Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:00 PM)
Hey everyone! Hope you are fired up for another week of puck talk. Lots to cover....let's get started!
Hi Katie Do you think we will see a re match of the Stanley cup finals between boston and Chicago this year?
Katie Strang (3:02 PM)
No, I do not. Chicago has been up and down to start the season, but even if they return to form, which I think they will, San Jose remains the team to beat out West. The way they are cruising along makes me happy I picked them to win the Cup in my pre-season predictions :) I do see the Bruins having a legitimate shot at another trip to the Final, though
Who is more likely to play in Sochi, Paul Stastny or Matt Duchene?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Matt Duchene, for sure. He has been tremendous so far this season and he is a big reason the Avs are doing so well. Even with the Canadian roster's depth down the middle, he adds versatility with his ability to play the wing as well. Has been really good from the faceoff dot as well
Andrew (Cayman Islands)
Katie if you had to make a predication today do you think the Sabres keep Moulson through the end of the year or trade him for additional pics in March? Do you think they could get a 1st round pick for him if they try to move him in March?
Katie Strang (3:04 PM)
I think there is a very good chance that they flip him near or at the deadline for a high draft pick. Teams love a player like that approaching the playoff stretch. Tough, gritty and durable with a nose for the net
Mike (The Igloo)
Hi Katie. Obviously Sidney Crosby is above and beyond the best player in the world..But who's number 2? And when is the last time time there has been that much of a difference between number 1 and 2?
Katie Strang (3:06 PM)
Oh man, tough question. Depends on your qualifications. At the pace he's at now, Alexander Steen may capture the Rocket Richard Trophy! I'd say Ovechkin or Stamkose. Kessel also producing at a breakneck clip. From an all-around package.leadership package maybe Jonathan Toews
richards has 6 more years after this season. 6! can the rangers afford to NOT amnesty him. he's playing well but that's a cap-crippling contract, especially with a couple of other key players needing new contracts after this season.
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
Honestly, if Rick Nash misses another two weeks, maybe discussion begins about using the compliance buyout on him. That sounds absurd, but if he shows no signs of improvement from the concussion sustained weeks ago, that is a daunting decision the team could start discussing
As a Rangers fan the Nash concussion situation is starting to feel like Michael Sauer's. Weeks have passed now and the Rangers still say "nothing's changed." He isn't skating and hasn't commented himself as of yet. Is there real concern amongest the Rangers that he could be down for the season?
Katie Strang (3:09 PM)
It's definitely not good. No encouraging signs at this point, plus he has a concussion history. You certainly hope it's not one of those situations. Should the Rangers place him on long-term injured reserve, then you can start to worry
Got to think Christian Erhoff, not Ryan Miller, is the next one out of Buffalo. His $4 million cap hit is reasonable and since his contract was front loaded, he's making $4 mil or less the rest of his career. Have you heard of any suitors? What's the return likely to be?
Katie Strang (3:12 PM)
I agree, Mike, especially considering the difficulty of trading a goaltender -- often the toughest commodity to move. I think the Oilers could use a capable defenseman to bolster their blue line and hey, they can use a goalie too! That said, they'd have to give up a lot and Sabres GM Darcy Regier seems adept at commanding such returns. Have to imagine Buffalo would want Yakupov or another young star plus picks.
How can so many people call that Islanders trade a disaster. Vanek is a talented player too, isn't it a bit too early to call this a blunder?
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Yes, absolutely. He was invisible last night but it was only one game. You can't expect him to go in right away and have instant chemistry. Transitions like these takes time. He spent the last nine years in Buffalo and deserves some slack
What do you think the Islanders can/should do about their defense? Is Capuano on the hot seat right now?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Depending on how dire GM Garth Snow considers the team's situation -- and Visnovsky's prognosis, I think it's worth giving Griffin Reinhart a shot. I'm sure Snow will be looking to upgrade team's blue line via trade as well though the winds may not pick up until teams have a better idea of their needs and wants. Seems Ehrhoff is available but Isles already took a swing and a miss on him a few years back. They offered him big money when they had his exclusive negotiating rights and he still said no thanks
Jon (St. Louis)
I know team Canada is loaded at forward. But do you see Alex Steen making the roster if he can keep up a similar level of play all year?
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
I do, but he's Swedish :)
Greg (Law School)
Who replaces moore in the lineup?
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
As of right now, it would be Brandon Mashinter
Katie, can you put yourself in Ken Holland's shoes and run down what you would do to fix the roster/lineup issue? Do you make a trade to free up space on the roster, if so who? When is the latest you can see yourself getting Nyquist up and in the lineup? With all of the offensive challenges lately why are we still talking about Glendening, Tootoo, and Sammuelson instead of Tatar, Nyquist, and possibly Jurco or Emmerton? So many options but with Helm returning soon(knock on wood), and Eaves back and healthy, we all know something has to be done and soon.
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
I think you have to wait until you get some guys back -- Helm, Eaves, Franzen -- before you begin to panic. It's still early and despite a four-game winless skid, the Wings are still in ok shape. Upcoming road trip will be a big test for them, though. Need to show some improvement and limit the amount of chances given up in their own end
Hey Katie! Is Claude Giroux's mystifying start simply a factor of the preseason injury coupled with a very average roster (especially a puck moving D) around him? Or have you noticed anything beyond that to account for his struggles?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
I'm not convinced that the hand injury is bothering him as much as he's heaping tons of pressure on himself for the team's struggles. As captain, he's got to be internalizing a lot of the criticism surrounding the team and that has to be a blow to his confidence. Still think he will work his way out of this, but might not in time to win a spot on Team Canada's Olympic roster
Will the Coyotes trade one of their young defensemen?
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
If you are hoping the Coyotes part with Oliver Ekman-Larsson, I wouldn't hold your breath ;) Him and Keith Yandle have been dynamite for Phoenix
Hi Katie ! Hard to ignore Carey Price's hot start this season...Can't do a better statement than this on the No.1 spot in Sochi! Thoughts?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
Agreed. I think Roberto Luongo and Mike Smith will be the other two netminders for Canada, but Price seems to be the consensus pick for the No. 1 job
Hi Katie!Any truth to the rumor that the Rangers are looking to deal Del Zotto to Colorado for some offense?
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
Don't believe internet rumors when it comes to trades, and really, I wouldn't mess with a good thing in Colorado if I'm the Avs, but I've been saying for a long time that I think the Rangers would part with Del Zotto
Michael Goodman (Gilbert, AZ)
What goalies are out there for the Hawks if they decide the Bulin Wall is not going to work? Or do you think they'll bring up Raanta?
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
My answer to all free-agent goaltender queries is always Ilya Bryzgalov, but that's just because I miss hearing about his daily eccentricities and adventures
Vin (Bayshore, LI)
Do you think any teams pickup Johan Hedberg?
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
Nope. He had some offers before and after the NY Rangers PTO, but Hedberg wanted to be very selective about playing anywhere away from his family. He's doing some work for the Devils now and I'd be very surprised if he doesn't turn that into a full-time gig in the future.
Greg (Law School)
Katie how can the Rangers buy out Rick Nash if he has a concussion. Are you aware compliance buyouts cannot be used on injured players? With that in mind what are the odds Richards gets bought out.
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
That's true, Greg. You cannot buy out an injured player. However, even if Nash returns after missing a significant chunk of time, I think this still needs to be a conversation. That said, so will Richards. It has less to do with actual performance -- he has played really well this season -- but the cap recapture penalties that could be exorbitant should he retire early.
Katie, is it just me or does the Wings-Leafs alumni game seem more appealing than the Classic itself (though being in Michigan Stadium will be pretty amazing)?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Alumni game was my favorite part of the Winter Classic in Philly. Bernie Parent putting on the pads was a special moment. Crowd loved it
Jake (From State Farm )
Who should the Rangers start tomorrow Talbot or Lundqvist
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
As long as he is healthy, then definitely Lundqvist. Was a tad surprised he didn't get the back-to-back start last night on Long Island
Stu (Newport Beach)
Katie, are you bummed you wont be seeing Teemu at the Garden Monday? I am traveling from CA to see the game, the Ducks keep trucking along despite injuries to key starters!
Katie Strang (3:33 PM)
Of course, Stu. One of the game's greats. A true gentleman and a treat to watch. Bummed he'll be out for a few weeks
If the Oilers are contending for a playoff spot, do you think they make a move with Buffalo for the Erhoff-Miller package?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
I don't foresee a scenario in which the first part of that question holds. Season's still young, but EDM has dug themselves a pretty significant hole already
is Giroux playing himself off the Can olympic team? Would seem Duchesne has usurped his earmarked spot. Same q re Stepan, who like Giroux is goalless.
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Stepan's definitely going to be feeling some pressure to produce to earn his spot on the U.S. roster. The lack of a pre-seaosn didn't seem to help him in the beginning of the season, but then again the entire Rangers squad was pretty bad. Stepan looked a ton better last night though on a line with Chris Kreider and Mats Zuccarello. Think things will start looking up for him soon as long as the trio remains intact
Staal or Girardi make the D for Team Canada?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Nope. Staal missing so much time the last two seasons probably didn't help and Girardi endured a pretty rough start to begin the year.
I've watched a lot of Edmonton Oiler games this year, and while the goalie play hasn't been stellar, their problem is not in goal. Their play in their own end is horrendous. Might the problem be that all that offensive talent they've drafted don't know how to play a two way game? If so, are they going to be bottom feeders for a while yet?
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Jim- I think you are on to something here. I asked John Tavares recently what he noticed about the Oilers and he said that they are loaded with talent, speed and skill, but if you can get them to play without the puck you can wear them down. I like Dallas Eakins a lot, but you can't orchestrate a complete culture change in a mere matter of weeks. Team needs more structure, hard edges
What was your favorite Halloween costume you ever wore?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
I went as a lobster during college and had the most fantastic headpiece and set of claws you could imagine. I pinched a lot of folks that night
At a dinner party, would you rather sit next to Ilya Bryzgalov or Andrew Ference? Lots of laughs/head shaking with Bryz, but Ference could converse about a lot of interesting topics. Whaddya say?
Katie Strang (3:42 PM)
Can i have one on each side? Bryzgalov is hilarious, though I imagine I'd have a headache by the end of the night. Ference is one of the most insightful, articulate, socially-aware players I've encountered since doing this job. Great guy and a fine choice for the captaincy in EDM
Katie how do you like the renovations to the Garden? What is the view from the Skybridge like?
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
Generally speaking, I like them. The bridges are cool and they haven't given me any panic attacks yet. From the press-box our sight-lines are absolutely phenomenal though we have to watch the game through a pane of glass. Sort of like the penalty box!
"I like Dallas Eakins a lot, but you can't orchestrate a complete culture change in a mere matter of weeks" Well, I'd submit that Patrick Roy has done just that in Denver.
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
Touche, but I think Colorado is going to fall back to earth a bit. Their PDO is second in the league at 1.071, which indicates that they are due for some regression.
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
Ok all that's it for today. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!