Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesdsay at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:01 PM)
Greetings from the City of Brotherly Love where Craig Berube will make his Flyers head coaching debut tonight against the Florida Panthers.Let's get started on those questions. Fire away!
were the rangers more good or lucky last night? LAK gave up 2 own goals (although one was clearly worse than the other). Also, the LAK came out afterwards upset with their effort.
Katie Strang (3:04 PM)
Much, much better performance from the Rangers as compared with Thursday's underwhelming effort in Phoenix. Thought it was a well-rounded, decisive win that provided a good glimpse of the team's potential when firing on all cylinders. Granted, it wasn't a great night for the Kings and that includes former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick. One of the league's best netminders, Quick has had a lackluster start to the season. His laughable blunder to put away Ryan McDonagh's clearing attempt was one he'll be kicking himself for a long time.
Ed (Queens Village)
If Devils are out of it by time Olympic break begins. Would they consider doing unthinkable of trading Marty Brodeur to playoff team for prospects or draft picks?
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
Highly doubtful. One, because he has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he'd have to consent to being moved. Two, if the Devils are out of it by then it would likely mean his level of play won't make him a coveted trade target
What coach is next behind Peter Laviolette in the unemployment line, or is it too soon for a GM to tell that he really doesn't like the way his team is going?
Katie Strang (3:09 PM)
Well the Bovada Las Vegas odds have Bob Hartley next, but clearly we know now that it is NOT too early since the Flyers showed no hesitation in pulling the trigger.In fact, if the Flyers don't turn things around quickly, it could be Philly GM Paul Holmgren who gets the axe next. Have to imagine he's on thin ice
Lindsey (Long Island)
Hey Katie! Thanks for taking my question! Who would you sit on the Isles when Clutterbuck is cleared to play?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
You could sit a guy like Casey Cizikas, who plays a very similar, rugged game to Clutterbuck. Tough, energetic players who can kill penalties and add some sandpaper to the lineup.
Chris M (NYC)
Any indications of how John Tortorella has been received in Vancouver?
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Well I think he has had the desired effect, which is to say he has provided a certain jolt to the team (and surely the Vancouver media). I'm not buying this whole Tortorella-turning-over-a-new-lead routine. He is who he is and his stubbornness is a part of his personality that I can't ever see changing. He's gonna shake things up, splitting up the Sedin twins, making stars block shots, etc. You can only afford to be that abrasive if you win, though. So if they take a dive, there will be trouble
Katie - thoughts on the Flyers making a coaching change 3 games into the season? How does that even make sense?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
I agree that it's a bit absurd, but instead of looking at it as too premature, I think it's more accurate to view the decision as long overdue. Snider and Holmgren both talked about the carryover and disappointment from last year and how that impacted the preseason/training camp. Whatever problems exist, they are not new. And also, I think it's similarly absurd that Holmgren isn't culpable for these failures as well. He's the one that constructed this roster and he should be shouldering a fair amount of the blame as well
How are you doing Katie? The Rangers have so many restricted and unrestricted free agents next summer. Is there a plan to re-sign some of these players during the season or is the plan to wait until June/July to figure it all out? The Rangers have seven players signed for next season and that includes Richards. Thank you.
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
Assume that signing both Lundqvist and Callahan to multi-year extensions sooner rather than later is a priority for the Rangers
Greg (Norwalk, CT)
Who will finish with the most points this season Rangers, Islanders or Devils?
Katie Strang (3:20 PM)
I think the Rangers will, but not by much. I think the Islanders will follow up on a surprising playoff appearance last year with a strong regular-season campaign. Rangers still have the clear-cut upper hand in the goaltending department and on defense, but I think Isles will continue to improve
Mitchman (Cape Cod)
One question my friends and I had regarding the Roy Rage incident last week was how come the partition between the benches isn't a solid structure? It seems that Roy was able to knock it down with ease. Could this of been by design based after Big Z's hit on Patches into the stanchion?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
Ha that's a really good question and I hadn't thought about that. My understanding was that hit provoked change with the stanchions at the end of the bench but not the partitions. I could be wrong, though you raise a good point. Imagine Roy after a 6-game losing streak. Yikes!
wow, it's good the rangers won last night. on the road against san jose, anaheim, st. louis? things could've gotten ugly quick.
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
They still can. Those are three really tough road tests in the matter of five nights. San Jose and St. Louis both popular favorites to finish on top out West
Katie - Any thoughts on Brock Nelson making the team for the Islanders. Local Boy making the Varsity team at the start, after leading the AHL team in points last year.
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
I can't even tell you the transformation he has made since his draft year. This was a gangly teenager who disappeared when he turned sideways. Since then, he has grown into his body, bulked up and really worked on every facet of his game. Made a huge stride last season in Bridegeport and has made some tremendous, heady plays in the early stages of the season. He impressed the coaching staff and Islanders brass. He's still young so there will still be some ups and down, but I think he could make a significant impact this season
How much longer do you think the Caps stick with Holtby before Neuvirth gets the #1 net minder role in Washington?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Way too early to hit the panic button in Washington. Still think they will be one of three or four teams to challenge for the Metropolitan Division, even if they have had a few early hiccups
Has any franchise ever squandered an elite goalie the way the Rangers have Lundqvist? He's been one of the best goalies in the league since he arrived, and the Rangers have exactly ONE trip out of the 2nd round of the playoffs to show for ita??and they had to survive two Game 7's to get there.
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
I wouldn't say squandered, but you do really get the sense of how narrow a team's window really is. I'm not sure the Rangers are going to have a better chance at winning the Cup then in 2012, when they lost to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. Lundqvist has been remarkably consistent, but I can understand him being antsy to win.
Nice prediction for 7th in the metro division ... was lavy holding back couturier and schenn or do you think the flyers talent evaluaters have blown it for us for a few seasons?
Katie Strang (3:31 PM)
I am glad you pointed this out since I was taking an inordinate amount of heat last week for picking the Flyers to struggle AND for Laviolette to be the first coach to get the axe.I do think the development of those young players were at least part of the equation. In addition to the team's other struggles, Holmgren had to be concerned with what appeared to be a step back for both youngsters last season
Chris M (NYC)
Any early surprises up in Hartford? Was wondering who the next call up would be on the forward lines.
Katie Strang (3:33 PM)
I was a bit surprised that JT Miller got sent down to Hartford in the first place, but he made an immediate impression. Two goals and an assist in the Wolf Pack's 4-3 win over the Albany Devils on Sunday. Believe Kreider scored a goal as well. One of those two will be called up relatively soon, methinks
Katie... do you need an assistant? Do you want to trade jobs?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
Do you do anything that involves free food? If so, let's talk
MDZ for vanek, who says no?
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Well, the Rangers for one, since there is no way they could absorb his cap hit of $7.142 even if they unloaded Del Zotto. And no matter how poorly the Sabres do and how desperately they want to rebuild, Vanek's production will be difficult to replace
Kent Nilsson (Sweden)
The King was considered one of the most overrated players but at the same time they thought he was the best goalie. Can you help me sort this out?What would make him move? and where could he really go if he wanted to?
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Not sure I have heard much to that end, Kent. I don't think anyone genuinely regards Lundqvist as overrated. Won the Vezina two seasons ago, was a finalist last year. He came in as No. 1 on our preseason player rankings poll.But to answer your other question: I think it is highly unlikely Lundqvist will leave unless he really feels like he is being undervalued or the team's prospects at winning soon are bleak
What do you make of the lack of 5-on-5 scoring by the Capitals? Is it too early to be concerned on that front?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
I do think Caps PP will be their most potent threat, but yeah too small of a sample size to get truly worried yet
Is Brassard good enough that the Rangers will come out the clear winners in the Gaborik deal? Or will they regret dealing him and not seeing how he could flourish in a system where his style of play isn't in direct contrast to the coach? Honestly, the Rangers and Jackets should have saved everyone the drama and just dealt Nash for Gaborik straight up
Katie Strang (3:42 PM)
Ha that could've saved me a lot of time and effort Rj! I wish!I do believe the Rangers came out on top of that deal and I see Brassard as a player that will flourish in New York. He's got great vision, hands, hockey sense. Will make those around him better and he seems to embrace the big stage
for the record, i was upset about the 7th in the division pick initially ... but after the garbage i saw in the first three games ... you were dead on, and i can't hate honesty :)
Katie Strang (3:44 PM)
Apparently, Paul Holmgren shared your opinion ;) To be fair, it's advantageous to the Flyers that they made this move so early. And from everything I've gleaned here in Philly, Craig Berube is beloved and respected by players. He's a tough, no-nonsense guy that will give his charges a kick in the butt when needed.And right now, the Flyers definitely need it
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
Ok all, we're going to end there for the day! See you back here next week :)Thanks as always for some great questions!