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 2 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (2:00 PM)
Hey hockey fans! Welcome back. Freezing my butt off here in the bowels of Nassau Coliseum in the hours before Game 4 between the Penguins and Islanders. Should be a fun one.Speaking of fun, let's get to your questions. Fire away!
When I saw the headline "Calder finalists" and saw 3 names but one of them wasnt Brodin I thought it was a joke or it wasnt real, I just couldnt believe it. He has been the best rookie this year by far, He plays the most minutes of any rookie and those minutes werent against teams 3rd or 2nd lines they were against the best players in the league. This just shows they only look at points because theres no other explanation for Brodin not being on there. They dont see all of the points Brodin didnt allow. He has been simply amazing, shutting down CHIs top line in the playoffs at 19. I mean come on, Saad has been invisible.
Katie Strang (2:03 PM)
Agree with you that he should have been on there (full disclosure: I placed him second on my ballot), though I think it is quite a stretch to say he "has been the best rookie this year by far." Also think Saad is a tremendous player that could prove to be the most complete when all is said and done. That said, Brodin deserved the recognition. The minutes and responsibility with which he was trusted really speak to his poise and maturity, and I think he will turn out to be an absolute stud on Minny's blue line for years to come
Josh S. (Philly)
What do you think the Flyers biggest need is this offseason?
Katie Strang (2:05 PM)
To buy out Bryzgalov. A costly mistake to admit, but a necessary one. Even when he's playing well, he always seems to be a magnet for drama. His teammates cannot appreciate that. Creates a toxic environment for everyone
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, your honest opinion on the Strait penalty in OT of Game 3? Let's review the facts. Strait clearly got burnt by Crosby on the spin move and put his free hand on Crosby's shoulder while he was in scoring range. That is a textbook hold. That happened. So if you want to argue against that penalty being called, you have to either say (a) Crosby dove and it should have been even up (like Milbury and JR seemed to imply) or (b) the refs should swallow their whistle in OT of a playoff game and "let them play" (like many other media have implied). The former is debatable and the latter seems like something the league is trying to get away from since the clutch and grab days of 10 years ago when you could tackle and games routinely went to triple and quadruple OT.
Katie Strang (2:06 PM)
I thought it was the right call. Obviously it's a shame when a game of that caliber is ultimately determined by a penalty, but there has to be a better awareness on Isles part. Considering Pens PP, discipline is key
How does the rest of the Caps-NYR series go?
Katie Strang (2:08 PM)
I think it goes either 6 or 7, but to me the Caps are the better team. Or at least playing better right now. Rangers might take another game, but I think Washington moves on. Could see them making it to the EC finals, honestly
Ryan C (Marion, Illinois)
The 7 seed Red Wings tied up the series 2-2 and now its a best of 3 series. Historically, the 7 seed has upset the 2nd seed almost 50% of the time...do you think it'll happen this year too?
Katie Strang (2:10 PM)
The Wings are a really interesting team to me right now. They have a nice mix of veteran experience and some youth, with both groups chipping in for a win to even the series in Game 3. Find that series to be pretty intriguing, and even, so will be interesting to see who steps up. Was great to see Brunner redeem himself though after the miscue that led to Getzlaf's goal in Game 3.
Katie Strang (2:10 PM)
Sorry, I meant to even the series in Game 4
Katie: Why does Crosby seem to take alof of flak from network announcers whereas ovechkin does not? Everyone though Crosby dove to draw the penalty in OT of game 3, but Ovechkin didnt dive vs the Rangers last night. Thoughts?
Katie Strang (2:12 PM)
They both take quite a little bit of criticism, for different things. Crosby, obviously, is scrutinized for diving/embellishment/star treatment. But Ovechkin receives his fair share of flack as well, particularly as a player who can be a dynamic superstar in the regular season but can't live up to the hype when it counts. I think both stereotypes are unfair to a certain degree
jon (Cbus, OH)
Any suspensions leveled from the Habs/Sens game #3?
Katie Strang (2:15 PM)
Nope. I didn't see the game, but was obviously surprised given the heightened sense of animosity in Game 3. You can bet that both teams will be warned before tonight to keep their emotions in check. Officials will try to curtail things early to avoid it devolving into the type of mess that occurred last game
Budd Berkman (Placitas, NM)
Katie - what is it about Chris Kreider that Tortorella will not play him. He excelled in the playoffs for us last year.
Katie Strang (2:17 PM)
This is a question that vexes me as well. Obviously Kreider has skill and speed. He can be an impact player, as we all saw in last year's playoffs. I just think he may be the type of player that has trouble cracking the lineup with this coach. Tortorella either doesn't trust him or he finds him too timid, or both. Either way, it doesn't bode well for Kreider or his development. A lost year pretty much
Katie: As you know, HUGE win at The Garden last night. How close was Clowe to playing last night for the Blueshirts? With Powe dinged up now, we could use him more than ever.
Katie Strang (2:18 PM)
Hard to tell with a head injury, Gabe. And because of the level of subterfuge regarding injuries in the playoffs, it is difficult to get a true handle on some of these injuries, especially the sensitive ones. I think he will return this series, though
No question, just wanted to say hello.
Katie Strang (2:18 PM)
Ha. Well isn't that nice? Hi back, Derek
Are the Canucks done? Sure feels like they're just going to get swept out by the surprising Sharks
Katie Strang (2:20 PM)
You know, it's funny. For as much as the Canucks seem to hog the spotlight with all their goaltending problems, it is actually their goal-scoring woes that has been their achilles heel this series. Limited to five goals in three games, the Canucks are headed for collapse as San Jose looks to secure the first sweep in franchise history. Bieksa's ridiculous comments a pretty good indication of just how desperate times have become
Who do you see being the three Hart trophy finalists?
Katie Strang (2:21 PM)
Crosby, Tavares, Ovechkin. All three were in my top three, though not in that order ;)
Steve the Caniac (Deutschland)
What do you think the over/under will be on majors in the next Habs/Sens game this evening? Or will they finally stop auditioning for the Hanson brothers' role in "Slap Shot 4?"
Katie Strang (2:22 PM)
I actually think things will be relatively tame tonight. Why? Too much is at stake. Neither club can afford getting caught up in the emotions and theatrics.
Mo (Chappaqua, NY)
What did you think of the "Toronto Stronger" sign controversy? Are Boston fans overly sensitive or are Toronto fans too thoughtless?
Katie Strang (2:23 PM)
Not fair to lump all (or any) Toronto fans into the actions of one moron. Offensive, tasteless, but hopefully an isolated incident
Katie, been hearing talk of a trade between Carolina and NYR with Marc Staal for Jeff Skinner as the center pieces in the offseason. Thoughts?
Katie Strang (2:27 PM)
Have not "heard" that talk, but I'm sure there were some people in the Rangers' front office who entertained some worry in seeing three Staal brothers line up together for the opening faceoff during the team's last trip to Carolina. Marc Staal is one of the team's cornerstone players, but it does make you think. Nothing competes with family. Have to wonder what happens down the road.
Why does the NHL only take the top 3 scoring D-men for the Norris? Seems like other criteria should be considered. Like, I don't know - playing defense?
Katie Strang (2:28 PM)
It's not the NHL. The Professional Hockey Writers' Association votes on the Norris. Those three were the top three finalists. I voted Chara as my first pick, actually, and he didn't make the cut
David (Long Island)
Katie: Do you agree with the suspension of Ottawa's Eric Gryba? I believe the equipment is more the issue there then this hit. The shoulder and elbow pads are like a hammer. He clearly got a shoulder to the face.
Katie Strang (2:29 PM)
I believe that suspension was one largely determined by the optics of the situation, which is a shame, but it is truly a no-win for league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan. Really an unfortunate situation all the way around
Hey Katie,What chances you give the Isles to get the series back to the Coliseum for a game 6? Think we can get 1 of the next 2?
Katie Strang (2:31 PM)
I think those chances are good, Colin. I think that the Islanders learned over the last two games that, not only can they compete with the Penguins, they can beat them too. Even Sidney Crosby said today that the Islanders have carried the play 5-on-5. If Isles can exploit their speed and transition game, while remaining disciplined, this will be a tight series
Bashing Torts use of Kreider doesn't make sense to me. Kreisder was sent down when he wasn't getting big minutes with the Rangers because they thought it would be better for his development to continue to get minutes in Connecticut. The truth is he has looked overly scared/intimidated at times. Don't see how you call it a lost year in his development when keeping him in Connecticut allowed him to play minutes and develop certain aspects of his game that need to be better.
Katie Strang (2:33 PM)
I'd agree with that if he was kept in CT for a consistent basis, rather than yo-yo'ing back and forth. But what he's gone through this season has to be a serious confidence-killer. Sure he'll come to camp next year with a chip on his shoulder and a burning desire to prove his ability, but can't imagine this wasn't a massively disappointing year for him
Will I see you tonight at the Coliseum?
Katie Strang (2:34 PM)
Any thoughts on Neal and Orpik playing tonight? Seems like they are both ready.
Katie Strang (2:35 PM)
Think at least one will play. If I had to bet, I'd say Neal is more likely than Orpik. All this secrecy is absurd, in my opinion. Not sure there is any empirical evidence to suggest that this actually gives team an advantage. And not allowing grown men to talk about their own injuries is laughable, I think
Katie are you pro or anti poutine? And if pro where's the best? Does LeBrun try to force it on everyone else?
Katie Strang (2:36 PM)
I am pro-any type of food that is both delicious and a heart attack waiting to happen. So, yes
Can we talk about the Western Conference please??!! What is your pick for tonight...Chi or Min?
Katie Strang (2:39 PM)
Sorry for the East Coast bias, Sarah. I think Josh Harding is a tremendous story for all the reasons you can list, but I wasn't crazy about Minny's chances heading into series. An eight seed knocking off a one seed with a backup goalie in nets. Captivating storyline but I don't see it. Thinks Chi takes control tonight and runs away with series from there
Is Tortorella the worst coach you've ever had to cover? His glib press conferences seem extremely disrespectful to the media.
Katie Strang (2:41 PM)
Like anything, there are positives and negatives. He can be extremely difficult to deal with yes, but he can also be among the most candid and insightful as well. It's a trade-off, really
How underrated is Logan Couture? The fact that he has caused Bieksa to become unglued only heightens my appreciation for him
Katie Strang (2:42 PM)
Wow, yes. Co-sign. It's incredible to hear even his own teammates talk about his importance to the franchise. When you have a veteran like Dan Boyle saying it is "his" team, you know the kid's legit.
What is the current status of Ranger D-Man Michael Sauer. Will he ever play again?
Katie Strang (2:43 PM)
Last i heard, he is still having good days and bad days. And that's pretty worrisome considering it has been almost 18 months since the hit that caused his concussion. Unfortunately, I think there is a very real chance he does not ever play again
Whats the score of the US v RUS game, i can't find it on this "sports" website
Katie Strang (2:45 PM)
Sounds like the game is tied at 3 after two periods
Ryu (Shoryken U.)
How come your twitter pic looks so different from your espn pic?
Katie Strang (2:45 PM)
Good question. My ESPN pic does not look like me. Need a new one
You interviewed Corey Crawford awhile back? Nice and engaging or off the wall and odd (like most goalies)? On a scale of Broduer to Bryz...
Katie Strang (2:47 PM)
Haha, I like that scale. Definitely nice and engaging. Seems to have a very low-key personality and even keel. Enjoyed hearing that he and Emery are pretty tight both on and off the ice. Nice when that actually happens
Looking beyond tonight and the rest of the series, the Isles have so many young studs ready to come in next year but seemingly not many holes to fill. Do you see Snow packaging Nino or someone else for a top winger/D/Goalie?
Katie Strang (2:50 PM)
It does sound like the relationship between Nino and Isles has become pretty untenable. Ultimately, I think they will try to move him. Actually hurts his case that he requested a trade, since they won't want to be seen as relenting to his wishes. The fact that he is playing for Switzerland at Worlds instead of up with the team is pretty telling. One really interesting point you make that is worth pointing out: Imagine how dangerous the Isles might be in a couple of years considering the prospects NOT yet on their roster: Strome, Nelson, Donovan, Mayfield etc
Who do you think is the cosiest/funniest coach?
Katie Strang (2:51 PM)
Funniest is definitely Pete DeBoer. Has a very dry wit that I enjoy. Cosiest? Well Bruce Boudreau, obviously
Does the hockey media realize the overwhelming majority of hockey fans and casual sports fans love how the third period of the Sens/Habs ended up? Do you think more people at sports bar would be glued to that period or a typical no hitter Detroit playoff game?
Katie Strang (2:52 PM)
Oh, listen. Count me among those. Nothing like a good old fashioned donnybrook once in a while. But playoff hockey doesn't need the extra spectacle. It's exciting enough as it is.
Steve the Caniac (Deutschland)
On the Sauer injury...with him and Marc Savard of the Bruins probably never playing again, how fair is it that goons like Matt Cooke get to keep playing (and injuring more players) while guys like Savard are forced to spend the rest of their lives in darkened rooms?
Katie Strang (2:53 PM)
Sauer was actually hurt on a clean, hard hit by Dion Phanuef. Sometimes bad things happen. Unfortunate, but hard to lump all those injuries together and go on a witch hunt
Katie Strang (2:54 PM)
Ok, all. We're gonna end there today. Thanks as always for the great questions. Looking forward to seeing you back here next week!