Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:00 PM)
Hey everyone! Thanks for swinging by for another week of puck talk. Lots of ground to cover so let's get after it.Fire away!
Jerome (Long Island)
Hey Katie,As you would know, because you cover the Isles, our boy Kyle Okposo is having a breakout year in regards to point production. My question is, do you think (provided he continues to put up points at this kind of rate) he is going to make the USA Olympic team? Reading a lot of the "experts" projected rosters prior to the season, I'm pretty sure KO was not on any of the ones I came across. Sure, he's the beneficiary of playing with 2 world class linemates, but people like you and I who watch the Isles on a nightly basis know that his offensive creation is the best its ever been in his career, and he's an absolute monster in the corners and on the boards. So, how do you like his shot for the squad in Das Russia?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Hey Jerome. Actually, I believe he was on ESPN.com's most recent roster projections, though I can't claim credit as those are assembled by Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside. I think Okposo has a good shot, especially if management group looks at role play as much as star power. Okposo doesn't offer nearly is much in the latter department, but he is a gritty, hard-working player who can kill penalties and bring a physical edge to the game. KO was very disappointed when he didn't make the cut in 2010; you can bet he is even more determined to crack that roster now.
Do you think there is a trade brewing between NYR & EDM? If so who would you say is on the block for both teams?
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
Honestly? I do not. Of course, it is worth noting that Edmonton brass was at MSG for two straight games, but I doubt the Oilers have something in the works at this moment. Why? With so much uncertainty around the status of Rick Nash, it must be difficult for the Rangers to assess what they have and what they need. Both of those questions will be dictated by when (if?) Nash is ready to return to the lineup
do you think the ducks can stay on top of the nhl
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
They've got incredible goaltending depth, one of the most fearsome top lines in the league and some savvy vets on the back end. Can you imagine what they would be like if they can turn that power-play around? That remains the team's Achilles Heel but if they are able to figure out their ailing unit, watch out
Katie - with the Preds offense picking up over the last few games, does the need to find an interim goalie solution (i.e. Bryz, Miller, Brodeur?) become that much more important? Or should they just wait it out?
Katie Strang (3:10 PM)
With Carter Hutton performing like he has been in place of Pekka Rinne, you can certainly make a case for weathering the storm. The loss of Rinne to an E. Coli infection of all things could've been a debilitating blow but give credit to the Preds for circling the wagon and getting the job done, regardless.
Zach Williams (Nashua NH )
Is Ovechkin on track for 50 goals in 50 games after missing two games?????????
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Just about Zach, as he has 12 goals in 13 games. Interesting comments on Ovechkin I read recently. Teammates have noticed a maturation in No. 8, who seems to recognize that you only get a small window to win and he'd got to be a big part of that to make it happen. He seems to have embraced a more vocal leadership role. We'll see if that pays dividends for the Caps
Rangers looked great lastnight. With all the trade talk surrounding them, would moving MDZ and Brian Boyle for say Ales Hemsky or someone else be a good move? They could then get McIlrath which would bring much needed toughness to the blueline and call-up Kristo who is lighting it up in the AHL. Thoughts?
Katie Strang (3:15 PM)
Though Edmonton's immediate need seems to be a defenseman or a goaltender (or both) it's interesting that you mention Brian Boyle, because I asked an NHL scout the very same thing last night. Edmonton gets ragged on a lot for being an easy team to play against and a big, physical player like Brian Boyle could make a significant dent in that department. That said, I don't see Edmonton being interested in Del Zotto. Though the young blue-liner has lots of offensive upside, I think they are in the market for a bigger, grittier more shutdown-type. McIlrath is not a bad thought...
Any chance we see a rule change this year giving suspensions for goalies fighting? I am so sick of seeing brawls and goalie fights. I wish more teams would take the approach the Red Wings did in the playoffs last year vs the Blackhawks when the game was decided in the third period: go through the motions and not even throw body checks. I want to see my team show no emotion.
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
Ok, I sense your sarcasm John. I do think fighting has a place in the game, but I'll admit I'm rapidly losing my taste for it after some of the disgraceful debacles we've seen this year. Expect that to be a topic of conversation at the GM meetings next week in Toronto. They'll be sure to discuss goalie fights with odds on someone suggesting an automatic penalty/suspension for leaving the crease. Personally, I don't think goaltenders should be prohibited from fighting, but there has to be something done to prevent a guy from wailing on an unwilling combatant a la Ray Emery/Braden Holtby. That was shameful
larry brooks reported that nash has been skating here and there. have you heard anything new? maybe the nyr are thinking of putting him on LTIR and trade for hemsky? they better not give up much for him
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
Nash has been doing periodic physical activity I'm told, and he continues to do so. Regardless, that means little until he re-joins the fray with his teammates in practice. Hemsky is certainly more likely trade bait than Yakupov, but his cap hit $5 million is prohibitive and he's five years removed from his last 20-goal season
JP (Babylon, NY)
How do you feel about the Islanders going after one of Anaheim's three young goalies. The Ducks can likely afford to deal one of them, either Hiller, Fasth, or Andersen. I feel like the Isles and Ducks could be realistic trading partners. What do you think?
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
Interesting idea, JP, especially because GMs are creatures of habit and a history of trades is indeed something to note (see trade for Lubmir Visnovsky). The Islanders need goaltending help and the Ducks have an abundance of depth between the pipes. My guess is that they might be inclined to move Hiller since he is set to become a UFA. Not a bad move for the Isles to consider at all
Are the Devils in trouble? Will they make the playoffs?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Considering they have been held scoreless in their last two games and currently find themselves in 13th place of the Eastern Conference, very much so. Perhaps getting back Zajac or Volchenkov will help them tonight vs. PHI but I definitely do not see them becoming a playoff team
Chad Kulik (PA)
Any predictions for Dallas vs. Red Wings tonight? Should be an interesting match up.
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
Indeed, and Kari Lehtonen has been very good for the Stars lately. Interested to see how this one goes down
Guy (Enfield NH)
Being a Bruins fan, the Nash situation is starting to sadly sound like a Savard situation, although not as severe but there is a history there with Nash if I am not mistaken.
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Guy- you are not mistaken. Nash missed time last season after being concussed by one of your Bruins Milan Lucic in February. That's never good. The subterfuge and secrecy from the team also doesn't do much by way of encouragement. But honestly, concussions are such a difficult injury to assess because they are so unpredictable and different for each player. Never want to see someone's career ended because of a head injury, but I don't think we are at that point yet.
why don't the ducks name Anderson the full time starter he is better than hiller
Katie Strang (3:31 PM)
Whoa, whoa, whoa, Sample Size! Andersen has been very good, but it's only been four games. Remember how good Fasth was last season? Let's not count him out yet?
Gerry (San Francisco, CA)
Any thoughts on 10 of the 16 eastern conference teams with a negative goal differential?
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
There's no doubt that the Eastern Conference is significantly weaker than the West. Very lopsided this year.
Jason (Portland, OR)
Is there a faster pure goal scorer right now than Matt Duchene? His goal last night in a losing effort was unreal. More to the point, how does he NOT make Team Canada?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
Oh, I think he's a lock at this point. Should be. Great from the faceoff circle, too.
Having chats with players is always an insteresting and great treat. Brett Hull just did one for the local media and lets just say it was colorful. Who is/was some of your favorite players to interview and why?
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Just spoke to Brendan Shanahan this week for a piece I wrote for his Hall of Fame induction and he is always a treat. Enjoyed talking to him as a player and that continues to be true now. Zenon Konopka is a riot. Jaromir Jagr, when he's in the mood, is hard to beat. Was reminded yesterday just how great Sidney Crosby is with the media. Rare for a superstar, but he gets it. Great ambassador for the game.
Katie, who do you feel will make out better long term in the trade between the Sabres and Islanders for Vanek/Moulson?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Your convinced that either player will be with their current teams in the "long term"? I'm not. Though I will say that I think there is a better chance of Vanek re-signing with Isles than Moulson with the Sabres
Dean (New York)
What does "intermittent physical activity" exactly mean?
Katie Strang (3:38 PM)
Skating occasionally, riding the bike, light workouts, etc
Steve (Central NJ)
hey Katie - what can the Flyers possibly do to turn their ugly start around??
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Hard to even know where to begin, Steve, Definitely think they need to upgrade on D, though
The Red Wings went to Game 7 of the Cup in a year when they had 11 fights. If you're skilled enough, you can do just fine sans the fisticuffs
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Totally agree, Shane. The Red Wings are one of the most successful, respected franchises and it wasn't built on braun.
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
Ok, all we are going to end there today. Thanks for all the great questions. Have a good weekend and join me next week for more hockey talk!