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)
Greetings all! Lots to digest following lsat week's trade deadline so let's get to it!
Is the "no comment on rumors" statement by Vancouver GM Mike Gillis the official kiss of death for Torts? They always seemed like strange bedfellows, and the Canucks recent slide coupled with the inevitable rebuild (Luongo gone, Kesler going this offseason, etc...) makes it seem like fait accompli that they'll go in another direction, no?
Katie Strang (3:04 PM)
Lou- It's definitely not a good sign for Tortorella, as his team is in an absolute free fall and speculation continues about his security in Vancouver. Things are not looking good right now and he's a coach that comes with his fair share of baggage. His brash style wears on players, and he's known for saddling stars with heavy minutes. The incident in Calgary certainly did not help his cause with Mike Gillis. According to who you believe, Gillis didn't want him in the first place; some reports suggested it was owner Francisco Aquillini who made the call. I think someone's head will roll, though I don't know if it would be wise for Vancouver to let go of both Torts and Gillis, considering both guys have four years remaining on their respective deals
Hi Katie! The Rangers have shown some promise using their speed to create scoring chances, but as evident in the Carolina game last night, when teams shut their speed down, it doesn't seem that this team is capable of grinding out wins- which is exactly what will need to happen to beat Boston in the post season. What are your thoughts?
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
They are just so maddeningly inconsistent that it is very difficult to get a read on this Rangers team. I think they could make it to the Eastern Conference Finals as easily as they could miss the playoffs entirely. If they play like last night, it will be the latter
Do you think Callahan will stay with Tampa?
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
I think there is a chance that the two sides have contract talks before season's end, but I still bet he tests free agency. I think he'd be interested in Buffalo if the Sabres were willing to pay him what he's seeking though the tax situation in Fla may be appealing to Callahan
Doug (Long Island)
Good afternoon Katie,What do you think is the biggest difference between BOS/PIT and the next handful of teams in the East are (NYR/PHI/MTL etc) ? mainly NYR's as I am a fan....
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
Depth and consistency. I believe Boston will be the team to beat come playoff time. They have size, skill, balance and terrific goaltending
Hi Katie, After grueling negotiations with Cally, Girardi and Hank I can't blame Mark Staal for wanting to know his future before next season. How do you see Sather handling that?
Katie Strang (3:09 PM)
I think it would behoove Sather to first ask Staal whether he is entertaining the possibility of joining his brothers in Carolina. Would be hard to fault him for that, but if that's the case the Rangers need to know so they can explore a trade rather than losing him for nothing. If he wants to remain with the club, Sather can't afford to let negotiations drag out as they did this season
Darren (Northern NJ)
Do you think the Devils can grab a wild card spot or are they just toying with my emotions at this point?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
You bet. It's wide open in the middle of the Eastern Conference and it's going to be a nasty battle for that last wild car spot. As it stands they are only two points back on Philadelphia, though the Flyers have a game in hand
Who wins the Pacific Division Title, Anaheim or San Jose? And how important is home ice going to be this year? Last year it was everything (Sharks lose in 7 to LA, home team 7-0 / Blackhawks won president's trophy & cup), the year before when the Kings won it meant nothing (first 8th seed to win the cup, won games 1
Katie Strang (3:12 PM)
Well, the Sharks were my pre-season pick to win the Cup so I should probably stick with them though my gut tells me Anaheim. Think the Central division title will be a close race as well with Colorado keeping the top two honest right now
Hi Katie! Wouldnt it be wise for the Islanders to give Buffalo this years 1st Rd pick unless its top2? Nxt years draft is much deeper.
Anton Khudobin has been playing alot lately, which is surprising because Cam Ward is healthy now. Is now the Canes #1 guy?
Katie Strang (3:14 PM)
Sure looked like it the way he played the other night against the Rangers. He was terrific.
Ryan (Atlantic City)
Biggest sleeper team? A team maybe not at the top that you think can go on a long playoff run?
Katie Strang (3:15 PM)
I continue to be intrigued by Columbus. Think if they can sneak into the post-season they will at least surprise some people
Ryan (New York)
Why did the NYR sign Haggerty and decide to bring him to the NHL roster now? Who is he going to replace in the regular lineup?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Not quite clear at this point but he is expected to join the team in New York this weekend, so we'll get a better idea then. Led the ECAC with 28 goals in a terrific season with RPI this year
Katie - just think of it. The Stars keep rolling and make the playoffs. That means Timmy Thomas will be front and centre for another Stanley Cup run. Makes a potential Dallas vs St. Louis, San Jose or Anaheim a lot more interesting, no?
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
Another team with which I am becoming increasingly intrigued. Huge character win last night after an emotional couple of days. And that move to acquire Tim Thomas is looking pretty shrewd now with Kari Lehtonen on the shelf
Who makes the playoffs out of the Metro besides Pitt? NYR, Philly and CBJ have all shown potential. Could one of those 3 be a wildcard so that all 3 get in?
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
Yes. And I wouldn't count out that scenario to be the one we see when the regular season comes to a close
Thoughts on the way the Peverley situation was handled? NHL should be very proud
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
Extremely. Traded messages with Stars GM Jim Nill yesterday and he was really proud of the way his staff handled the situation. Really, everyone involved in the incident handled it with poise and class. A very scary thing, for sure, but encouraging to see such a prompt response and outpouring of support
Do you see this so called amazing rookie who just came up for Washington playing on the top line soon since they need to win now?
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
Very possible. Sounds like Adam Oates didn't put him there right away out of respect to the Caps veterans. But Washington needs to win some games and points are critical, so the time for respecting people's feelings/egos will soon be over
Do you believe the return of Luongo to the Panthers can reignite the building efforts Tallon put in place when they won the division?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
It certainly gives them some stability at that position for years to come, which is a good thing. But the Cats have plenty more holes to fill and that needs to happen before the team makes significant strides forward
John (Edison, NJ)
What do you think will trip up the Sharks in the playoffs this year? I'm saying it will be goaltending, but Patty and Joe will take the blame.
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
Power-play? Though evidence from previous seasons suggest that teams haven't necessarily been hurt by bad power-plays in the playoffs. Believe both CHI and BOS were among the worst of the teams that made the post-season and it didn't work out too bad for them
Vanek is playing the second line, do you see it being that way moving forward?
Katie Strang (3:25 PM)
Depends how he plays. He may have some extra incentive now as he approaches free agency. Have to wonder if the trade deadline was a wakeup call for him. Really seems that GMs began to sour on him after the Olympics
Marc (Malden, MA)
I'm glad the Stars/Blue Jackets postponed the rest of the game and I hope Peverly is ok...but why was this different than any other type of serious injury? We've seen guys stretchered off the ice so many times I've lost count and not once have they stopped the game.
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
That's a really good question and I'm not sure, to be honest. I thought the same thing. I think part of the reason was because it was obviously so dire, especially with the knowledge of Peverley's pre-existing heart condition. Might also have to do with the limitations of the medical staff should the game had continued, since they were already consumed with treating Peverley
Stempnaik looked good with Crosby last night. I think they might have a top line set moving forward. Your thoughts, as they really seem to have rounded out their lineup.
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
This may be wholly unfair to Marc-Andre Fleury, but I still have my doubts and that won't change until he has a really solid series in the playoffs. Hard to forget last spring
Any chance of a Callahan/Rangers reuinion in the offseason? Would sure make them the clear winners of the MSL trade
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
I'd be shocked. Think Callahan is probably hurt by the whole situation and would have too much pride to return
Stamkos just isn't the same, but I see him being better with Callahan. Why wouldn't they play on a line together?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Let's give him a little time, hey? He's coming back from a really serious injury. Not gonna happen overnight
In your opinion, has Henrik Lundqvist solidified himself as the greatest NYR goalie of all time once he surpasses the records of Giacomin and Richter?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Not until he wins a Cup. That's one thing that Mike Richter has that Lundqvist does not.
Scale of 1-10, how disappointed are you that we never got to see the Luongo/Thomas tandem in the same dressing room?
Katie Strang (3:31 PM)
Taylor Hall is having such a good year, but no one is talking about that... due to the team he's on and why can't EDM find a decent line to put him on.
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
So tough for young stars when they are stuck on a team that has such a pervasive losing culture. Young guys get used to losing and they don't know any better. Can be toxic, frustrating, and detrimental to development.
Joe (Long Island)
what is with the league giving the devils back a number one pick albeit at end of round.this opens pandoras boxshould the league also rescind the cap recapture penalty which was done after the fact on contracts signed prior to this new cba
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
Great question Joe, and you can bet that every GM around the league was wondering the same thing. Sure did seem to be a dangerous precedent for the league to set. If I'm GM of a team subject to cap recapture penalties in the future, I'd begin building my case now in the event that the same sort of wiggle room exists. And how must it feel for all the GMs that went about their jobs the right way and steered clear of anything that had even the faintest sniff of circumvention. Has to feel like they are getting a raw deal
Eric (Boston )
Cam Ward sighting last night and he did well. Do you think we'll see him more now? I know Khudobin just got a two year deal, so he probably remains "the guy" right? I liked seeing the old Ward back though and that was a big win vs the Rangers last night!
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Yes it was a good game for him, though the Rangers didn't do much to test him, either. Regardless, Ward recorded his fist win since December 31, a positive step moving forward after an injury-hampered and otherwise disappointing season.
Who would you rather have behind your bench for Game 7...Claude Julien or Dan Bylsma?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Since you are from Detroit, you can imagine the strong pull I feel to remain loyal to our Mitten brethren, but I'm still a little salty over the Olympics so I must say I'd go with Julien
At his presser today, it was announced that Peverley has been shut down at least for this season, maybe longer pending surgery. It would be harsh if he had to retire, but in the end I am happy he is taking care of himself first.
Katie Strang (3:38 PM)
And that does have to be the first priority. Peverley was extremely fortunate to receive such immediate, expert care, not just for his career, but for his life. No reason not to err on the side of caution with this. I know some people were praising his toughness for wanting to go back into the game when he regained conciousness, but that's just plain absurd
Have you ever been West of the Mississippi River? It seems not from the questions you answer.
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
The first question I answered today was about Vancouver! You're killing me!
Sean (Orange County, CA)
Honestly, what are your thoughts on the Western Finals? I say Anaheim and Chicago. What do you think??
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
Anaheim and St. Louis. St. Louis being the team to beat in the West for me right now. Loved Doug Armstrong's bold approach at the deadline. He went all in and wants to win now. They are going to be a fun team to watch and Ryan Miller seems to be settling in quite nice with his new team
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
Ok folks, we will end there today. Thanks for joining and, as always, for the abundance of great questions. See you next week!