sedins at No. 2 and 3.

Thirteen years later, Burke comes into the 2012 draft in an eerily similar situation. He’s got the fifth overall pick rather than third, but is looking at a pair of talented teens (both Yakupov and Galchenyuk are 18) that are teammates and have an established chemistry playing together — a package deal, if you will.

That Tambellini said he’s going to wait until the day before the draft could suggest he’s waiting for a potential deal to come along. One interesting thing to note is that, while Burke had longed for the Sedins well before the ’99 Draft, the McCabe trade only occurred six days in advance.

Shock of Lightning: Stamkos will play

Steven Stamkos
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He’s in.

As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.

Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.

More:

Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.

That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.

Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.

It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.

To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.

 

Drama builds as Stamkos takes Game 7 warmup

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 26:  Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 26, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Lightning shutout the Devils 4-0.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.

In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.

And then Stamkos took the warmup.

As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.

“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”

No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.

Stay tuned…

Parise rehabbing back injury without surgery, ‘no question’ he’ll play in World Cup

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 17:  Zach Parise #11 of the Minnesota Wild skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on March 17, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Wild 7-4.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.

Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.

Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Penguins, Game 7

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Alex Killorn #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning falls to the ice at the net against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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Not much more to say than this:

GAME 7.

Puck drop is at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, but you can also catch the game online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some relevant linkage for tonight’s affair:

It’s been a ‘roller coaster’ — Pens, Bolts ready for Game 7

Vasilevskiy ‘is the big reason we’re in Game 7,’ says Bolts coach Cooper

Pens coach praises Murray: ‘He doesn’t get rattled’

Video: Johnson pays the price for Tampa Bay