Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:01 PM)
I wish I could promise you that this will be as entertaining as the Toronto City Council meeting currently taking place (are you guys following this Rob Ford stuff? Unreal) but that would be a tall order.I can promise that we'll cover a lot of hockey happenings for all you puckheads out there.With that said, fire away!
Ed (Queens Village)
Sabres just fired there coach. There have been two coaches fires in almost a week. Who is next coach to get fired if team don't improve?
Katie Strang (3:03 PM)
To be honest, Ed, I'm surprised if took this long. I figured Ron Rolston would've been out much sooner. Tough situation going into that gig and not many people sound convinced he is cut out for the top job as NHL coach. If the Islanders continue to regress, I think Jack Capuano has to become a legitimate candidate for next coach fired. Also not sure that Todd Richards is feeling too comfortable in Columbus these days. Both franchises expected to take steps forward this season. Neither have
Jim (Grand Rapids, MI)
Greetings from home Katie! Do you think Danny DeKeyser was a legitimate shot for the Calder this season? Detroit won the Lotto on this kid...
Katie Strang (3:06 PM)
You are tugging at my heart-strings Jim! Heading back to the mitten next week; heard it was a balmy 30 degrees yesterday. I agree with you that the Red Wings hit a huge home run with the young stud defenseman but I don't like his chances at the Calder. Even just looking at fellow blue-liners and I think Seth Jones beats him out by a significant margin. Talked to Shea Weber yesterday and he was amazed at how little dips he has seen in the 19-year-old's game during his rookie season. All in a big role. He's averaging over 24 minutes a night going against opponents top lines. Other guys to keep watch on? MacKinnon, Hertl, Barkov and Kreider. Talented crop of youngsters no doubt
JP (Babylon, NY)
Hey Katie...do you think the Isles will continue to roll with Poulin in net? He has played very well of late, and Nabokov seems to have very little left in the tank.
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
I do, and I think that's the right call. GM Garth Snow hasn't seemed to show any reluctance to shake things up and Jack Capuano shouldn't either. If Poulin is playing well and the team is battling in front of him, you've gotta ride the hot hand and see what you've got.
Nash coming back this weekend? i have tickets for sunday and would love to see him in action again!
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
I think this weekend would be an aggressively optimistic timetable, Jeremy. Remember that he has been doing close to nothing for over a month straight and needs time to improve his conditioning and overall strength. I'd say next week at the very earliest
With Moore & (hopefully) Nash back soon, do you see Miller being sent to Hartford?
Katie Strang (3:10 PM)
Yeah, I do. Alain Vigneault said today that Miller was involved in some critical moments before some goals against last night. hence, his limited ice time. They really need to see more from him in terms of defensive responsibility. Wonder if the next time they look to the minors if they consider Danny Kristo?
Chris (The Basement)
Hey Katie, What do you think of this little run the Devils have put together? can this team compete or will they be sellers at the deadline. If so who do you see them moving? Thanks!
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
I still have major concerns about their offensive firepower, but when you have Brodeur playing the way he has been lately, you can always win games. The Devils have a strong, competitive culture and they always seem to make things interesting. Love seeing graybeards like Jaromir Jagr and Brodeur leading the charge of late
Hey Katie...Long time Panthers fan and original seat owner here! What a great win last night by the Cats ag such a great team in the ducks. What do you think Tallons next move is? Our D is soso, need someone who can score more and a replacement for Markstrom because I am NOT convinced he will ever be too great in the NHL. Any thoughts?
Katie Strang (3:13 PM)
Hey Dara- Clearly Florida agrees with you on Markstrom, who was recently demoted to the minors. Neither of their current netminders -- Tim Thomas, Scott Clemmensen -- seem to be long-term options, but Markstrom still has time to develop and improve. Think they could really use a solid defenseman, along with 80% of the teams in this league. Should be interesting to see how different they play under Peter Horachek. Wrote a profile about him for this week, so make sure to check ESPN.com in the coming days for that!
I hear there is dancing in the streets of Buffalo. What is take on the management change for the Sabres?
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Like Rolston, I think Darcy Regier needed to go. He was good in the returns he was available to get in recent deals, but the need for those deals was predicated on previous mistakes he had made that mired the club in dysfunction. Think the LaFontaine choice is a savvy one. Nolan is a very interesting decision. Personally, I really like Ted and know him to be a very well-liked, emotional, and well-respected coach among his players. But he's been removed from the league for a looooong time. Should be interesting to see how that pans out. Seems as if the Sabres are making an appeal to fans emotions/nostalgia right now.
Ken (Passaic, NJ)
After todays events in Buffalo, who do you think is on LaFontaine's shortlist to be the Sabres new GM?
Katie Strang (3:17 PM)
Names that I've seen bandied about: Rick Dudley, Neil Smith, Jason Botterill
Reed illinois [via mobile]
do you think the tampa bay lightnings playoff chance is over with stamkos and salo injured?
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
No, I don't. They've given themselves a nice cushion here with such a strong start and team's have done it before. Look at what Pittsburgh was able to accomplish last season with Crosby out for such a long time. Regardless, it is a devastating loss for Tampa, Team Canada, and overall, the game of hockey. Cannot say enough about Steven Stamkos. He is about as nice, humble and accessible superstar that exists. He's a tremendous ambassador for the game and one of the most electrifying, dynamic players to watch. Such a shame
Aaron (Long Island)
What teams might be interested in Moulson this offseason?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
I think he'll be dealt long before the off-season. As I've stated many times before in this space, he's a guy that can muck along the boards, get to those dirty areas of the ice and score timely goals. That's the guy every team wants as it gears up for the playoffs. Always seems like Boston is sniffing around on Moulson, I must say
Hi Katie do you think the st.louis blues will make the playoffs this year?
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
Yes, I do Victor. Take a look at their goal differential right now: a plus-17. Pretty darn good, especially considering they are playing in the dominant Western Conference. They'll make it in, alright
Dave (New London, CT)
Katie, Your preseason predictions had the Flyers close to the bottom of the standings. couldn't believe it when i read it, but you were right so far. Has anything you've seen or heard yet changed your mind? What is your prognosis of my team so far and for the future of the season?
Katie Strang (3:24 PM)
It's nice to feel some vindication on that one, so I appreciate you saying that Dave. I wish I could pacify your concerns but, unfortunately, I cannot. They have strung together some wins, but I still think the bulk of their problems stem from a porous d corps. They are always chasing the play. Don't see things getting much better in Philly
Nash. Tell us everything you know? Also, going to Montreal on Saturday for the game. Is wearing a McDonagh jersey too much of a middle finger to MTL fans?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Nash will be with the team, but I don't expect he'll do anything beyond practice. I'd assume that backup goaltender Cam Talbot is between the pipes given the team's house of horrors-type history with the Habs in MTL in recent years.I will be disappointed if you do NOT wear that jersey, Bryan. A Saturday night game at the Bell Centre is a religious one for any hockey fan and I think it is your duty to pay homage to Glen Sather's biggest coup as Rangers GM.
Do you think the Oilers will move Yakupov? If so, who would be suitors and how much would they have to give up?
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
No, I don't. While the optics of the situation look pretty bad with both his agent and the player complaining publicly about how he is being used, I don't see how they can part with such a talented young player just yet. I thought GM Craig MacTavish handled the situation well in noting that adversity can be a great thing for the development of a young player. I think how he and Dallas Eakins handle this situation could be a defining moment for this franchise
Lindsey (Long Island)
Think the Isles are just unlucky or we have cause for concern?
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
Whenever we talk about luck in a team's situation, because let's be honest there does seem to be a lot of luck in hockey sometimes, I find it helpful to head on over to Extraskater.com for a look at their advanced stats (it's a great site and very user-friendly). Take a look at the Islanders PDO. That's a metric that is used, essentially, to measure whether a team is playing above or below their means. The fact that they are so close to 100 with a PDO of 98.6 suggests that the team's problems aren't likely to change for the better any time soon. My take? Blame the PK
Do you consider Colorado a legit cup contender? Do you think Duchene makes Team Canada
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
No, I don't. I think they will make the playoffs and continue to make waves this season as one of the league's feel-good rebound stories but I think this level of success will be near impossible to sustain. I do, however, think Duchene is pretty much a lock to make Team Canada's roster, especially now with the injury to Stamkos
You were talking about the Calder race but what about Torey Krug? Over 17 minutes a game while putting up 6 goals (tied for the most goals by a D-man) and 11 points.
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
I did, indeed leave Torey Krug out of that conversation and I do feel guilty for ever turning my back on a fellow Spartan. He was phenomenal in the playoffs last season. If he turns it back on to that level, he definitely rejoins the mix
Why isnt Holmgren on the hot seat? I know the Flyers have won a few games now but he's made more than a few moves which would at least force ownership to consider it. If Philly misses the playoffs do you think he's gone?
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
Yup, with Hextall taking over. Ed Snider ain't getting any younger and by all accounts, he is getting impatient. Don't see him tolerating this level of disarray for much longer.
Pens Flyers tonight - who are you taking?
Katie Strang (3:36 PM)
With Penguins coming off two straight losses? Definitely Pittsburgh
Leafs and Sabres face off again for the first time since the Scott Kessel incident this Friday. Does Scott dress for this game? If he does is there a possibility it gets out of control?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Apparently, Ted Nolan has already told reporters that he does intend for Scott to dress. And yes, suffice it to say I think there will be a good chance that the Leafs go looking for retribution, though David Clarkson can't afford to be the sacrificial lamb this time.
I don't know if you follow the AHL at all, but Danny Kristo has been tearing it up so far here for the WolfPack. With the Rangers at 24th in the league in scoring, do you think it would be worth throwing him into the mix. Surely he can bring more to the lineup than Brandon Mashinter or JT Miller
Katie Strang (3:38 PM)
So, I've heard. Actually, yes, I do think that will be a consideration made sooner rather than later. I believe he will be the next player summoned when injury dictates a call-up
It seems like Kreider has realized that when he moves his legs he's very difficult to stop.
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
Right? I talked to an opposing defenseman yesterday, who brought Kreider up unprompted. Said he seems twice as fast as last year. Asked him what he meant and he explained that it wasn't so much Kreider's speed but his confidence and strength in using it.Would be an uphill battle for Kreider, but I think he has a shot at at least earning consideration for the US team if he can sustain this high level of play
Sean (Newport Beach)
Hi Katie, Tell me what you think about the Anaheim Ducks. Such a great start and losing all these players , they're still knocking out the wins. With Koive, Fasth and Beleskey close to coming back, can the team get any better?
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
Sure, they can. Imagine how good they can be if they figured out a way to be better on the power play. Currently they have one of the worst units in the league. The really fascinating thing to me about the Ducks right now is their abundant depth in goal. Have to wonder if they'll unload pending UFA Hiller at some point this season
Its been reported that the NHL will address goalie fights at the next GM meeting. What's your take on this? Seems odd to address an issue that happens once in a blue moon when there are a ton of other seemingly more important topics up for discussion.
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
I agree with you on this Peter. Not that fighting shouldn't be addressed -- it should and it will be -- but I think goalie fights are so infrequent that it seems a bit odd to spend so much time and effort debating. Sure sounds like there was much more traction with respect to extended overtime at this week's GMs meetings than anything. So, you can expect that to be a big part of discussions the next time the group reconvenes later in the season
I'll admit I am looking forward to the Yankee Stadium games in January, but what do you think of all the outdoor games this season? I kind of this it's a little over the top, overkill. I think it kind of takes away from the spectacle of the winter classic
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
I kind of do too, but I try to think of it from a fan's perspective: if you're a fan of either team, are you honestly disappointed? Hope NY fans have a ball for the stadium series this winter. I'm really looking forward to it
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
OK all. Thanks for all the great questions, as always. Meet me back here next week and we'll get back to business for another round of puck talk.Have a great weekend!
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