Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (1:00 PM)
And so we meet again...Hopefully you've had time to digest your turkey and stuffing because the enduring lockout can be pretty upsetting.I'll try to cover all bases here today, so fire away with all your questions! Frustrated rants/hockey haikus/ baking tips always welcome as well...
Katie - My sense is tomorrow's meeting is less about negotiating and more about each side explaining its position. I also cannot fathom the players changing the opinion of Jeremy Jacobs. Agreed?
Katie Strang (1:03 PM)
No way JJ is backing down from his hawkish, hard-line stance. On that you are correct. But, the inclusion of some new faces in the room -- Ron Burkle, Jeff Vinik, etc -- could have a positive impact on negotiations. Same could be said of the players. The process has grown stagnant and I believe there will need to be a big push from moderates on both sides to jump-start this thing again
Harry casillo (Greenlawn ny )
Is the strained bettman Dolan relationship the reason dolan is not in tomorrow meeting.
Katie Strang (1:05 PM)
Good question. It's certainly possible, although hard to know because of the limitations placed on team governors -- an NHL bylaw prohibits them from speaking to the media. My guess is that Bettman and the league wants to have a feel for sending in the room and each party's respective agenda. Gotta believe Jim Dolan desperately wants to play. Same goes for Ed Snider. Both conspicuously absent from the list
Aren't the whole points of these negotiations supposed to be about the players and owners??? Why did it take so long for them to realize this ?
Katie Strang (1:08 PM)
Keep in mind, there also needs to be stewards on each side with respect to the process. And legal protection. Safe bet that pretty much all the owners have pretty strong business acumen and also significant experience in negotiations. Players, outside of their own contracts, do not. Which is not to say this isn't an extremely informed, capable and intelligent group of individuals. It is, but they are trained on the ice, not in the board room. Would Jeremy Jacobs like facing Sidney Crosby in a shootout?
Reilly (New York)
Can we assume that because players keep going to Europe that both sides remain really far apart? Or do these players not have all the information about the talks going on? I feel like since they keep going, that a deal is no where close.
Katie Strang (1:10 PM)
There has been a consistent number of guys leaving to play abroad, but nothing even close to the exodus that occurred in the initial days after the league imposed the lockout back in September. I think that now, it has less to do with the state of negotiations and more to do with players going stir-crazy and wanting to stay in shape
alan (las vegas, nv)
do we know yet what players will be in meeting Tuesday
Katie Strang (1:12 PM)
Not yet. Several players are heading to NY. NHLPA will discuss it internally tomorrow morning before finalizing their roster in advance of the 2 p.m. meeting. Have been told that Sidney Crosby is "probably" going to attend, but nothing has been confirmed. Expect a mix of some stars, as well as some other players who have been integrally involved in process from start.
Katie, with the NHL locked out, how are you getting your hockey fix?
Katie Strang (1:13 PM)
Youngblood. Satisfies both my hockey and Rob Lowe fixes. Kill two birds with one stone, my friend...
Rad Chipman (Toronto)
With Jacobs and Daly at the "players owners" meeting is this just a PR stunt?
Katie Strang (1:16 PM)
I think it's fair to be pretty skeptical about what can come from this meeting. I think expectations are tempered, on both sides, very similar to their approach to mediation. But, save from a Jeremy Jacobs-George Parros fistfight, how can things get any worse? Worth a try
Season or no season?
Katie Strang (1:17 PM)
Still cautiously optimistic that we will have hockey this season. Just too absurd to entertain the possibility of either side squandering away an entire year quibbling over what divides them. But, that said, time is really running out. Less than a month to make a deal, I'd venture ....
Judeman5000 (Bakersfield, California)
What are the odds of the players dropping the gloves and taking some shots at the owners? For the sake of having the question answered, we'll assume I'm talking metaphorically.
Katie Strang (1:20 PM)
You may some heavyweights in there -- ie Kevin Westgarth, George Parros -- but don't let their imposing stature fool you. Both Ivy league-educated guys who have been engaged throughout process. Key is to have guys like that -- intelligence (not to mention some edge) -- who can keep their cool and avoid letting emotions get in the way.So, while it would be entertaining, no brawls expected tomorrow
Chris (North Bellmore, New York)
If they ever decide to play hockey again, are the Islanders a playoff team?
Katie Strang (1:22 PM)
I still don't think so, no. Goaltending always a question, too shallow on D, etc but I do think a shortened season could favor a young team that can jump outta the gates quickly. I don't see the Isles being that team, though...
What, do you think, is Bettman's play in this meeting on Tuesday? Apply pressure directly to players, get them to balk perhaps?
Katie Strang (1:23 PM)
If he truly wants to gain some traction, he'll be hands-off. He'll have more than enough control over Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting that will follow.
Dara (Boca Raton FL)
Who do you think should go tomorrow from the players side? I keep hearing Crosby but I totally disagree with that. His comments have made many fans disgusted with his views. Someone like Parros would be great, a really intelligent man, isn't in the same category of money as one of the great players.
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
I'd have Sidney Crosby, yes. Like it or not, he is the face and the future of the game. What he says and thinks can and should matter. I'd also have Kevin Westgarth, David Backes, Daniel Alfredsson, Marty St. Louis, and Manny Malhotra
Jeff (Western Michigan)
What needs to happen in the next few days in order to get a deal done? Do you think we'll see another season lost? And what is the timetable on decertification?
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
A Western Michigan man...you know the way to my heart :)I think the owners would have to give -- significantly -- on several of their player contracting demands and I think the players will have to give a little bit more on the make whole amount requested.Do I see this happening in next few days? Not too optimistic.Still do not think decertification is imminent, but it remains an option. Know this, though: if the NHLPA chooses to explore this route, they won't do it half-heartedly. If that happens, I think you can make vacation plans this winter....
Ben (Baltimore, MD)
How likely is certification if this week's meetings yield no progress? Is that the next step?
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
It's actually De-certification and that very well might be the next step but it's a really big decision for the union. Requires a tremendous amount of resources and carries significant risk. If they do indeed choose to exercise this option they will likely file a disclaimer of interest, which essentially makes official that Donald Fehr steps away from union as leader. Quicker and less formal than decertification process.
If an agreement is eventually made for a 48- or 41-game season, would that restrict games to stay within conference or division? Don't recall how it was done the shortened season that the Devils won the cup.
Katie Strang (1:32 PM)
From my understanding, yes. With the timetable we are looking at right now, teams would only play in-conference games.
with the mass amount of quality candidates who do you see in next years hof class getting inducted.
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
Shanahan (he got robbed this year). Neidermayer and Chelios. Would love to see Burns and Shero make it in -- albeit posthumously
At what point does Bettman step down and let someone else have the reigns? 2 lockouts in under a decade is unacceptable.
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
And three under his watch. Have to wonder how this is going to play out in the end for him, but this certainly seems to be his legacy.
Alan (Las Vegas, Nv)
How many players to be in meeting
Katie Strang (1:36 PM)
Sounds like roughly the same amount of owners (6). I'd expect 6-10, but as I said before, roster won't be finalized until tomorrow morning
JP (Babylon, NY)
Katie, needless to say, it's getting down to the wire at this point. Is there a specific date that a deal needs to get done by to be able to have some sort of season? If there isn't, what would be your own opinion of said date?
Katie Strang (1:37 PM)
I think they have to get a deal done IN the month of December. If not, I'd expect the cancellation to be announced sometime in January. Last time it was later -- February -- but they won't wait as long to pull the plug
NHL's 100-year anniversary is in five years - could it be that players won't sign a deal for more than five years in order to have additonal leverage when they get locked out again in five years?
Katie Strang (1:39 PM)
Absolutely. Astute observation. The union is banking on the supposition that the NHL would not like the optics of locking its players out on the centennial anniversary. And the union feel lockouts have become the league's go-to strategy in gaining leverage.
What are your thoughts on the federal mediators walking away from the NHL last week?
Katie Strang (1:41 PM)
Well, they technically walked away from both sides. Frankly, I'm not surprised. Neither the NHL or the NHLPA had high expectations for mediation. Process is non-binding and only works if both sides go in wanting to make a deal and willing to make concessions.
Robert (Battle Creek, MI)
We know the official on hand for the owners will be Bill Daley. Do we know what official or officials will be in the room with the players?
Katie Strang (1:42 PM)
It will be some high-ranking staff member from the NHLPA that is a lawyer by trade. So, my guess is either Steve Fehr, special counsel, or Don Zavelo, general counsel
Katie, keep up the great work! If the ESPN writers had to lace them up for a game of shinny, what would the line up look like? Bucci in net? Strangey playing the wing?
Katie Strang (1:43 PM)
Definitely more of a fourth-liner myself, but hard to argue with a top line of talent like Burnisde-LeBrun-Custance. And Linda Cohn in goal, obviously :)
Katie Strang (1:44 PM)
Ok all, thanks for all the great questions. Hopefully next week, we'll be able to start the holiday season with some actual hockey talk!Fingers crossed!XOXO