Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the latest news from around ice.
In addition to covering the NHL as a whole, Strang, who previously covered the Islanders for Newsday, also covers the Rangers, Isles and Devils for ESPNNewYork.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Monday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:00 PM)
Hey all! Happy Monday :)Glad to take some of your NHL questions...go ahead and fire away!
Hey Katie... starting to get really pissed that we the fans still have no news on Rick Nash. We pay good money for our seats and have the right to know whats going on. Whats your thoughts, and when you think we have Nash back in lineup?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Understand the frustration, Jay, and I promise you that we are all trying our best to get some answers for you guys. Rangers are being decidedly tight-lipped about this one. I'm biased of course, but I think transparency is best. But, the lack of information can only lead to speculation on Nash's injury, in which case I think it is only logical to assume he is suffering from a concussion. Believe that this stems from Lucic hit earlier this month. Initially heard that he wasn't expected to miss too much time, but each day that goes by without Nash practicing is obviously a growing cause for concern
Mike (Ithaca, NY)
Ovie's hattie...blip on the radar or (hopefully) a harbinger of things to come?
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
I think Ovechkin still has time to turn things around. Talked to Marc Staal about him last week and Staal said that, regardless of the dip in his production, defenders are still always aware of his presence on the ice. He's still a dynamic force and a potent scoring threat. Play has picked up too since he was switched back to right wing and placed on a line with Mike Ribeiro
Derek (New York)
When will the Islanders finally fire Jack Capuano? He said himself his team isn't always into games and he knew this before the Carolina game...isn't that a coaches job-to fire up his team when needed?
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
If the losses keep piling up in similar fashion -- where the issue points much more to effort rather than execution -- then, yes. Hard to stomach such listless, frustrating losses and eventually I think he gets the axe unless he can turn things around and wake the club up
Justin (Los Angeles )
Is the Bulin Wall the #1 goalie in Edmonton now? Or will they continue to roll the dice on Dubnyk since he's about 20 years younger?
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
Appears he's getting the start against Chicago tonight. Make of that what you will
Sean (Orange County, Ca.)
Hi Katie,Ducks-Kings game tonight. Does Viktor Fasth get his 9th straight win tonight?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
Would love to see that happen, just to see his star continue to rise. Talked to him last week and was really struck by how level-headed he was about everything. Asked him if he always thought he'd make it to the NHL and, very candidly, he said 'No". Gave a lot of credit to his goalie coach and mental coach in AIK (Swedish Elite League) and said that, even at age 30, feels his game is getting better. Will be a neat storyline to follow this season, for sure
I keep hearing 4 Conferences in realignment...don't they mean 2 Conferences, and 4 Divisions?? Please tell me they are not going to eliminate the East/West Conferences and restructure the best Playoff set-up of the 4 major sports!
Katie Strang (3:14 PM)
Indeed that appears to be the case, and we should know more tonight. The proposed re-alignment format that filtered out over the weekend shifts the current six-division format to a four-conference one. The obvious problem being that two conferences would have eight teams, two would have seven, making the mathematical probability of making the playoffs different between the two. Should be interesting to see how that is reconciled.
Ben (Anchorage, AK)
If the rangers continue to struggle do you think all the youngsters (miller, thomas, kreider, mashinter, etc.) will stay with the big club or will they make a move to get more established players? and how safe is tortorellas job?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Still believe Tortorella is very safe and that the team will ultimately make the playoffs. Before hitting the panic button, let's remember that the team has been hit hard with injuries recently -- Nash, Del Zotto, McDonagh, Girardi, Asham -- and that there is plenty of time to turn things around. To answer your question, though, Tortorella will play whichever players are performing best. And if that means keeping up a young guy like Thomas (who, incidentally, was just sent back to AHL a few hours ago) or Miller and benching underperforming veterans like Richards or Gaborik, Tortorella will not hesitate.
JP_Parise (West Point, NY)
Would Lindy Ruff (or any other qualified NHL proven coach) improve the Islanders chances with the current roster?
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
I think so. Ruff's message may have gotten stale in Buffalo after spending 16 years behind the Sabres bench, but he's still one of the most well-respected coaches in the league. Believe the Islanders could use a coach with some cache and perhaps Ruff fits the bill
Any update on Marty and his "soreness"? Normally wouldn't be too worried but Moose has had a rough couple of outings (not that the team has played that well for him either)
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
All I have heard as of this afternoon is that he experienced some back stiffness/soreness. Should know more once he is re-evaluated, which is supposed to happen today
JP_Parise (West Point, NY)
Were you as offended as everyone else seems to be by Seth MacFarlane's hosting job last night?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
I found him more boring (that opening monologue, ugh) than offensive, but some of his bits have more than a bit of a misogynistic vibe. Not a fan. Bring back Tina and Amy
Hey Katie,Are the Blackhawks (strickly for record keeping purposes) still on an undefeated streak? I had a friend tell me that loosing in a shootout, instead of losing in OT, is not recorded as a loss. Are they still on a win streak for the sake of the record books?
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
They are on a point streak, technically. They have yet to suffer a regulation loss, however, which is still pretty remarkable
Greg (Property Law Class)
Is there any possibility anyone grills torts for an answer regarding all of the injuries? Are the rangers allowed to list all of these injuries as "undisclosed"? I am pretty sure for some of the other leagues, such as the NFL, teams are required to disclose information regarding injuries to some extent.
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
You're right, and it's because of the gambling business. That is why football has to disclose injuries to some extent. Shows how much people are betting on hockey these days...
Don (Cibolo, TX)
Do you have a gauge on how the rest of league views the Sabres GM Darcy Reiger? One Buffalo columnist believes they're all happy he's there because it's one less team to worry about with him in charge.
Katie Strang (3:25 PM)
I read that, too -- pretty strong stuff -- but I'm not sure that's a universal sentiment. I do think there are some people surprised that he is still around. General sense is that he doesn't have a long leash. Chance to turn things around with a new coach, but if that doesn't happen, you have to believe Pegula gives him the boot
Anthony (Chicago )
Will Getzlaf & Perry still be with Ducks past deadline?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Yes. Look at where the Ducks are in the Western Conference standings. Hard to believe they will be in the position to unload a major asset like that. Whether they are able to re-sign both guys is a whole other issue...
Brian (Port Jeff Sta, NY)
Katie... Does DP's demotion signal a coming amnesty buyout and sale of the Islanders... or is Wang going to take the cap hit next year and continue run the franchise with zero accountability and zero commitment to winning?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
If the team is serious about winning, then they will buy him out. Using the new transition buyout, not the old version. If they keep his cap hit to allow the team to continue running in the same penny-pinching way as they are now, then that should be a strong signal of where their priorities lie.
Hey Katie!If Malkin is out for an extended period of time, are the Penguins still contenders in the East? Or just a middle of the pack team?
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
Definitely. Even without the reining Hart Trophy winner, the Penguins still have Crosby and Neal, not to mention a tremendous coach. Last year's perennial whipping boy Paul Martin having quite the bounce-back season as well. Hope for the game's sake that Malkin isn't out for long, though
Anthony (Chicago )
Are hawks the favorites for cup?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
As of right now, yes. They have been outstanding. Even without Corey Crawford for four games, they kept the streak alive. But as far as the playoffs go, all it takes is one team getting hot at the right time. Look at the eighth-seed LA Kings of 2012...
Tracy (North Branch, MN)
Katie- Do you think the Wilds mediocre record is a product of all the new pieces learning to play together? I know they aren't a great team, but figured they would be better than this. Not much time to figure it out....
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Yeah. And they have some good young talent, so that's part of it too. A second-year coach, some big new pieces and young players still acclimating to the NHL. Believe they are better than their record suggests, but it may be until next year that we really see the team's true potential
Will Stephen Weiss get dealt?
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
I believe so, yes. Tough start to the season for him, but every playoff hopeful looking to add some depth and skill down the middle would likely be interested. His two-way play will also be very attractive as teams gear up for the post-season. GM Dale Tallon has denied trade rumors recently, but won't be surprised to see him dangled in the next month or two
Is it stupid to suggest Joe Quinneville is on the hot seat?
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
Hey all...having some technical issues. Bear with me a moment
Do you think Casey Cizikas can become a 2nd or 3rd line player for the Islanders?
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
Third line player, for sure. Good sparkplug guy that provides lots of energy and some jam. Liked what I saw when Isles used him, Matt Martin and Colin McDonald together
Bob (New York)
Do you think the Isles will sit Okposo? His game is off and he seems to be one of the "passengers" that Cappy referred to. Also do you think they should pull the "A" from him? Not leading by example.
Katie Strang (3:47 PM)
They scratched him for a three-game stint last season, Bob, so that is certainly an option they are willing to employ. Not sure I like the idea of stripping him of his A, however, as his struggles are not for lack of effort
Katie, What is to be expected from the Bruins? While they're playing great hockey, it seems that their still not fully "clicking" yet. Seguin has still yet to really show-up this season, in-terms of scoring, but, seems to be getting close. If/when he gets there, how much more improved will they be? Also, with their HUGE cap space, others in the East must be concerned about what the Bruins will/could become at seasons end, right?
Katie Strang (3:49 PM)
Definitely, which is part of why the Islanders trade for Tim Thomas was so buzz-worthy! Sort of unfathomable to believe GM Garth Snow gifted a fellow Eastern Conference competitor with some much-needed cap flexibility. In my opinion they are the team to beat in the East. So, if they use that extra $5 mil to add a big piece near the deadline, they only become that much better
I'm assuming next year's winter classic will still be Detroit/Toronto? Shouldn't it add to the excitement that that would be the first year for that matchup being a divisional game?!
Katie Strang (3:50 PM)
Ha. I think that is sort of a reach, Norm, but the Winter Classic doesn't need much more of a cache than it already has. Especially considering we all missed out on it this year. I, for one, am pumped for the game's return
Do you think Jerome Iginla will be traded this season? If trade what will be the asking price and possible destinations?
Katie Strang (3:52 PM)
I think he should be, yes. And as I've said often in this space, I think the team should've moved Iginla and Kiprusoff already. If they are to move him, have to think they will move in the direction of going young is not complete rebuilding. Top prospects and high draft picks for a player of Iginla's stature
Who is more likely to move to a legitimate Stanley Cup Contender by the end of the season, Jerome Iginla, or Danny Alfredson?
Katie Strang (3:54 PM)
Great question, Tod. Gonna have to go with Alfie (that is IF Ottawa falls out of contention and the veteran captain is willing to leave...two big IFS) because of the rumors that Boston is interested. Would make them a tough team to beat
Did you catch Coach's Corner on Saturday night? Any validity to Cherry's claim that the Rangers injuries are do the the fact they dress a less physical lineup than last year? No Prust, Rupp, etc.
Katie Strang (3:57 PM)
Of all guys they miss most, I think the Rangers really miss the presence of Brandon Prust. Was a hard-nosed, energetic forward that could fight, kill penalties and score some greasy goals. He's enjoying a bigger role with Montreak because of that, now. But I don't think the team is struggling for lack of toughness. Think it has more to do with them lacking those versatile-type players like Prust, Fedotenko, Dubinsky, etc
Other than the obvious injuries, what's missing from this Ranger team right now?
Katie Strang (3:58 PM)
Still missing a power-play specialist with a big shot that can get pucks through on a consistent basis. Needed that last year and it is a need again this season. If their rash of injuries continues, however, there may be more pressing needs
Katie Strang (3:59 PM)
Ok all, that's it for today! Thanks for all the great questions and I'll see you guys back here next week!!!