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 2 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (2:00 PM)
Helllllloooo hockey fans! Greetings from the press room at Madison Square Garden, where we are just hours away from a huge Game 6 between Rangers and Habs. Still yawning from the double-OT dandy of last night's playoff action. Sure some of you are in the same boat.Let's get to some puck talk, shall we?Fire away!
Katie, Which series goes 7?
Katie Strang (2:01 PM)
I have a sneaking suspicion Habs are gonna bring this one back to Bell Centre, Vince, and if that happens, the Rangers are in trouble. Saturday night hockey in Montreal is no joke. New York has to avoid that scenario at all costs
Ed (Queens Village)
Trotz or Lavy to have success with there new team?
Katie Strang (2:03 PM)
Yeah, I think they will. Both well-respected hockey minds that needed a change of scenery. Especially like the fit in Washington for Trotz. Think he could be really good for Ovechkin. Players love him. Just think the message got a little stale in Nashville.
Kevin (Portland, ME) [via mobile]
Who steps in tonight for the suspended Johnny Moore and how do the D pairings shake out?
Katie Strang (2:04 PM)
Alain Vigneault said both Raphael Diaz and Justin Faulk are available tonight, but you can bet it will be Raphael Diaz that draws into the lineup on the third defensive pairing. Though him and partner Kevin Klein are both right-handed shots, expect Diaz to play the left side. He's played there before and Vigneault sounded comfortable using him in that spot again
Hey Katie! What a great round of playoffs from the Western Conference!Do you think there is a shot the Panthers trade for someone like Evander Kane and/or Dustin Byfuglien?
Katie Strang (2:07 PM)
Hey Dara! Good to have you back here. Always love to see a chat regular hanging around even as the playoffs start. I can see the Panthers making some significant moves this summer and acquiring a top defenseman should be a focus for them. For that reason, Byfuglien may be an interesting choice, especially with his versatility. But I could see them over-spending on a Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen type as well. The latter is going to command a lot in free agency this summer. Think he's a really steady d-man who had a tremendous season but I could see a few teams willing to give him a very significant raise. Maybe there's a fit there
Dana Marie (New Jersey)
Do you think Moore's suspension was reasonable? What about Prust's?
Katie Strang (2:10 PM)
I do, though I have to say that I thought Moore would likely receive three games just because it seemed to me the quintessential Rule 48 violation, with the head the main point of contact. Regardless, I thought both were pretty fair. Weise is injured, by the way. And when asked about why he was let back in the Game, Therrien corrected our assumptions that he was sidelined with a concussion. Said it was a body injury. Luckily for the Habs, Prust is eligible to return tonight
Stan (Las Vegas)
Hey Katie..It is amazing how the officating has been so awful. I'm ready to say that NHL coaches should be able to have a reply challenge.
Katie Strang (2:12 PM)
I can understand teams' frustration, let's say that. If I were Dan Carcillo, I'd be bringing this to league's attention during his appeal on Friday morning with Gary Bettman. Scott Driscoll initiated contact with him, unprompted, and we all know what happens next. Rangers were not happy Driscoll was back officiating their games in the first place. And that's not to single him out. Officiating across the board has left a lot to be desired
Charles Toronto [via mobile]
I think the Ranger trade sending Del Zorro for Klein ? Klein is a good defenceman but do you think Del Zotto's puck skills would come in handy ?
Katie Strang (2:13 PM)
Great trade for the Rangers. In fact, I think Klein has been really really good the past two games in particular. Nothing flashy, but a steady, veteran presence on the back end. Del Zotto clearly has more offensive upside, but was really inconsistent
Katie, if the Kings can close out the Hawks tomorrow night they are taking one of the hardest paths in playoff history to get to the Cup Finals. (Sharks, Ducks, and Hawks) Would you agree?
Katie Strang (2:14 PM)
No doubt. And honestly, it's really hard to watch these games out West and not assume that either the Rangers or the Habs are going to be beaten pretty handily.
Hockey has lost some of its luster to me in large part due to the excessive diving of the past few years. I'd like to see the officials call the dives more, but in my mind some of the worse offenders are some of the very players who wear the best selling jersey's. Crosby (who was called out by two respected players on two big stages this season), Ovechkin (c'mon, that big of a man does not fall that easy), Subban (no explanation needed), Marchand, etc. In this woman's opinion the only way diving will be eradicated is if the league clamps down on everyone, including the games stars. And I just don't see that happening. Can you imagine the outrage if an official dares to call a diving penalty on the best player in the world? Any thoughts?
Katie Strang (2:18 PM)
Ha, not sure if the woman's opinion is much different than the man's on this one, but I have to admit I'm a little conflicted on this. If the officiating is as bad as it has been, and you're trying to win games, isn't it smart to try to exploit the malfeasance? It may not be "honorable" but let's be honest, it's hard to play the honor card when dirty hits are still very much a problem across the league. It's a calculated risk to dive, but I'm not a pearl-clutcher on this one.
Shouldn't Rene Bourque's Game misconduct at the end of the game 5 result in an automatic suspension?
Katie Strang (2:19 PM)
Nope. Same with Dorsett's. Though both would result in a fine, but wasn't shocked that they both got off scot-free
Where will Marty be playing next year? If not the Devils who will be backing up Cory?
Katie Strang (2:20 PM)
Marty may have a pretty rude awakening when he tests the market this summer. I think there are definitely some good landing spots for him as a backup, but if he's looking for a starter role, or even a 1A job, he may be pretty disappointed at his prospects
Bill (College Station, TX)
Katie, what are your favorite stadiums to watch games?
Katie Strang (2:21 PM)
Lambeau Field, Spartan Stadium for football. Bell Centre is by far and away the best venue for hockey
Mike Franceser (WFAN)
Ya'know Karly, da Rainjizz have been on da back pages of the NY Post fa' 13 straight days. Dis is supposed to be a Yankee town! What year do dey think it is, ninety faww! Ya'know I was in the building in Vancoovah. Back aftah dis....
Katie Strang (2:22 PM)
I will say this. I have seen Francesa at a few games recently. Perhaps he is catching the hockey bug...
Hi Katie, it was nice to FINALLY get an embellishment call against the Habs. Do you think the league is concerned that playoff hockey is starting to look like the world cup?
Katie Strang (2:23 PM)
Haha, I will admit Tomas Plekanec has been a pretty egregious embellisher the past two games
Barry (Long Island)
Thoughts on Halak and Isles "aggressive" summer start?
Katie Strang (2:24 PM)
Think that's a really solid move for them. Liked it a lot. Have been very critical of Isles GM Garth Snow in the past, but I think that was a very shrewd signing. Good goaltending was an absolute must for team this summer. Should stabilize them moving forward
Katie S On a scale from 0-10 how scary would a game on Saturday at the Bell Centre be for the NYR?
Katie Strang (2:25 PM)
GreginNH (New Hampshire)
Hi Katie,I think you picked MTL in 7, are you still sticking to that?
Katie Strang (2:25 PM)
I guess I should, right? Tried waffling in one of my videos with Pierre and caught a lot of flak for that. Well-deserved.
Mike (Boston )
If _________ scores tonight, the Rangers will win. I vote Brad Richards, what about you?
Katie Strang (2:26 PM)
Marty St. Louis. The guy has been playoff hero all spring long for Rangers
I know this has been said a lot but having watched both series it's clear that whoever comes out of the west is going to have a distinct advantage. The Hawks and Kings are both deeper on both offense and defense and play a more disciplined systematic game. No disrespect toward MTL or NYR but they're going to need Price (if he's back) or Lundqvist to stand on his head to have a shot against western conference champ right?
Katie Strang (2:28 PM)
Totally agree. Competition out West is just on another level. Holy smokes. I think either the Habs or the Rangers could enter the series with the goaltending advantage, but not sure what else. Those teams are just so, so good. Neither MTL or NYR has a defenseman on par with a Drew Doughty or a Duncan Keith.
Steve (Monmouth County, NJ)
It seemed that Hank was getting annoyed with the questioning this morning about game 5. Were those mostly from Montreal writers?
Katie Strang (2:29 PM)
No, I think they were mainly from NY writers. But he knows those are the type of questions he's going to get after a game like that. He'll be motivated to rebound tonight
Hi Katie. What are your thoughts on Montreals media tactics throughout the series, and most recently, now that the suspension is in, denying that Weise has a concussion?
Katie Strang (2:31 PM)
Well, suffice it to say that the Habs have been an entertaining team to cover :)I will say, that there seemed to be a concerted emphasis this morning on toning down the rhetoric and limiting the locker room fodder
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, if you HAD to choose only one thing to watch on the internet this week....would it be an endless loop of the Howie Rose call of the Matteau goal (on the 20th anniversary)...or a GIF of a baby hedgehog in a baking tray? You have to pick.
Katie Strang (2:31 PM)
I can never get enough hedgehog. You know that
Newt (Lake Mary, FL)
Is it the Prince of Wales Trophy that the Rangers will refuse to touch at center ice around 10:45pm tonight? And what will Ron Duguay wear to celebrate?
Katie Strang (2:32 PM)
That is indeed the superstition. But I think this series is going seven games, I really do
Jeppe (finland) [via mobile]
Who will win the stanley Cup (hello sharks) ?
Katie Strang (2:33 PM)
Alright, alright I know. If I had to choose, right now, which of the four teams remaining will win, I'd say LA. But CHI is not done yet. Defending champs pulled out a gutty win last night
As a Bruins fan it pains me to watch the Habs and Rangers battle it out to get to the Cup...I thought the Rangers would have just as much of a problem with the Habs speed as the B's did...why hasn't that been the case?
Katie Strang (2:33 PM)
Because the Rangers have made a dramatic shift this season to embrace and utilize speed as well. That's one of team's strengths for sure, so they can counter-punch with the Habs a little bit better than the Bruins
Joe Portland,Oregon [via mobile]
What are the chances of Matt moulson coming back to the Islanders?
Katie Strang (2:35 PM)
I'd say very slim. Loved playing there, still very close with his former teammates, but there is some bitterness that remains from how things ended this year. Wouldn't be shocked if he'd really like to go to LA to join his brother-in-law. But my guess is that Gaborik will be keen on sticking around as well
Hi Katie, wondering your thoughts around women and the NHL. The NFL just announced two female refs will be brought up in a training/developmental role and I'm curious as to your thoughts on where women might have a breakthrough with the NHL in the future. Coaching, reffing, I fondly remember watching and supporting Manon Rheaume growing up back in the early 90s and wonder if we'll ever see something similar again
Katie Strang (2:36 PM)
On officiating front: why not? If they have the training and experience, then absolutely the should be given the opportunity.I was a ref in college, basketball and football. Thankless job, I'll tell ya
What big moves do you see the Devils making this off season?
Katie Strang (2:37 PM)
They need to make some significant offensive upgrades. Can't have a 42-year-old leading your team in scoring, no matter how much I love the guy
Last night OT's was just amazing entertaining hockey...the speed and pace was incredible...I can't remember a better all around NHL playoffs in memory and that's coming from a Bruins fan who just lst to the Habs...your thoughts?
Katie Strang (2:38 PM)
Totally agree. Was absolutely thrilling to watch. Playoff hockey at its finest. What a game
Hi Katie, who has been the best player in the playoffs thus far?
Katie Strang (2:38 PM)
Any chance Price would play a potential game 7?
Katie Strang (2:39 PM)
No, Therrien has been emphatic that he is done for the series. If Habs advance, however, I would not be shocked at all to see him play in the SC final
How do you explain Henrick's poor performances when the Rangers have a chance to eliminate a team (other than games 7s).
Katie Strang (2:40 PM)
Probably just human nature to have a bit of a mental letdown when you know it's not a do-or-die situation.
What does Boomer Esiason know about hockey? Ugh...
Katie Strang (2:41 PM)
He's actual a very passionate fan and I do think he has legitimate sources at the executive/management level of NYR organization
Is Crwford playing up to his full potential? He seems like he's been in a slump...
Katie Strang (2:42 PM)
Nope. Quick hasn't been either. Think both of those two 'tenders have something more to show.
Captain America (USA)
Wearing the "C" in the NHL used to be such a high honor - it didn't always go to the most skilled player but the player who deserved it most. Nowadays, it seems the "C" is automatically given to the teams best player, despite childish antics or no desire to play defense. Do you think the "C" is losing it's luster in today's NHL? Does it mean as much as it did back in the 80's and even the 90's?
Michael [via mobile]
Off the board isles question here... Who do you see riding shotgun next to JT and KO next season?
Katie Strang (2:44 PM)
Yeah, I agree. I'm also not a fan of giving it to the star, or the "face of the franchise" just because. Also not keen on giving it to a young player who hasn't yet had the chance to fully develop an appreciation for what it means or entails. It doesn't take a letter or a "C' to lead, though. Brad Richards is the Rangers captain, and he wears an "A'
Rob, 72, Halifax [via mobile]
I have a question. When is the seventh game of the finals? Will it all be decided then?
Katie Strang (2:45 PM)
mike (new york)
If you're the winner of the East. Who would you rather face in Stanley Cup Final?
Katie Strang (2:45 PM)
Let's say the Rangers do win tonight... You mentioned last week you think Richards would be the one to hoist the Cup if they won it all... but since the Cally trade, I always thought Lundqvist should be the one (considering he would be the reason they win/Longest tenured Ranger), and I saw Bucci said the same thing on Twitter the other night.... would they think about sending him out or is it Richards all the way
Katie Strang (2:46 PM)
I think either of those two are the most obvious choice. Probably depends on who gets the Conn Smythe!But I hate to dash your hopes: I really don't see the Rangers winning the Cup. Think they will have trouble with either LA or CHI if they do advance
Are we ready to call Doughty the best defenseman in the league? He's been unreal this postseason - on another level than anyone else.
Katie Strang (2:47 PM)
I think so. He really turns it on when the lights are brightest. His skills are pretty stunning. And he's only, what, 24? That's scary. He won't win the Norris. But he's my odds-on favorite for the Conn Smythe
If Marty St. Louis scores tonight the Rangers win, you stated. Who must score if Montreal is to win tonight?
Katie Strang (2:48 PM)
What do you think of Pacioretty's play this series?
Katie Strang (2:48 PM)
Up and down. They need him to come up big tonight
Alex Ovechkin (Washington)
My new coach wants me to watch Jonathan Toews to see how to play defense. Is he on the youtube?
Katie Strang (2:49 PM)
Katie Strang (2:50 PM)
Ok all, that's it for today. Buckle up for an exciting night of hockey. Thanks for stopping by and, as always, all the great questions!