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On location: NHL Entry Draft, Day 1, Penguins trade Neal

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

PHILADELPHIA – Looking ahead to the Panthers being on the clock

Event: NHL Entry Draft, Round 1

Time: 7 p.m.

Site: Wells Fargo Center

TV: NBC Sports Network (national), TSN (Canada), RDS (Quebec)

Penguins’ pick: 22

Here’s the NHL Entry Draft 2014 official page on

Here’s TribLIVE’s Penguins page and our Chipped Ice blog. Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe and I are on the scene.

UPDATE 4:47 p.m.: Here’s the scene right now as front-office types head toward the 30 tables:


5:08: Bad news for the Penguins already. The NHL and NHLPA just jointly announced the salary cap for 2014-15 will be $69 million, well below some expectations. The current payroll is $55 million for 14 players signed to date. That’s an ouch.

5:55: The Penguins don’t have a trade in line for the 22nd pick, at least not at the moment. They’ve listened to offers. Their scouts have a handful of players they’ve identified for the No. 22 spot, but it’s impossible to even guess at who they might be.

6:54: Leave it to Flyers fans to start a new draft tradition and yell ‘SUCKS!’ after each team is announced. Just wait for Pittsburgh.

6:57: Ha! Well, they at least get credit for making the Penguins feel special. They bypassed the sucks and wait straight for passionate booing.

7:17: Man, I’ve seen Gary Bettman booed, including in Pittsburgh. Never like this. They aren’t letting the man speak. Incredible scene.

7:18: I’m actually enjoying the hell out of this. I’d almost forgotten where I was. Never change, Philly. Never change.

7:20: And the Panthers select — amid a cascade of continuing boos — defenseman Aaron Ekblad of Barrie (OHL) with No. 1 overall pick.

7:22: Give the Philadelphians a break, everyone: They haven’t seen an actual hockey event in June in, what, 40 years?

7:39: Much activity at Penguins table, and it’s unusual to say the least. Rutherford in intense talks with David Morehouse and … Ron Burkle? Yes, Burkle is seated right at the table corner, by the GM. Wow.

7:51: Rutherford’s back. Apparently had some communication with Colorado. Not that this would necessarily support that, but Rutherford also was in a long talk with Patrick Roy a half-hour before draft began.

7:58: Now Winnipeg comes up. Of course it does.

8:03: Whoa. Leafs just drafted the lead singer for Flock of Seagulls.

8:06: James Neal to Nashville, hearing.

8:08: Confirmed: Neal to Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. Both are wingers. Have to rewrite column completely. Gotta go from here. Sorry.

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Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.

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