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Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: A draft through Downtown

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Brief and to the Point …

>> The Friday column is about Jordan Staal. Had something else ready on the eve of the NHL Draft, but it’ll have to run some other day. This news was a little too significant.

>> Here is that Staal news coverage, by Josh Yohe and Rob Rossi.

>> I’ll pose it to you: What’s the scenario in which Staal stays?

>> I’ve always enjoyed the NHL Draft, its setup, its fanfare, the prospects right out there in the seats with their suits and ties and nail-biting parents and siblings. Often makes for terrific theater. Especially in the later rounds, when kids have heard hundreds of names go by until theirs finally comes. Those of you diehards heading over to Consol not tonight but tomorrow will see what I mean.

Tonight’s questions:

Will the Oilers take fire-breathing winger Nail Yakupov — pictured up there atop Mount Washington a couple days ago — at No. 1 or punt down if someone gives them the elite defenseman they’ve needed for a really long time?

Check out what GM Steve Tambellini had to say to Edmonton reporters in a Downtown hotel yesterday, and you’ll get the idea he’d like to trade down just a little and get D-man Ryan Murray. We’ll see.

And what of Rick Nash?

The people with whom I spoke in Vegas sounded close to certain the Blue Jackets finally will move their franchise piece, which I find surprising in light of free agency being just around the corner. Teams would much rather give up money than hockey commodities. And they surely would have offered more at the deadline. We’ll see on this one.

This much seems certain: The Jackets have the No. 2 pick, and Scott Howson told Columbus reporters he has no intention of taking No. 1.

For those planning on following the draft intently, there’s never a better resource annually than the NHL’s official pool from its Central Scouting Bureau. They’ve even got video clips.

>> James McDonald’s complete-game gem — the highlight of which had to be how McDonald came off the field following the eighth, then hurried to the end of the dugout opposite Clint Hurdle – just has to be enough to get him into the All-Star Game. Not by itself, of course. But his overall statistical rankings are just too much to ignore.

>> If you haven’t seen Pedro Alvarez’s home run, stop, point, click.

>> Yet another promising debut from one of the Big Three pitching prospects: Luis Heredia made it look pretty easy in State College.

Oh, and feel free to come up with a better nickname than Big Three for these guys. To be honest, I cringe every time I type it. Terribly unoriginal.

>> The rescheduled chat will be today at noon. You can submit questions right away.

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