Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the latest news from around the ice.
Strang is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (1:00 PM)
Hey hockey fans! Looking forward to another lively chat. Great questions last week. Let's get after it for another afternoon of puck talk.FIre Away!
Ed (Queens Village)
If you had to pick 1 this season Kings repeat as Cup Champs or Red Wings miss playoffs for 1st time this century?
Katie Strang (1:03 PM)
Well, I really do not like ever doubting the Wings. That record speaks for itself and the club has a well-earned reputation for its winning culture. That said, I think the chances of them missing are far greater than a Kings repeat. Winning a Cup takes so many elements beyond great personnel and a bevvy of talent. It takes grit, depth and yes, some luck. Especially during the salary-cap era, dynastic teams are harder to come by. Anything can happen in the East though I am banking on Wings making it again this year,
If you were Chuck Fletcher, what would you do with your goalie situation? Are you tempted to sign Brodeur?
Katie Strang (1:05 PM)
If I were Chuck Fletcher I'd be extremely concerned about my goaltending situation. I know he said publicly that there will be training camp competition with Harding, Backstrom and Kuemper but I wouldn't feel too confident with that. That's why, since the trade deadline, many assumed Brodeur would be a great fit there. His sons also play at famed hockey prep school Shattuck St. Mary's in Fairbault, MN. Makes a lot of sense. But I think Brodeur is holding out for potentially an injury situation that opens a spot up.
Mike (Howell NJ)
Is this a make or break training camp for JT Miller? And are NYR going to have a shot at Kevin Hayes ?
Katie Strang (1:06 PM)
I think the Rangers would definitely like to see him assume that third-line center role, yes. But I don't think this is make or break for him. The prospect that I think is under the most pressure to crack the roster and make a strong impression in training camp is D Dylan McIlrath.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, what do you think of all the offseason moves made by the Penguins? This team had clearly stagnated in the playoffs, the coaches appeared to have lost the locker room, and massive changes were needed from the top down. On paper their third and fourth lines look to be much improved with the return of Sutter and Goc and additions of Spaling, Downie and Comeau...as opposed to last year when they were playing barely NHL caliber talents in the playoffs (Vitale, Glass, Gibbons). But with the Neal trade and the loss of Jokinen....who is going to score goals for this team besides the two big guns (and maybe Kunitz)?
Katie Strang (1:09 PM)
Really like the Ehrhoff signing, a preddy modest, shrewd deal, which is rare during that first week of free agency. And I think Pens will be ok with Ehrhoff, Letang, Maatta, and Martin on D, especially since some of their other young D prospects got some NHL experience last season. But I think some of their forward depth will be a concern. Losing Neal will hurt, but I think it was the right call to ship him out. Don't be surprised if it's a veteran like Jussi Jokinen that they miss more
So reports are out that Torey Krug is trying to leverage a KHL offer against the Bruins since he has no other leverage, isn't that a super dangerous game because the Bruins already have David Warsofsky who is basically Krug 2.0 signed for next year and waiting in the wings at a very cap friendly price?
Katie Strang (1:10 PM)
It's a pretty transparent move at gaining leverage and I doubt it's going to work. Krug wants to play in the NHL.
Brent (St. Paul)
Who do you see gettiing more starts for the Sharks in net this year? Stalock or Niemi?
Katie Strang (1:12 PM)
Really good question, as Niemi truly fell out of favor last spring. Look for Stalock to push him from the get-go, one of just many ripe storylines out in San Jose. Very intrigued to see what they do with the captaincy as well. McLellan made some interesting comments to NHL.com recently. Sounds as if they want the direction of the team in younger hands with someone like Logan Couture
Brian (St. Louis) [via mobile]
How do your see the insanely stacked central division playing out? Who's in and who's out?
Katie Strang (1:14 PM)
Oh man, so difficult to handicap! And I'm sure this is already different from what I ventured last week:1) Chicago2) St. Louis3) Minnesota4) Dallas5) ColoradoI could see Dallas surprising some people and Colorado taking a step back this season
Do you think that Griffin Reinhart will have a noticeable impact on the islanders defense or is he to young?
Katie Strang (1:17 PM)
Made a strong impression last season during camp before he was sent back to his junior team. In retrospect, that decision was probably best for Reinhart, who went on to win a Memorial Cup Championship with the Edmonton Oil Kings last season. He could very well make the jump this year. Defensemen traditionally take a little longer to develop, so don't be surprised is he spends time in the AHL for some seasoning as well. No reason to rush it
Will the Canucks turn around this year and have sights on the cup?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
I do not see them as a Cup contender this season, Danno. Afraid not.
Matt (Stratford, CT)
KatieWhat is going on with the sale of the Isles? You can't make this stuff up. Any truth to another buyer?
Katie Strang (1:21 PM)
No kidding, right? Got to give credit to Islanders fans, who are, in my opinion, among the most passionate as well as long-suffering. You really can't make this up. Unfortunately, I think the biggest impediment toward a sale of the team is that Charles Wang has an inflated sense of value when it comes to the club. Multiple people I have talked to said he is just not being realistic, and this most recent lawsuit is not helping matters. I am aware of one other potential suitor, though I'm not sure the level of interest at the current price tag. Wang also wants to retain a 25% stake in the team, which may give some potential buyers pause
Can you give any insight as to why the Habs traded Gorges and signed Gilbert? Is Gilbert considered that much of an upgrade?
Katie Strang (1:24 PM)
I don's see Gilbert as an upgrade, no. I found that trade puzzling as well, but I think part of it was financial, with Gilbert's annual cap hit $1.1 million lower than Gorges. Plus, I think there was a sense that, though Gorges is a tremendous leader, he has a lot of hard miles on him. Interested to see him and Gionta in Buffalo. Like those two players a lot
Will Martin Brodeur be signed by anyone or has his ship sailed?
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
He still wants to play, so I doubt the ship has sailed. Best move now is probably to wait until training camp. There will be injuries and spots will open up. He has earned the right to be selective
who do you think becomes the Habs captain? Have you heard anything?
Katie Strang (1:26 PM)
I wrote last week about former Habs teammate Mathieu Darche endorsing either PK Subban or Brendan Gallagher to wear the C, and I kind of liked that thought if the Habs want to hand the baton to some of the young guys. Maybe Plekanec if they want to go with a vet
Dara (South Florida)
Hey Katie. Hope you had a great summer! Looking forward to the hockey season that is right around the corner. What do you think of the Panthers rookies Barkov and Bjugstad? Do you think they have a shot at the playoffs this season? A lot has changed in the organization.
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
Hey Dara! ALways good to hear from you! A lot has changed in South Florida, indeed and I imagine that Gerard Gallant will be a breath of fresh air for the hockey club. One of Panthers' best assets is their young prospects, including Barkov and Bjustad and Huberdeau. Add in David Bolland, a bona fide starter in Roberto Luongo and a couple of veteran defenseman and they can really make some significant strides forward. To be honest, though, I do not see them making the playoffs.
Ron Duguay (New York City)
Katie, let me get this straight? You gave up your position in NYC and instead moved back to Grand Rapids? Michigan? Did ESPN-NY name your replacement yet? P.S. There was a story in the NYDN last week that I got banned from the owners box at MSG during the playoffs because I was getting so much attention from the ladies it was taking attention away from Jimmy D and the Straight Shots. True story. My shirts are irresistable.
Katie Strang (1:34 PM)
Sorry to hear about your predicament. Keen fashion sense can get you into trouble. I did indeed move to Michigan from NY, but for good reason. I got married and the mitten is home for both me and my husband. Hard to compete with home :)Luckily I did not have to give up my great gig. I will now be doing national hockey coverage for ESPN. Looking forward to expanding my horizons though I will miss the Big Apple!
Will the Rangers trade for another scoring forward? Jeff Gorton alluded to that in an interview this summer. Is Marc Staal potential trade bait?
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
The Rangers should try to lock up Staal long-term. Steady veteran that is a quality leader from within that room. If they get the sense that he is not willing to re-sign, however, expect the trade speculation to begin a la Ryan Callahan. Having seen his teammate go through that situation last year, though, I doubt Staal wants to endure the same
are the teams lower in the standings this year gonna start selling earlier so as to increase their chance at McDavid
Katie Strang (1:36 PM)
No. No one is going to intentionally tank
How much of a step forward do you see the Capitals making this year with their offseason acquisitions? Will this finally be the year they go deep into the playoffs?
Katie Strang (1:38 PM)
They certainly bolstered their blue line, which has been an area of concern in recent years. Personally, I'm not crazy about the Orpik signing, but I do like the fact the Caps were able to land Matt Niskanen. Will be interested to see what that means for Mike Green moving forward as well
Erik (Pittsburgh, PA)
Can Kris Letang get back to his old form?
Katie Strang (1:39 PM)
Yes, I think he can. COming back from such a serious, frightening condition is sort of unchartered territory, but he definitely showed flashes of his old self at points last spring. Having a full off-season to prepare should help tremendously, I imagine.
Hi! it looks like Steve Y did a fantastic job in the offseason. Nabbing players like Brian Boyle, Jason Garrison, Anton Stralman. and others (Resigned Bishop also). Do you think they have a shot at the cup?
Katie Strang (1:41 PM)
I think the Lightning is the most intriguing team in the East right now. They could really be a dangerous club and I liked many of their off-season moves. Add in Drouin and things are bound to get really interesting. I think a lot will hinge on the play of Ben Bishop as well.
Jesse (Long Island)
Will Islanders fans ever just have a stable owner who wants what's best for the team and its fans? Does the other investor group that Wang alluded to in the Barroway complaint exist?
Katie Strang (1:43 PM)
I hope they do, Jesse, because they deserve it. As far as the second part of the question, the other suitor I've heard about is not part of a group. Obviously, that requires deep pockets to do it on your own but that's exactly what the Isles need: someone committed to devoting resources to the franchise and handling things the right way from the top down.
I know nobody can pick the Wild because of the uncertainty of goaltending situation to be a true contender in the West for the Cup. I get that. That being said, if they somehow got one consistent guy as the year goes along to take the reigns, can this team challenge yet for a Cup?
Katie Strang (1:45 PM)
I think it's hard to picture them as a legitimate Cup contender because of the goaltending situation but they do have some great pieces to build around and they made a big step forward this season by winning a round and pushing the Hawks in six games. You have a Parise, a Vanek, a Suter, you have some cornerstone pieces. Bunch of young talent, too. Lot to like about the WIld. I think their goaltending will make or break them
What the heck do the Rangers do with Rick Nash now that he's had a disastrous playoff run. Where do they play him or do they look to deal him?
Katie Strang (1:47 PM)
Not sure. He has had good production in the regular season and the Rangers need that but his ineffectiveness in the playoffs is definitely an issue for concern. That's when they need his game-breaking ability the most, yet he has struggled in the post-season for the Blueshirts.
Bill (College Station)
Katie, thank you for doing these chats. Do you agree with me that the gap between the East and West will grow this season?
Katie Strang (1:48 PM)
I think the dominance out West will continue, though I don't know if I think the gap will widen. Seems to be a pretty sizable disparity already
How does the goaltending situation play out for the Ducks this year?
Katie Strang (1:49 PM)
I really see Gipson as the future between the pipes for the Ducks
Ben (San Jose)
Sharks...better or worse this year?
Katie Strang (1:50 PM)
Worse. Sounds like a ton of dysfunction and this hemming and hawing about rebuilding seems counterintuitive. Difficult to discern the direction of this team and a change in captaincy could lead to a pretty bitter situation with Thornton.
Favorite Robin Williams movie?
Katie Strang (1:51 PM)
Thanks for asking this one, Pete. Mrs. Doubtfire. Actually the joint favorite of me and my best friend, Jenny Vrentas (of Sports Illustrated/MMQB.com). We called each other last night after new broke and said we had to set a date to watch together in memoriam.
Now that all of the dust settled, who ended up on top on the Callahan/St Louis trade?
Katie Strang (1:53 PM)
Kind of a win-win as I see it. Callahan re-signed with TB and Rangers made SCF. Worked out well for both clubs
Kimmo Timonen? Blood clots? Yikes, that doesn't sound good. Any news on his condition? Also, what's the story with Del Zotto? I don't know much about him.
Katie Strang (1:55 PM)
Yes, very scary and a very serious situation. Remember that Thomas Vokoun was sidelined with something similar last season. Though I am not a doctor and I don't know the severity of his condition (he's in FInland at the moment), this is not good news for his prospects this season. As far as Del Zotto, a very talented, young player that has some maturing to do. On the ice, he has tons of offensive upside but can make some bone-headed mistakes at times, too.
Katie Strang (1:56 PM)
Ok all, that's it for today. Thanks for stopping by and make sure to join me next week!