Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Friday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the New York area teams on ice.
After spending the past two seasons as the Islanders beat writer for Newsday, Strang joins ESPNNewYork.com to cover the Rangers, Isles and Devils. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Send your questions now and join Strang Friday at 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (12:59 PM)
Hey everyone! Happy Holidays! Will try to get to as many questions as possible. Got a lot of typing to do to work off the weight from Mama Strang's homemade cream puffs...
Hi Katie! Is this a hot start or was Hagelin expected to have this kind of offensive impact?
Katie Strang (1:02 PM)
Hey Alex. I think this is what the Rangers hoped to see from Hagelin in training camp but didn't. They wanted him to push guys and compete for a spot. Didn't happen as planned but it's working out pretty well now. Just saw @JimCerny tweet a pretty interesting stat: Rangers are 12-3-1 since Hagelin made his debut
Johnny (New York)
Katie- with 48 games left, any slim chance the Islanders turn it around & make the playoffs?
Katie Strang (1:03 PM)
Highly doubt it. Their record isn't even much better than last year, when they lost 13 straight and went 1-for-21. They had a pretty strong second half and were not in it, so I don't expect them to be this season, either. Just not good enough
Derek (New York)
Should the Islanders trade Montoya, assuming he comes back healthy soon?
Katie Strang (1:05 PM)
If they are out of it and they can get some good value for him, I guess. But Nabokov hasn't been very good. And we all know DiPietro's status is always tenuous. I still think Montoya is the best of the three, but I think it's nearing the point to let young guys Poulin and Nilsson get some starts. What's to lose?
How does Tim Sestito manage to stay in the Devils line up?
Katie Strang (1:06 PM)
I don't necessarily think today's lineup change is an indictment of Ryan Carter. DeBoer said the plan all along has been to rotate guys in and out on the fourth line to keep them "hungry and desperate." After Monday's loss, that's what he's trying to do.
Matt (Orlando, FL)
Ok Katie, big decisions are going to have to be made coming up with players getting healthy. Who are the odd men out on offense and defense when Staal, Sauer, Woywitka, and Wolski come back?
Katie Strang (1:09 PM)
You are right, big decisions are looming. I think Woywitka comes out once Staal returns, Stralman or Bickel once Sauer comes back. To me, Wolski is the more intriguing scenario. When he is healthy, I think the Rangers will send Avery down. He's been scratched eight straight. I actually think Avery would be more effective in the lineup before Wolski, but Wolski's salary is too big to try to bury in minors. Could also be claimed off waivers.
Bryan (West Village)
How does Staal look? Would it be smart to play him in the Winter Classic knowing that it's likely going to be a brutally played game?
Katie Strang (1:11 PM)
I don't think you can pick and choose like that. He is going to play once he is ready to play. And that means hard hits, nasty games, whatever. I don't think he'll be back in time for the Winter Classic . He still needs time to improve his conditioning. He has been breaking in his Winter Classic gloves, however, so it is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
Rick DiPietro (Long Island)
Know of any good doctors? I could use a different one now.
Katie Strang (1:11 PM)
Dubinsky has been looking better as of late and I like him on the line with Boyle and Mitchell, but when will he and Boyle finally have some pucks find the back of the net?
Katie Strang (1:13 PM)
Get the sense they are starting to turn the corner. They are doing some good work on that line together. The trio was used in the third period against the Islanders' top line MOnday and Tortorella really liked the way they worked hard to keep them hemmed in.
How is Bickel's eye looking?
Katie Strang (1:13 PM)
Holy smokes. I saw it during the game and was frightened to see it yesterday. Pretty grisly. But sounds like he is playing tonight, albeit with a protective shield. Tough guy.
Now that Jacob Josefsen has been cleared to skate, when he returns do you think the coaching staff would consider moving Elias back out to wing?
Katie Strang (1:15 PM)
I would imagine that to be the case. Don't think you want to screw with Parise-Henrique-Kovalchuk. Neither Henrique, Josefson, Elias, or Zajac should be centering a fourth line. Will shuffle. But he's still a good distance from returning. A lot can change before then.
Garth has a press live chat thing today, do you expect anything of substance or announcements?
Katie Strang (1:16 PM)
Not really. Worth giving it a crack, but he isn't too forthcoming. Can't imagine that has changed with his team in the bottom of the East once again. Also, what is there to say?
Brad (New York)
What would you say the Rangers chances are on a cup run? Any tweaking to the run before the deadline to better the chance?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
I think the Rangers will definitely target a defenseman as the deadline approaches. I really like the way the Rangers are constructed and the way they are playing. They aren't even playing their best hockey and they are streaking. Their resilience and balance is very impressive, as is their work ethic. The last is a testament to Tortorella. For a team with as much talent as they have, they rarely get outworked
Bryan (West Village)
A girl that loves hockey? Will you marry me?!
Katie Strang (1:19 PM)
Can you cook?
what do you think the future holds for brodeur u think he will be here next yr?
Katie Strang (1:21 PM)
I don't think so. I think he will retire after next season. The Post's Larry Brooks wrote a great column about Brodeur recently, in which he essentially says that he will retire on his own terms. Doesn't want to be pushed out. That to me indicates a guy mindful of his legacy and the way he wants to exit. Nothing worse than an aging veteran who doesn't have a good grasp on this (I'm looking at you, Brett Favre).
Will Dylan Reese be brought back up? I thought he played very well. I think DeHaan should get a shot as well. Staois, Mottau and Eaton bring nothing and are not part of the future.
Katie Strang (1:23 PM)
I bet he will. Reese is a pretty good depth defenseman and he's been a good call-up guy for the Islanders perpetually-depleted back end. If the team continues to sputter, young guys like de Haan will get more opportunities. Think Ness will get some games as well. Maybe Donovan, too?
Do you think giving Biron this many starts (playing tonight vs WAS) is aggravating Hank? He likes his work and it's hard seeing him sit when he's in such a groove. I agree he needs more rest than he had in the past and I'm unsure of how many games Biron is on pace to start but it sure seems like a lot.
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
No. I think having a strong backup can only be positive for Lundqvist. Let's face it, the guy is having a Vezina-quality year. Always good to get him some rest while you can. And having a guy like Biron backing up is a good way to push him. Not like he needs it the way he's playing right now.
Will the islanders rebuild ever start to pay off?
Katie Strang (1:28 PM)
Wish I could give you a better answer on this Michael. Had you asked me this last April, I'd have told you this was the year they turn the corners and make the playoffs. Clearly, I was wrong. God bless Matt Moulson, who just keeps trucking and chipping in with another great season. But it's worrisome for John Tavares to not have more good players around him. And while we are on the development topic: Nino Niederreiter? Sheesh. Travis Hamonic will be a stud for them on D for man years to come, but they've got to keep adding to the mix to get better. Right now, they are simply stagnating.
Paul (New Rochelle)
Having been around the Rangers a lot, is there anything that you have seen in 24/7 that has even surprised you?
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
No, not much. Tortorella is very, what-you-see-is-what-you-get. Not too much salacious stuff with players. Wish they would've shown more with Pronger re: concussion. Think they missed a good opportunity to explore what is the most frightening issue in the NHL right now. And of course, I wish for more Ilya Bryzgalov. All Ilya, all the time. On a funny note: my roommate watched the second episode with me last night and asked: Is Henrik Lundqvist also a male model?
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
OK on that note, we are gonna wrap things up. Thanks for stopping by!!!! See you all next week in the New Year!