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.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.