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)
Hey everyone! Welcome back for another weekly NHL chat. Lots to discuss as we've hit the midway point of the season.Fire away!
Katie, Do you think the blackhawks should be in panic mode now that they have lost two in a row? The ducks are only 6 points back. Should the hawks look to trade for someone and if so who?
Katie Strang (1:02 PM)
Oh man, that's cute. Um...no, I don't. They could pretty much coast their way into the playoffs with a record-breaking 24-game point streak to start the season, but they won't. They have a deep lineup and high confidence, despite the past two losses. All good things must come to an end, right? I do think they will make a move before the deadline, but I don't believe Bowman will pull the trigger unless it's really the right deal.
How about a Gaborik for Iginla trade? Jerome seems like a much better fit then Marian right now and it will allow the Rangers cap space since Iginla is free-agent!!!
Katie Strang (1:04 PM)
I'm certainly not in the camp that thinks a Gaborik trade is out of the realm of possibility, but I don't think the deal for Iginla makes sense. For one, I think the Rangers like Iginla but probably have concerns about his age/speed in playing in their system. And if teh Flames are gonna trade Iginla, doesn't that signal a reboot? In that case I think they want prospects and picks
Katie: Forget Perry, Iginla, Stastny, et al. Who are the rental Dman likely to be moved to contenders with space, such as Boston?
Katie Strang (1:10 PM)
It's that time of year where EVERY team wants to trade for a good, puck-moving defenseman, but the problem is there aren't many out there that make sense.Some potential names to consider: Mark Streit, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Sergei Gonchar.Isles are trying to re-sign Streit so I doubt that happens. And I suspect they will be close enough within the 8th spot in the East that they will not be sellers, likely taking Visnovsky out of the mix as well.Would the Senators be willing to move Gonchar? Depends on what happens over the next month or so, but they've been really scrappy in winning despite some of the worst injury luck.If they do decide to unload, Gonchar does have a no-move clause, so he'd have to consent to the deal
Ducks are only 6 points back with 2 games in hand. Can they edge the Blackhawks out for the #1 seed?
Katie Strang (1:11 PM)
They are gonna have a chance, it appears. Pretty remarkable story with the Ducks out West and it'll be one that only gets more interesting as the season progresses. Now that they have Getzlaf locked up, what happens with Corey Perry? Should be fun to watch.
Did Boyle play himself out of Tortorella's doghouse yesterday?
Katie Strang (1:15 PM)
It's going to take more than one game for Boyle to get back in Tortorella's good graces, but it's always encouraging when a player responds in a positive way to a benching or demotion. I think the problem for Boyle is more of a numbers game now. Not sure where he fits with Rangers if he isn't producing. If he can't pick it up, I suspect he will be moved before the deadline. Can still be a highly effective player, in my opinion, but Rangers may not be best fit anymore
Katie- with Nabokov's comments about the refs last week and Brent Thompson being suspended, do those events go hand in hand with the refs not calling 1 penalty on the rangers and handing them the game in OT? Seems the Islanders get some of the worst calls non/calls I've ever seen.
Katie Strang (1:16 PM)
I understand the frustration over not getting ANY PPs that game, but that hooking penalty on Grabner at the end was pretty clear to me. I think that officiating as a whole has been a major concern for teams throughout the league, as it seems to have deteriorated even from last season. Too far in to call it lockout rust. Expect that to be a discussion at GM's meetings
Please tell. Me how in the world a player like Chris Kunitz was undrafted?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
I know, right? Amazing at some of the talent that can fly under the radar, really. What a game he had last night. Hat trick and five points in the Pens' 6-1 win over the Islanders!
Is it just me or does the Rangers power play look a lot better without Brad Richards?
Katie Strang (1:21 PM)
Knew that was gonna come up eventually :) Yes, the power-play has been better as of late. And the unit picked up while Richards was out for two games BUT, I thought the first-period PP in Buffalo game was a turning point for the group, even though they didn't score. Richards was manning the point for that one and got three shots on goal. Looks like he's coming around so let's wait awhile before we jettison him aside just yet
Chances Sweet Lou swings a deal to bolster the Devils?
Katie Strang (1:22 PM)
I'm sure, yes. But, especially with the team's financial constraints and their tenuous clutch on a playoff spot, don't expect him to swing for the fences. He's had good luck recently with some under-the-radar depth moves he's made -- Ponikarovsky, Zidlicky -- and that includes some guys he's plucked off waivers as well. I'd expect more of that this season
Any chance the Sabres make a playoff run? Are we even good enough? Rangers look like they are begining to take off and the Flyers will make it hard to get there.
Katie Strang (1:24 PM)
I've heard some great things about Ron Rolston, but I don't even think a fresh voice behind the bench is enough to spark this team. Sabres too often leave Ryan Miller to do all the heavy lifting. Even in a pretty mediocre Eastern Conference, I don't think they have a chance.
Any chance you see the Rangers make a move at the trade deadline? Maybe Gaborik or Boyle? Any chance we see Kreider again this year?
Katie Strang (1:26 PM)
I think both players could be dealt, yes. I think Boyle is more likely, but he has to actually play to command some trade value. In terms of targets, I think the Rangers will look to add some depth guys similar to the Darroll Powe trade. Maybe not the sexiest moves, but necessary. Think a guy like Nate Thompson would be a great fit. Also, Rangers need a right-handed defenseman. Them and everyone else, though....
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, how do you rate the new Getzlaf contract extension on a scale from "Necessary if they wanted to keep him" to "Overpaid" to "Wildy Overpaid" to "So bad there is no way they can keep Perry too." Things to keep in mind, Getzlaf is now the fifth highest cap hit in the league after Ovi, Crosby, Malkin, E. Staal. And Perry has won a Richard trophy and Hart Trophy, so there is no way he whould expect to take less than Getzlaf which would blow the Ducks' entire internal budget (they do not spend to the cap).
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
I'm somewhat between "overpaid" and "wildly overpaid" on that scale, although I think that is largely a function of the new CBA and constraints on long-term deals. I am skeptical that they can keep Perry as well, but someone made a good point to me on this that I hadn't considered the other day. Considering how much they spent on Getzlaf, can they afford NOT to keep Perry too? Interesting argument. As i've said before in this space, I'm very intrigued to see how this plays out
Will we see Kreider again this season?
Katie Strang (1:31 PM)
Yeah, I'm sure we will. But I wouldn't be surprised if it's not for a while. Best thing for him right now is to get some actual games in. Doesn't help him much to be toiling on the third and fourth line. Hasn't been enough of a difference-maker to belong in the top-six this season. Until he proves that, or injuries necessitate his recall, he'll stay in Hartford
That Bruins D really smothered my Flyers on Sat....are the Bruins the team to beat in the East? Are these two teams destined to meet again as the #1 and #8 seeds?
Katie Strang (1:33 PM)
Answer to your first question: yes. Still not entirely sold on the Habs' level of success, but I am pretty confident that the Bruins are the team to beat in the East. Deep, skilled, physical. And what's more is they have plenty of room to add a key piece at the deadline. Answer to your second question: that's a bit optimistic about your Flyers. I don't think they make the playoffs
Jason (Ny, NY)
Katie, how do you think Shawn will pick tonight on the Bachlor finale?
Katie Strang (1:37 PM)
Oh, man. Gotta be Lindsay right? I mean, Catherine's OWN SISTERS threw her under the bus on the home visits. Not good.Either way, I'm having a finale party tonight replete with Tex-Mex cuisine to honor Sean's Dallas roots. Should be a good one
Who will be the biggest buyers/sellers at the deadline?
Katie Strang (1:38 PM)
Boston in the East. Maybe Vancouver in the West, and soon. Not having Kesler is a big loss for Canucks. And maybe the Luongo drama finally comes to an end...
Ice Ace (Alabama)
Do you think the Hurricanes will make the playoffs despite the loss of Ward?
Katie Strang (1:39 PM)
Yeah, I do. I think they will likely win a wide-open Southeast Division. They've fared pretty well without Ward so far -- believe they've won two of their last three -- so if they can weather the storm until they get healthy, I like their chances.
Shouldn't issues like visors and fighting be left for the players to decide? Some writers, present company excluded, were unbearable to read last week.
Katie Strang (1:41 PM)
It is certainly not for us to decide. But it is our job to write about important issues. And in wake of the injury to Staal (which left me absolutely nauseated), it's resurfaced as a hot-button issue. My personal feeling is that they should be required and you can grandfather in the older vets who prefer to play without them. Talking to a bunch of players last week, didn't hear much resistance to the idea of it becoming a mandate.
Craig (St. Paul, MN)
Wild look like they are starting to figure out how to play together. Do they win the NW or does Vancouver keep the top spot?
Katie Strang (1:43 PM)
Gonna be a really interesting one to watch. Wild really coming on and showing signs of getting it together, while Vancouver is struggling. Without steady production from the Sedins and Kesler in the lineup, it's a different team. Still think Vancouver wins it, but I'd like to see Wild challenge them for the top spot
Drew in Indy, Rangers fans will say the same thing about Dan Girardi - one of the great shutdown coreners in the league and he went undrafted too.
Katie Strang (1:45 PM)
Absolutely. Total gem that was a late bloomer and quietly worked his way up through the system. Made the most out of an call-up when Kasparaitis was injured years ago and never went back. Understated player but absolutely vital to the team's back end. Glad to see him recognized with an All-Star nod last season
Matt (Los Angeles)
I know Carter and Kopi and the front-liners have been killing it for the Kings, but how about a shout-out to Voynov, Muzzin, Drewiske, and Ellerby who have been filling in so admirably while Mitchell, Greene, and Martinez have been out? They've been killing it and deserve a ton of credit.
Katie Strang (1:47 PM)
Agreed. Kings are really starting to round into form and once they get healthy, I suspect we really see them start to come on. But let's not also understate Carter's contributions, either. What is it, 17 goals in 17 games or something crazy like that? Wowsa
Howie Rose (Long Island)
Katie, would the bachelor finale be better if I did play-by-play of the dramatic final decision....which could end up somewhere between Matteau Matteau and the Santana no-hitter.
Katie Strang (1:48 PM)
As long as John Giannone could handle the back-of-the-limo, post-elimination interview. Would be reality TV at its finest
Is it too late for the Caps to make it and should they sign Riberio to an extension?
Katie Strang (1:50 PM)
Don't think it is too late necessarily and I do think there are plenty of people (including Ovechkin) in WSH that want to lock him up, but he he won't come cheap. Also not a young guy, either, so those will be factors GM George McPhee has to weigh as the deadline approaches
Where do the Devils end up? They seem to be on the bubble right now and last 2 wins were via shootout after a long winless streak.
Katie Strang (1:52 PM)
Have been wrestling this for past few weeks. They've won only two of nine games without Brodeur and have looked pretty bad lately BUT I've learned my lesson in betting against them. Still believe they have the talent and the coaching to make the playoffs IF Brodeur returns. A 40-year-old with a back injury isn'y exactly encouraging and it's already appearing more serious than initially thought to be.
Katie Strang (1:54 PM)
Ok all, that's it for this week. Thanks for swinging by with all the great questions. Looking forward to seeing you again next week, when we can discuss more trade-deadline scenarios and , of course, the Bachelor finale ;)*Team Lindsay*