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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (2:58 PM)
Hey hockey fans! Hope your Thanksgiving was a great one! No chat during the holidays last week so let's make up for some lost time. We can kick things off a bit early today. Fire away!
Considering his strong play lately, is Carey Price pretty much a lock for team Canada (barring injury). While Budaj has played remarkably well, I shudder to think where the Habs would be without Price in net. Thoughts?
Katie Strang (3:00 PM)
Yes, I believe so. He's got that spot pretty much sewn up. Depending on how fast Quick recovers, and how he plays once he returns from injury, USA's goaltending situation could be a much more interesting one
JP (Babylon, NY)
Hey Katie...do you see Garth Snow making another significant trade this season, seeing as though he's already made one with the Vanek/Moulson deal? This team surely needs some kind of shake up, and help on the blue line and in net is desperately needed.
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Boy, if that was the only deal Snow was planning to make than the Islanders really are not in good hands. I was critical of that deal at the time and remain so. It didn't address the Isles most immediate needs: goaltending and defense. Well, guess what? Those needs are even more glaring right now. If Snow wants to give his team an actual chance at making the post-season, he needs to give them some help in one area, preferably both
Alan Smithee (West Hempstead, NY)
Be honest: the Isles getting blown out tonight should be the end of Jack Capuano's head coaching career, but we Isles fans are stuck with him for the long haul, aren't we
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
I do think Capuano needs to be let go, but I'm not sure the Islanders are going to go that route? If they do not, it can really only be for one reason: money. They have been remarkably cheap in that regard and may be reluctant to dole out extra cash for a coach with some actual cache. There is a solution to that, though. If Doug Weight wants the job, and I'm not sure he does, he is already on their payroll.
ray gordon reid ( arlington va22201)
question to kate strang at 3.30 pm tonight STARS OR HAWKS
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
Six straight wins for the Hawks? Yeah, I'll play it safe here and take Chicago. Especially with Tyler Seguin missing tonight's game with a concussion
Do you think Kreider turned a corner with his hat trick?
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
I think he has turned a corner this season, beginning with his most recent call-up. I think he has performed much better under Vigneault than under Tortorella, and his confidence has grown tenfold. He's using his speed, size and skill to his advantage and it is paying dividends. Would not be surprised if he notches another hattie before the year is over.
Hi, in your opinion are the Montreal Canadiens a top 5 team in the east, and why or why not?
Katie Strang (3:10 PM)
Yes, definitely, though I'm not sure what sort of standard that even is anymore. The East is so mediocre, and vastly less competitive than the West, that being in the top five isn't exactly analogous with being elite. In my mind, Pittsburgh and Boston are head and shoulders above the rest. Should Detroit get healthy, they could make things interesting too
Ed (Queens Village)
Do Rangers have GM in place whenever Sather leave?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
You heard it from the owner himself just last week: Sather pretty much has a job as long as he wants one. Should Sather want to leave? Have to imagine it would be Assistant GM Jeff Gorton as next in line. Well-respected hockey mind that already deals with most of the day-to-day demands
Hi Katie, anything to read into the report of scouts from Philly and Boston attending Ranger/Jet game last night? Or where they there mainly to look at Winnipeg?
Katie Strang (3:14 PM)
Don't forget Chicago, too! Hard to know exactly what they were looking for (though Philly could use help on defense, let's be honest), but it does stand to reason that the Rangers would be less inclined to make a trade within the conference than the Jets would be to make a deal from the West
JP (Babylon, NY)
Do you see ANY realistic chance that the Isles bring back Peter Laviolette as Head Coach, whether it be during this season or in the off-season?
Katie Strang (3:15 PM)
I think he'd be a good fit, but no. The impression I got was that Snow wasn't too thrilled about him as a player
Drew (East Islip)
Hi Katie, will the Rangers do anything to address there lack of toughness? How about McIlrath?
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
Interesting idea, Drew. He has already racked up 111 PIMs in 21 games for Hartford. Size and physicality on the back end and that's pretty much why they're playing Justin Falk now
Matt (Storrs, CT )
Hi Katie, In the recent ESPN power ranking, three out of the top-10 teams are from the East and the rest being in the West. Is the West that much better than the East this year and who do you think has the best chance in the East to beat the powerhouses in the West?
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
Yes, the West is THAT much better. Truly. Look at the top three right now. Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim. Holy smokes. Only team that I think can really handle them right now is the Bruins
James (Long Island)
What would a realistic return for Michael Del Zotto entail (using actual players)?
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
The thing with Del Zotto is that the Rangers would really have to get a defenseman back in the deal. Preferably a right-handed shot since they only have two -- Girardi, Stralman -- and one that can handle comparable minutes to DZ. For all of his shortcomings this season he is still logging almost 20 minutes a game
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
We all know that the West is absolutely dominating the East this year. So which 3 players from the East will be the Hart finalists? Crosby, Ovechkin and ________?
Katie Strang (3:20 PM)
Haha, I see what you did there. Hey, at least we're not the BBWA!
Ralph Lucarella (North Carolina)
Will Dale Tallon be the Florida Panthers GM next season?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
Good question, Ralph. Imagine that is contingent upon how the new ownership group gauges things are going in Sunrise. Interesting, though, that Viola immediately put his son in one of the top hockey posts after acquiring the team. May be something to keep an eye on moving forward
Garrett (Long Island)
Hey Katie! Hank said all the right things about Talbot getting the start, but how do you really think he felt about it? I feel like the coach doesn't truly appreciate it what he has in Lundqvist. What percentage do put on him being a Ranger next season and not walking?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
I think a deal gets worked out, but I don't think he'll get a max contract of eight years, especially if the Rangers feel they legitimately have something in Cam Talbot. Lundqvist was actually pretty honest yesterday. He wasn't happy about the decision, but he supported it. Hasn't pouted or sulked, at least no publicly. He'll be as motivated as ever come Thursday
eric (long island)
with the orlov situation in washington, you think garth could pry away green given his somewhat down year and high salary?
Katie Strang (3:25 PM)
Nope. Makes no sense to deal Green, especially to a team within the division. What would the Isles have to give up to acquire him? Besides, think Isles would be better served with a shutdown type, especially if they do nothing to bolster their situation between the pipes
Ben (San Jose)
Seen the Ducks/Kings unis for the winter series game yet? 1 word: disgusting.
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
I am pretty much required to like orange and black -- my fiance's bball team colors -- so I kind of dig the Ducks' jerseys.
Watching him play this season, and knowing he did have an undisclosed injury, I still think there is something wrong with Lundqvist that we aren't being told about. What are your thoughts on his play?
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
I think it is reasonable to assume, though he denies it, that the stalled contract discussions are taking a toll on him. Imagine being in his skates. After all you have done for the franchise, and they take a hard line? Can't be a great feeling. Maybe he overanalyzes, lets doubt creep in. A lot of potential factors that could be snowballing right now
Rob (Huntington NY)
I do not think D. Weight is ready for a head coach do you? He heads the PK and PP which both are a league bottom, do you really think he can handle more responsibility?
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
I don't think he is an ideal fit for the job, no. That's not a knock on Weight, who is a passionate and well-respected mentor, but I think he is much better suited to a management-type role.
Dave McDaniel (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Katie--any chance the Blue Jackets get it together and work their way into the playoff picture, or have we seen they best they've got? I know Nathan Horton is coming soon, but I don't view him as a savior.
Katie Strang (3:31 PM)
I don't think Horton is the savior either but I'm not totally ready to bail on them yet, either. Was really looking for Blue Jackets to be a sleeper team with Davidson/Kekkalainen in charge, but they've struggled. That's the benefit to playing in the East, though. A three-game winning streak can drastically change your stake in the standings
Katie I KNOW this will never happen as the Chairman won't allow it, but if the Rangers were to effectively punt this year by dealing guys like Staal, Girardi, etc they could really set them selves up with some nice assets around a strong core of players (Nash, Stepan, Mac, Kreider, Zucc, Hags).
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
Realistically, I'm not sure I see them being able to keep both anyway. Staal has one year remaining after this one and who knows how alluring he may find the idea of playing with his brothers in Carolina. Dan Girardi has not had a banner year, but it's still reasonable for him to expect a significant payday when his deal expires at the end of this season. He's still relatively young but man has he put some hard miles on over the past few season. Rangers might feel his best years are behind him. Then again, right-handed defensemen are a need for the team right now. So, to answer your question: I think the Rangers might have to consider parting with one, and better to not let them walk away for nothing
tom (westfield , NJ)
would it shock you to hear John Tavares's agent ask Isles for a trade this off season?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
I asked myself this question today, as I can't imagine Tavares' frustration level right now. I think Tavares is a supremely loyal young man, but depending on how the rest of this season goes, I won't put it outside the realm of possibility.
"Look at the top three right now. Chicago, San Jose, Anaheim. Holy smokes"Don't forget the Blues! They scare me the most as a Blackhawks fan.
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Good point. Man there are gonna be some fun series out West this April
Sean (Newiport Beach)
Ducks Kings tonight, Who do you think wins the big game? Ducks have Beauchamin and Allen as possibly returning tonight. Should be a good tilt.
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Anaheim has won five straight and has yet to suffer a regulation loss at home. Again, I'll take the easy way out on this one and choose the Ducks
Noah (Kalamazoo )
Katie, Why exactly did Rusty Klesla pass through waivers? Am I wrong in viewing him as a solid, middle-pair defensemen? There are more than a couple of teams he could have helped, no?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
Have been asked this a few times. Suppose because some teams may find his $2.975 M cap hit somewhat prohibitive.
Hey Katie, have you heard any specific names being thrown around in rumors regarding the Islanders? Coming/going?
Katie Strang (3:42 PM)
If Isles fall out of contention, they might want to think of dealing Frans Nielsen, one of my all-time favorite players to watch and cover. Type of underrated player who, when used in the right spot, can be enormously effective. If Isles think Strome can fill that spot sooner than later, Nielsen is the type of guy every team wants heading into the playoffs
Nix (Geneva, NY)
Katie, at the end of the year who ends up with the better record, Rangers or Flyers? Both had terrible starts but now seem to be playing better. Either of them make the playoffs?
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
Not quite sold on this Flyers' turnaround quite yet, so I'll take the Rangers. Don't get me wrong though, I don't think the Blueshirts are any real prize, either. They may make the playoffs, but I cannot see them going far.
Girardi/Staal and JT Miller for Taveras. Would that help both teams? rangers can then either insert moore back in the lineup or trade a forward for veteran D.
Katie Strang (3:44 PM)
For a variety of reasons, that would never happen
Hi Katie! Just wanted to stop in and say: Spot on about the importance of Burns for my Sharks. I commented about his absence a couple weeks ago and you nailed it! I believe my boys are 11-0-1 with him in the lineup. Thanks for hosting these chats!
Katie Strang (3:46 PM)
I will gladly accept that pat on the back, Nick. As you know I am proud of my pre-season pick for Sharks to win the Cup. They have not let me down thus far.We'll end on that note. Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you back here next week!