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 (3:00 PM)
Hey all! Hope everyone had a good weekend. Lots of good puck talk to cover today, so fire away!
Nick (New York, NY)
Given the Devils are nearly 14milion under the cap and with what seems to be a healthy batch of prospects do you envision the them making a deal for another top 6 forward? If so, who? Iginla? Weiss?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
Hey Nick-If the Devils keep rolling like this, I suspect they will certainly be players as the trade deadline approaches. They have some nice defensive depth (although I think they still lack that true No. 1 shutdown guy) that GM Lou Lamoriello could probably package to acquire a key forward down the stretch. But, I wouldn't expect any blockbusters. Remember that least season, Lamoriello made two pretty unheralded acquisitions -- Alexei Ponikarovsky and defenseman Marek Zidlicky -- that both turned out to be solid pieces for the team's run to the Cup finals in June. I'd expect something more along those lines.
How do you explain the LA Kings' slow start and did the lockout play a part? Thanks.
Katie Strang (3:06 PM)
Look no further than Jonathan Quick's numbers -- 2.70 GAA and .891 save percentage -- than to explain the Kings' situation. Which is not to suggest, the team's struggled rest squarely on his shoulders, but he was sensational last season. And this season he has not been, at least not yet. Cutting the Kings some slack, they got hit hard with injuries early this season and have been battling some of the league's toughest teams out West. I still think they get it together and make the playoffs
JUSTIN (MELVILLE NY)
WHO IS THE HEALTHY SCRATCH FOR THE BLUESHIRTS TONIGHT????
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
According to reports out of Boston, it appears center (and Boston native) Brian Boyle will be out, as will defensemen Stu Bickel and Steve Eminger
ozzie307 (new jersey)
Katie - As a lifelong Islanders fan, I think the Tim Thomas trade has sent me over the edge. It just the latest slap in the face to the fans from Charles Wang and Garth Snow. They refuse to invest in the on-ice product and make a bogus trade to artifically inflated the team's cap number. Wang has run this franchise into the ground and still refuses to put qualified hockey people in charge of the team. Snow is his puppet who carries out his salary cap circumvention to save money while lying to the fans about having "no restictions on payroll". How is this allowed to continue? Where is the NHL in this? Shouldn't this be a bigger story? Lastly, how do those two sleep at night?
Katie Strang (3:12 PM)
Understand your frustration, Ozzie. While Snow's move to acquire Thomas in what essentially amounted to a pure salary-cap transaction was a shrewd business move, it doesn't do much to bolster hopes that the organization is changing direction. They make a lot of moves based on money -- and I'm sure Snow is handcuffed to some extent by his boss on this -- and not on improving the on-ice product. Thomas won't report to the Islanders and he's taking up cap space that could be used by an actual contributing player. Definitely defies the spirit of the CBA, salary cap etc and it shows where the team's priorities remain, unfortuantely
Nicole C. (Raleigh)
Do you see the Hurricanes making it into the playoffs or do you think their weak defense will prevent them again?
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Think they will, especially considering how wide open the Southeast Division race is shaping up. And let's not forget about Jiri Tlusty's four-point night! ;)
Matt (Oaks, PA)
Thanks for taking the time again Katie. Do you think J.T. Miller sticks with the Rangers for the season? I have been pretty impressed with his game so far. Ever since him, Daroll Powe, and Chris Kreider entered the lineup the Rangers seem to have a nice balance that lets them role 4 lines. I guess the other issue is what to do with Brian Boyle then?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Yes, I do. Miller has been very impressive in his short time with the big club and he's not the type of guy who's going to be dipping his skate in the water. As John Tortorella would say, he's got some "swagger" to his game and the organization loves that. He adds a dynamic that the team had previously been lacking and if he proves he can play, he will stay. Think of how much the team changed last Thanksgiving when Hagelin (and John Mitchell) were recalled. That's when team started catching fire.
If you could redo the Nash trade, would you include Stepan over Anisimov if Colombus would have gone for it? I feel Anisimov fits the system better and has more upside. I miss him.
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
No chance. Stepan has had his ups and down this year, but his potential is much higher than Anisimov's in my opinion. Rangers are struggling without some of the pieces that were sent to CBJ in that trade, though. They miss guys like Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky. Also Ruslan Fedotenko and Brandon Prust, who signed elsewhere during free agency this summer
Why is Ryan Callahan on the top PP unit over Marian Gaborik? With all due respect to Callahan, he has not have an iota of Gaborik's scoring ability. Can you think of any other NHL team where Gaborik would not be on the top PP?Callahan is ahead of both Gaborik and Nash in PP TOI/game. Something doesn't compute, other than Tortorella playing favorites.
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
Going to disagree with you on this, Bill. While I will concede that Gaborik's offensive ability is greater than Callahan, I don't think he's been great as a power-play guy. Despite his stature, Callahan provides a good net presence and some snarl on the team's top unit. They missed that greatly when he was out with the shoulder injury.
Which team has been the biggest surprise 1/4 through the season and which team the biggest disappointment?
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
Didn't expect Chicago to be nearly this good, but they are absolutely scorching. Hossa, Kane leading the way on offense, Corey Crawford proving wrong all the doubters (1.62 goals against average this season ) at the quarter-mark. Team has yet to suffer a regulation loss, the longest a team has gone since Anaheim in 1006-07 (they went on to win the Cup).Biggest disappointment? Also, in the West. Seems as if the Blues are buckling under all that pre-season hype. Halak's injury and Elliott's subpar performance doesn't help. And it sounds as if the trouble runs deeper than that. If you don's know what I'm talking about, check out captain David Backes' comments after MOnday's loss to the Kings.Hoo boy....
It seems some teams are looking for defensemen I would think the Islanders will be looking to move Streit or Visnovski?
Katie Strang (3:25 PM)
Yes, I do. Especially considering Visnovsky's reluctance to play for them in the first place. If they are in a position to unload some pieces at the deadline (which I suspect they will), both those names could be on the block.
Do you see the Sens continue to struggle without Spezza ?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Oh, yes. Of all injuries suffered by NHL teams so far, that may be up there as the costliest. Senators were a great Cinderella story during the 2012 playoffs, but I worry about their ability to get there without Spezza
JOHN T. (Long Island)
What happens first with the Islanders.... Capuano gets fired or Snow gets fired?
Katie Strang (3:28 PM)
Capuano. Snow will have a job as long as Wang is the owner of the team.
JJ (Long Island)
does mcdonagh make the us olympic team as one of the top 6 dmen
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
I think he should. His game is truly impressive and he does it all while logging monster minutes. One of the best young talents on the blue line in the NHL, in my opinion. Only reason he'd get passed over is lack of pedigree, really
What do you make of Clarkson in NJ? He seems to be proving last year wasn't a fluke and that he can be one of the better power forwards in the league, who also has an edge to him.
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
So impressed with him John. I've always thought he was a really effective player, but I'll admit I was very skeptical he could replicate last season's success. He's proving me wrong, clearly, with another hot start to the season. The unrestricted-free-agent-to-be has helped lead the Devils to a stellar five-game winning streak and spot atop the Eastern Conference. Ask Clarkson and he'll tell you about puck luck and good bounces, but he truly works so hard to make that happen. He creates his own luck and is doing a fine job proving he's not a "flash-in-the-pan" 30-goal scorer.
When are the Rangers going to fix their power play? I can't recall when they last had one of the top 10 pps in the league.
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
They still do not have that one guy that is very adept at getting shots from the point through. Honestly, Anton Stralman might be their best right now when it comes to that.Assuming the team is in the position to make another playoff push, I suspect that will be an area they will try to upgrade.
Sean (Southern Indiana)
What can my Flyers do personnel-wise, either up-front or on the blue line, beside getting their best d-man (Meszaros) as well as Hartsy back?And when will they promote M.A. Bourdon and/or Gustavson?Thanks, Katie!
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
Injuries a big part in the Flyers' early struggles, although the team has been better of late. Think they could add both scoring depth up front and a boost to their blue line. I find their D corps pretty suspect
Michael (Bloomfield, NJ)
Katie, I'm growing wary of the injury reports regarding Danius Zubrus. What's the latest?
Katie Strang (3:38 PM)
Wasn't in Newark this morning, but reports indicate that he'll miss his fourth straight game tonight. According to Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger, it's an upper-back injury. Think it's wise to grow concerned with this one, Michael.Also interesting to take into consideration that he is on the last year of a six-year, $20.4 million deal. If it's an issue that could be helped by surgery, does he elect to undergo the procedure before testing the market in July?
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Who is the biggest surprise and biggest disappointment in the Eastern Conference?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
Devils are the biggest surprise. Remarkable run last season, but they are doing pretty well at dealing with Zach Parise's departure ever since the face of the franchise left to sign with his hometown Minnesota Wild this summer.Biggest disappointment? Caps. Not hugely shocked that it has taken some time with a new system and new coach under Adam Oates, but I don't think anyone expected them to be nearly this awful
JP_Parise (West Point, NY)
What exactly is Charles Wang's endgame? Clearly he could care less about the Islanders as a professional sports franchise, and I don't think being a tenant in Brooklyn was ever his goal. Of course it never seemed to occur to him that the team might be worth more if it didn't finish in the NHL toilet for the past half-decade.
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
I think the long-term lease with the Barclays Center was one of the few smart moves he has made. Team is hemorrhaging money, so I suspect he wants to sell. Problem is, I imagine asking price isn't consistent with team's true value
JP_Parise (West Point, NY)
Did Bruce Boudreau get the last laugh?
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
He just may well have. Anaheim has also been one of the most surprising feel-good stories of this young season. Very much looking forward to seeing what happens tonight vs. Chicago
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NYC Area NHL Team Has the Best Shot of Making the Playoffs this season?
Katie Strang (3:46 PM)
Hard to argue against the Devils, Chris (And I'm certainly learning my lesson there). Top spot in the East, looking to record their sixth straight win tonight vs. Carolina
any word on Michael Sauer
Katie Strang (3:49 PM)
Nope. In this case, status quo is really quite troubling. Absolutely no expectation on the Rangers' end that he will play for them at all this season. Also think there is some significant skepticism that he will ever play again. If that's the case, what an absolute shame. Really good young player who should have enjoyed a long career.
Tom (Totowa, NJ)
Hey Katie,With Brian Boyle's recent comments today, do you think he has played his last game with the Blueshirts?
Katie Strang (3:50 PM)
No, I think he'll make his way back into the lineup. Still believe he has what it takes to be a really effective player on this Rangers team, but he's fighting it right now.
Shannon (New York )
What place in the standings do you see the Rangers ending the season in?
Katie Strang (3:51 PM)
My guess is 4th, 5th or 6th. May not be the worse thing for them, either. As the eighth-seeded Kings proved last season, all it takes is for a team to get hot at the right time
Katie Strang (3:53 PM)
Ok all, that's it for today. Going to whip up some tea and hot soup to kick this nasty cold/flu that's going around. Thanks for all the great questions, as always. See you next week, same spot!