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)
Finally, a trade to discuss! That's not all, though. It won't be just Nashville and New York feeling the chat love today. Feel free to fire off any burning NHL questions you may have.Let's get started!
Immediate reaction to the DZ-Klein trade? I think NYR gets a reliable 3rd pair defenseman who can play the right side and allows John Moore to go back to his natural left. Sounds fair, but should the rangers have gotten more?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Hey Pat- The Rangers could have definitely gotten more had they traded Del Zotto in previous season, or perhaps had they waited until a team was desperate with an injury approaching the deadline. But the Rangers found a trade partner that offered what they nee d-- a right-handed defenseman. As you know, those guys are always in short supply. Yes, it provides some balance on the back end, allowing Moore to go back to his natural left side. Just spoke to someone in Nashville as well who said that Klein was a really steadying veteran presence in the room as well. A solid pick-up. Though Del Zotto has more upside, and could take off in Nashville, he wasn't a fit in NY under Vigneault. Coach was never a fan
Ed (Queens Village)
Did Islanders win game or Rangers lose game? Very fun game to watch from two longtime rivals.
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
Islanders certainly won that. Even when the Rangers took a 2-0 lead on Nash's first-period pair, the Isles were outplaying them in a big way. They always bring their A game vs. the Rangers and last night was no different. Tavares was sensational, as per usual
Was last night just a temporary setback for the generally improved Rangers?
Katie Strang (3:06 PM)
Yes, probably. They have been playing much better of late. A big reason why has been the goaltending. I suspect they'll continue to play well in the second half
Ray Shero seems to be limping to the Olympic break so long as the Pens keep winning before making a move. My question is who amongst the plethora of D-men do you see him trading away to get another top 6 forward?
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
Spoke to Shero a few weeks back, when they were missing five of their six regular defensemen and the sense was that he wanted to exercise some patience. Very difficult to assess your team when pretty much everybody is on the mend. He's never idle around trade deadline, though. You can be sure he will be active in making moves to improve his team
Hey Katie, The Jackets are the hottest team in the league right now and are in the thick of the playoff hunt. Are they here to stay and what are the keys to their continued success? Also is a big reason for their streak and recent success the return of Horton or is it just a coincidence?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
Don't think you can give all the credit to Horton here, but they are on quite a tear. I have a soft spot for the Blue Jackets, I'll admit ,and what has been most impressive to me lately is that they've been able to go on this run with Marian Gaborik on the shelf. RJ Umberger and Ryan Johansen deserve some acclaim these days, too
Bob (Ottawa )
Hey Katie - I am just loving Paul Maurice and what he has done in Winnipeg. I love his approach. I love his press conferences. I love his demeanour, his attitude, everything. Where did this guy come from? He looks like a new man! Not nearly enough people are talking about him, but I see great things for this guy
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Bob- You should be his agent! Indeed, Maurice has had a nice start at 4-0-0 since taking over in Winnipeg. Last night he had Ondrej Pavelec to thank, as the goaltender made 40 of 42 saves for the night. Getting good goaltending night in and night out will be key for the Jets, but you have to like the direction that they are headed. Maurice is a confident guy who banked on being able to eventually return to the bench in the NHL and that belief paid off. Good for him
Hi Katie, I don't follow Ottawa closely but have always liked Spezza. His ice time has dropped (only a little) as well as scoring. Anything going on there? Is he a candidate to be traded?
Katie Strang (3:15 PM)
I think part of it is that the departure of Daniel Alfredsson to Detroit has made it so the leadership responsibility has fallen squarely on his shoulders. That can be a pretty pressure-laden situation, and the team has not been without its struggles, either. Stressful on a captain and that has had to have had an impact on his performance
katie, word is that Moulson is looking for 6M per year. Having watched both Vanek and Moulson play, I would much rather have Vanek. How much do you think Vanek is looking for, and who would you rather have on your team?
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
He may be able to command $6m in order to stay in Buffalo, or as a free agent on the free market, but I can tell you that he was never seeking that amount with the Islanders. He knew he would not out-earn his good buddy and teammate John Tavares and he was fine with that. Will be interesting to see where he ends up at the deadline. No serious discussions between his camp and Sabres yet, with the feeling that the new GM would probably need some time to settle in and get his bearings before making decisions on Miller, Moulson
Why make a trade now? Why not wait until deadline to maybe get more value?
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
Because that's what everyone else is doing, remaining in a holding pattern, either until the deadline or the roster freeze prior to the Olympic break. This way, you get the leg up on the action rather than making reactionary moves.
Katie, we all saw what happened to Detroit when St. Louis came to town on Monday and today they face the Blackhawks. I assume Howard is out. Could this game be worse than what the Blues did to Detroit? Could this have Detroit-massacre written all over it? How do you see today's game playing out?
Katie Strang (3:20 PM)
Don't count out these Red Wings, Eric. Despite their injury-ravaged lineup, which is bordering on absurd, Detroit has still hung tough. One big boost is they get back top-pai defenseman Jonathan Ericsson tonight. But you are correct, Jimmy Howard remains sidelined. Jonas Gustavsson tonight, with Petr Mrazek backing up
Kevin Klein scouting report?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
Good, steady veteran who can play a solid two-way game and kill penalties, but is not expected to contribute much offensively. Won't get PP time. 3rd pair guy with possibility to move to second pair in event of strong play and/or injury needs
Hi Katie-Custance was kind enough to answer my question about the playoff format yesterday, but I have a follow-up. How long is the deal in place for the current format? I hate it. 1 should play 8, 2 vs. 7, etc. I thought the whole point of this was not to punish teams for being in a stronger conference. Now you can coast through a garbage division all the way to the semis. Doesn't make sense. Thanks,
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
Minimum of three seasons. Boo...I hate it too
Max (Glen Head,NY)
Have the Isles issues in net dissipated, or just been offset by exceptional offenses performances?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
Still issues. Asked a few people around the team yesterday and they gave middling reports on team's goaltending. Up and down. Nabokov still on the shelf and still not sold on Poulin as a bona fide No. 1 guy
To what extent did the Capitals 3-goalie circus contribute to their in-process slump?
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
That's a good question. As you know a three-goalie situation is never ideal. Can be a very toxic situation, but from the people I talked to this week, I heard the goalies themselves handled it just fine. I think the lack of secondary scoring is hurting the Capitals, among other things. But it's hard to pick one thing. Seems like they are losing every which way these days
What happened in New Jersey last night? Didn't see that coming...
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
Me neither! Guess that's how it happens, though. Once the floodgates open...
Does it make any difference if David Clarkson ever comes off injured reserve? The Leafs are hating themselves for this deal.
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
It's honestly a bad situation waiting to happen. Not his fault for cashing in, but ill-advised from the start. He needs to be the type of player he is, not the player they signed him thinking he was
Tom G (NYC)
What do you think the price for Halak will/would be if the Blues deal him? Would a third or fourth and Anders Lee get the deal done for the Isles
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
Interesting proposal. Two years ago I had a Western Conference scout tell me that Anders Lee was one of three prospects considered "untouchable." Wonder how they feel about him now? Still not convinced the Blues will move Halak, though I think that could be a really nice fit for the Isles
Garrett (Long Island)
Hey Katie!!! I am thinking about getting tickets to the Rangers vs Islanders game at Yankee Stadium. What seats give you the best view? Where would you not want to sit?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
This sounds weird, but I think the higher the seats, the better in terms of sight lines. Closer to the ice may be difficult to watch. Either way, bundle up!
Hey Katie,I enjoy your work. One of your fellow Spartans, Torey Krug, has made quite the transition to the NHL from the college ranks right to the '13 Stanley Cup Playoffs. How much college hockey do you try to follow as more and more undrafted NCAA free agents are making an impact soon after stepping off campus? Obviously, major junior hockey is still the main pipeline of talent, but it seems more talent is starting to hone their development in the NCAA.
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
Hey Andrew! Happy to claim Torey Krug as a fellow Spartan. The answer is I really wish I had more time to follow college hockey, because it is awesome, but I don't. Would love to go to the Frozen Four someday!
Hey Katie - Is Torts really that crazy or does he know exactly what he is doing? I looked back to 2012 and for a few weeks before the Devils 3-3 brawl the Rangers had lost 5/7 - The Canucks have been slumping - could this be a calculated move to take the attention off the slump and fire the team up?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
I think that's giving him a bit too much credit from the premeditation standpoint, though I have no doubt he fired his team up. There are a lot of things you can say about Torts -- for example: "he's a maniac" -- but he will always go to the mat for his players. He is loyal to a fault and very passionate. Players like that, as you could see from their post-game comments Saturday night. Was it worth it? I dunno, 15 days away from the team is a steep price
Mike Green: (Pick one)1. Asset--Great puck-moving defense man and power play orchestrator; or2. Liability--Can't find anyone to cover in any defensive situation.
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
To me, right now, the cost is outweighing the benefit
Why the wait??? Who will wear the "C" for the USA in Sochi?My vote is for Backes.
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
My vote is for Parise, though Backes is a fine choice as well. And while we'e on the topic, I'd like to amend my top three picks for the Olympics:Gold: SwedenSilver: CanadaBronze: USA
Katie,Are you hearing anything from other GMs about security concerns in Sochi?
Katie Strang (3:38 PM)
Not GMS in particular -- many will not be in Sochi -- but from players and media types, sure. Hard not to be aware of the safety concerns over there right now. Bruce Arthur wrote a fantastic article about that today. Make sure to check it out -- a fantastic read about the political climate and subsequent safety measures in effect
Blackhawk fan dreaming...is Byfuglien available, have you heard? He'd be great back on the Hawks but I've been also hearing Ladd may be a target that Bowman has his sights set on...have you heard anything on either front?
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Have heard that Byfuglien is available, yes. That's about all I know on that front
Think there will be any takers for Marian Gaborik at the deadline? If so, what can the Jackets realistically expect in return?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
Probably depends on when he returns, whether he plays for Slovakia in the Olympics and how he performs. Could see him as a fit for some teams looking for help up front out West
Which forward gets the call first if the US needs another one to fill a roster spot on the Olympic team?
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
I sure hope it's Bobby Ryan, just to see a whole lot of awkwardness ensue....
Hey Katie, coming from Minnesota I am a huge Thomas Vanek fan. While I am also an Islanders fan I would rather have him here. With the salary cap expected to increase by about 7 million. Will the Islanders to absolutely anything possible to keep him in NYC to not look like a bad trade?
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
I think they will very likely swing for the fences with him, yes. What he'll have to decide is what's important. Does he think he can win with the Islanders? Does he feel they are committed to getting better? A chance at free agency is one players are loathe to give up, but Garth Snow will certainly give it a shot.
Can the NHL please admit they over did the outdoor games this year? Everyone knew it was just bad and took away the classic feel of the Winter Classic.... but now with the way ticket sales have gone for most of the games, the NHL has to see it was a big mistake
Katie Strang (3:44 PM)
I think they will definitely scale back next year, Reilly. The flurry of games this year was designed to build off of the hype leading into the Olympics. Even then, I think they will realize they might have over-extended just a bit
Katie, do you think there is any substance to the rumors of NYR trading Girardi? Is Sather worried about re-signing him?
Katie Strang (3:46 PM)
I think there is a possibility he gets dealt. I also think the same for Callahan. The Rangers will have to see where they are at when the deadline approaches but it in the position they are in right now, it seems unrealistic that they'd move one of their top-pair dmen. That said, they probably need to explore the market for both Callahan and Girardi
Katie Strang (3:47 PM)
Ok all, we are going to end there today. Have a great rest of the week and if you are attending the Stadium Series game in The Bronx this weekend, stay warm!See you next week :)