Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Thursday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the New York area teams on ice.
After spending the past two seasons as the Islanders beat writer for Newsday, Strang joins ESPNNewYork.com to cover the Rangers, Isles and Devils. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (4:01 PM)
Hey everyone. Happy Playoffs! Great way to kick off the action last night. Hope tonight can follow suit. Go ahead and fire away!
Matt (New York)
How did Kreider look in practice? Think he will get any run during the playoffs?
Katie Strang (4:02 PM)
Like your eagerness Matt, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Kid just got here. Will take a while to acclimate and learn the system/structure. May seem him later in the series -- sooner if the Rangers suffer an injury -- but don't expect Tortorella to change the lineup if things are going well.
Matt (Sandusky, OH)
Since Columbus lost the top pick in the Draft Lottery due to an upset by Edmonton last night, which term best describes the current state of the Blue Jackets...unlucky or defeated?
Katie Strang (4:04 PM)
Man, probably a little of both. Maybe add in beleaguered for good measure. There does seem to be less appeal for the top pick in this draft however. Yakupov is the consensus No. 1 and, as opposed to previous drafts when teams were unwilling to give it up, teams seem much more open to swapping the pick. Columbus may have parted with the pick, regardless.
Jon (New York)
Whatever happened to the LA King who knocked the puck off an opponent's stick in the last week of the season while sitting on the bench? Surely that is worth a fine, if not a suspension.
Katie Strang (4:06 PM)
Ryane Clowe? Nothing. League chalked it up to a "missed call." Sound familiar. Sort of like that Briere goal last night...Clowe did admit, however, that he got away with one.
Did Shanny miss the boat not suspending Weber?
Katie Strang (4:09 PM)
Absolutely. I find it pretty disgraceful that they'd allow such an egregious offense to get by with a mere $2,500 fine. I don't mean to rile up the Pro-Penguins conspiracy theorists, but can you even imagine what would've happened to Weber had he slammed Sidney Crosby's head into the turnbuckle? Unbelievable. Luckily for Detroit, Zetterberg appears to be fine. The same cannot be said for Darren Helm, who was forced from last night's game with a wrist injury. Reports today are that he is done for the playoffs
Rich (in Florida)
As the playoffs start I know its hard to repeat, so I like the Rangers coming out of the East. The West a lot worthy teams but I like the Canucks or the Blues. Who do you see for the finals and who are your surprise teams to watch out for?
Katie Strang (4:11 PM)
Team to watch out for in the East: Devils. Would not be shocked to see them make the Eastern Conference finals.Team to watch out for in the West: Nashville Predators. Sounded like it was an incredible atmosphere down there in Music City last night. Should be a terrific series.
Brian (New Jersey)
Do you think that Islanders will go for a defenseman or forward in the draft? I think they should try to get Dumba from the Red Deer Rebels
Katie Strang (4:12 PM)
Brian, you are in good company. Former NHL scout and ESPN Insider contributor Grant Sonier agrees. Check out his analysis: http://espn.go.com/blog/new-york/hockey/post/_/id/8361/mock-draft-islanders-on-a-d-man
Brian (New Brunswick)
Do you think that Kreider has what it takes to be able just to jump right into the NHL playoffs
Katie Strang (4:15 PM)
Talked to a former NHL scout (now working in college hockey) Tuesday about this. This is a person that has watched Kreider play for three years at BC and he raved about him. Said his speed presents such a difficult challenge to any opponent because it forces them outside of their comfort zone. And even though Kreider is inexperienced from an NHL perspective, he's a worthwhile gamble. Even if he makes an impact in one game, that could be enough to tilt a series. As he said: "I'd want him in my arsenal."
Is Jonathan Toews healthy for the playoffs and will the Hawks beat the Coyotes in the series?
Katie Strang (4:16 PM)
Good news, Sergei: Jonathan Toews is expected to return to the lineup tonight against Phoenix after missing the last 22 games with a concussion.
The Flyers have the Penguins number. No matter how many goals they are down they can come back. How come the Penguins don't see that and keep pushing when they get the lead? Even when playing to protect the lead the Penguins defense was horrible in the second and third.
Katie Strang (4:19 PM)
Shawn- You are indeed correct. The Flyers have been remarkably resilient in erasing the Penguins' leads this year and last night was their most stunning comeback yet. That one is really going to sting for Pittsburgh. Might dramatically shift the series. Pens really struggled after building the lead. Team is going to need better from Letang, Malkin if they are going to live up to the Eastern Conference favorites.
Andre (Plandome, NY)
Hi Katie,Do you see the Islanders taking defenseman Ryan Murray or Matthew Dumba. Either would be a great pick. No more forwards. Islanders are stacked at forwards and can't seem to parlay those prospects into a top 4 defenseman or blue chip defense prospect. Murray could step in play next year as I dont see the Islanders being able to acquire a top 4 defenseman either through free agency. Also does PA come back or does he test the market. If he tests the market, he is gone.
Katie Strang (4:23 PM)
Gonna answer that last potion of the question, Andre. No, I do not think PA returns. Parenteau is a guy that wants to come back and sign with the Islanders, but GM Garth Snow seems unwilling to concede that the former AHL'er has earned himself a significant payday. Surely Snow is bristling at the idea of paying Parenteau more than Moulson -- I can understand that -- but guess what? Players don't want to sign on LI and this is a player that has proven himself on the top line and forged chemistry with the club's superstar. They are going to have to get to the cap floor anyway. Parenteau will get his $4 million/year; I just don't think it will be with the Isles
How good could the Rangers be next season with all the talented young they could have with young NHL experience? Callahan-Dubsinky-Kreider-Hagelin-McIlrath-Anisimov-Boyle, etc.
Katie Strang (4:25 PM)
As promising as the playoffs have to be for Rangers, I think it is wise to think of the future. The team has exceeded expectations and made tremendous strides, and while I don't think they are equipped to contend for the Cup as currently comprised, I believe they are one piece away. Expect them to go hard after one of the following four players this off-season, either via trade or free agency: Zach Parise, Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, Rick Nash
Rangers are a horrible #1 seed. We will be them in 4 games for the upset right?
Katie Strang (4:27 PM)
Definitely don't see a sweep from either team. I DO think the Senators will give the Rangers trouble, but I think new York prevents the upset. Why? Henrik Lundqvist. Craig Anderson boasts a pretty impressive 7-3-1 record against the Rangers, but Lundqvist definitely gives the Blueshirts a significant advantage
The NHL needs to stop punishing the results and rather the intent. Just like Duncan Keith was suspended for his intent to injure Sedin, Weber should have been suspended for his intent. Zetterberg said today that his helmet was cracked in three places. I don't think Weber is dirty, but that deserved at least a 1 game suspension. And how did he avoid a misconduct penalty?
Katie Strang (4:28 PM)
I agree with every aspect of this argument, Tom. Dead on.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Besides the New York Rangers, what other New York City Area Team are in the Playoffs this Season?
Katie Strang (4:29 PM)
C'mon...you know the answer to that: the New Jersey Devils. The one team without home-ice advantage that, I think, will actually be favored to win the series. Would be surprised if they cannot take the Panthers in seven. Expecting a Rangers-Devils second-round series
Mike (New Jersey)
I have the Kings winning the first round in bracket challenge on nhl.com and obviously they won last night i believe in Quick. I think he is up there with Rinne and Lundqvist for best goalie in the league and i think that if the forwards come together they could go for the cup as an 8 seed do you agree?
Katie Strang (4:31 PM)
I'm not willing to get behind the Cup prediction, but what a remarkable upset that would be....Vancouver did not look great last night and without Sedin (well, one of them at least), the series definitely looks a little different.
Katie Strang (4:33 PM)
That's my cue, folks. Been a good chat today. Join me next week for more playoff predictions, match-up questions, and heated hockey banter. Enjoy tonight!