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 1 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (1:00 PM)
Hey All! First off thanks for all the warm wishes while I was on my wedding/honeymoon sabbatical. And though a few weeks of sunshine and pina coladas for breakfast is tough to beat, I missed my loyal puck chatters. Has been too long without some hockey, am I right?With that said, let's kick things off right and get to some questions!
Ian B. Steel [via mobile]
Do you think the season will be well underway before Martin Brodeur signs with a new team, or will he retire??
Katie Strang (1:02 PM)
I do think that Brodeur will be very selective, and he has certainly earned that right. He wants to win -- that's a top priority -- but, as someone close to him told me recently, he wants to have fun as well. That means finding the right fit and for that he is clearly willing to be patient. Have been told he may hold out until training camp or an injury situation opens up a spot that isn't available now.
Why is Sidney Crosby still the face of Canadian hockey, captaining their national team when there are clearly better players and leaders re:Towes?
Katie Strang (1:04 PM)
With two Olympic golds, I'm not sure Team Canada is looking to change much, Frank. He remains the greatest player in the NHL and one of the most highly-respected. And just because Toews isn't the captain doesn't mean he isn't one of the team's most valuable leaders.
Norman Riedmueller (Houston, Texas)
Do you foresee the NHL adjusting the enforcement of existing rules in order to cut back on gratuitous violence on the ice?
Katie Strang (1:07 PM)
The ways certain rules are enforced on the ice by officiating crews seem to change with each season, and I'm sure we'll see some differences with this upcoming one as well. Perhaps the most interesting change will be to see what happens at a higher level in the NHL's Department of Player Safety. Appears that either Claude Loiselle or Stephane Quintal will take over as head disciplinarian for this season. We may need see immediate changes, but either of those two people could bring some fresh philosophy in terms of discipline and enforcement
jason (new jersey)
Katie,With the devils changes do they make the playoffs in 2014
Katie Strang (1:10 PM)
Honestly, if it was not for their atrocious shootout record, they would've made it this past season, even with their meager offensive attack. The Devils were a very strong possession team and there is no reason to believe that will change with Pete DeBoer remaining at the helm. Locking up Andy Greene was a shrewd move and I think having continuity in net with Cory Schneider will make a significant impact as well.So, yes, I think the Devils will make the playoffs in 2014
George C (New York)
If Islanders don't have a strong start in October, is Capuano out?
Katie Strang (1:11 PM)
You have to imagine that Capuano is going to have a short leash, and for good reason. Now that GM Garth Snow addressed their biggest problem from last season -- lack of goaltending -- there is little excuse for them to not put things together. They have talent. Another disastrous start would likely cost Capuano his job
Ryan (Grand Rapids, MI)
If you were the Red Wings, would you want Daniel Alfredsson back at his age and if so, how much would you be willing to pay??
Katie Strang (1:14 PM)
Hey Ryan! Love to see another Grand Rapidian on here! While Alfredsson obviously provides terrific veteran experience and leadership qualities to the Wings, age and durability are definitely an issue. He can still produce -- 18 goals and 49 points in 68 games last season -- but I think he's gonna need to take a pay cut from the 3.5 mil he made last year.
Steve (San Diego)
As a Sharks fan, can I just ask . . . "huh?"
Katie Strang (1:16 PM)
Have to admit I am similarly confounded by the Sharks. Really seemed like they were ready to revamp and change the direction of the team. Sounds like they want this club to be in younger hands, but Joe Thornton's no-move clause makes for an awkward situation. I was never sold on them tearing the thing apart, though, so maybe this is not the worst thing in the world for Sharks fans.
Jordan (Kentucky) [via mobile]
I'm trying to break into the sports industry and make a career out of it...I have a Bachelor in Business Administration and am currently pursuing my MBA. I'd like to be on the management side of the business...any advice on how to get a career started?
Katie Strang (1:18 PM)
Best way to gain some great experience in any sports-related field is to become an intern. No better way to learn how teams work from the inside. And don't be afraid to reach out to people to ask for advice and help. Hockey is a pretty awesome, tight-knit community. People are always willing to lend a hand
Your thoughts on the Rangers not retaining Stralman?
Katie Strang (1:19 PM)
Couldn't afford to, especially with their abundance of key RFA's to get under contract. Stralman had a terrific season and an even better playoffs. He earned a big raise and good for him, but Rangers knew they couldn't add Dan Boyle and keep Stralman around.
adam [via mobile]
What are the chances of the #cbj resigning R. Johanson before the start of the season?
Katie Strang (1:21 PM)
Though Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch recently reported that the two sides were "hectares" apart, they have at least bridged the gap on term, which is significant. With how contentious things felt earlier this summer, I wouldn't be surprised to see a training camp holdout, but they two sides will meet in the middle on $ eventually
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, Subban contract, Toews/Kane extensions, Brodeur free agency....who cares! It's the offseason! What the fans really want to know is who got more rowdy at your wedding....Custance or Lebrun? And did Burnside big time you now that he is the president of the PHWA? After he got a few "sodas" in him I hope Lebrun did a spotlight solo dance/air guitar performance to Bon Jovi's Bad Medicine on the dance floor.
Katie Strang (1:23 PM)
Haha, it was an epic night that I will never forget and having my hockey boys with me was one of the major highlights. Burnside was missed dearly, of course, but unfortunately our band did not have any Tragically Hip on their set list to play in his honor. Arthur Staple and Chris Johnston were there as well, which means the puck world was well represented. Wish I could go and do it all over again!
Katie, what do you think of the Lightning as this year's "sexy pick" to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. Not saying they are going to win it all, but with a healthy Ben Bishop and Steven Stamkos, and a retooled lineup, especially on their checking lines and defence. They look legit....
Katie Strang (1:24 PM)
I think they could be a really dangerous team, Alex. I think that prediction will largely hinge on how Ben Bishop bounces back, though. Definitely a team to watch.
Gregory Michigan [via mobile]
Who would now be the top challenger in the Central Division to contend with the Avs for the title? My friend says the Blues, but I say the Blaclhawks.
Katie Strang (1:25 PM)
Hawks. Huge to get Kane and Toews under contract. Huge.
Dave (Alexandria, VA)
How real is the Capitals' interest in Paul Bissonnette, and how far along are they in their talks?
Katie Strang (1:27 PM)
Not quite sure, Dave. Sounds like BizNasty wants a bigger role than he has played with Yotes in years past. His agent, Mark Guy, told the Washington Post recently that they have received interest from 5 or 6 teams. Have to wonder how legitimate that interest is, though. Not too many guys out there still looking for jobs
First and foremost, congrats. Second, as of right now, how would you rank the top 5 teams in the west? Kings, Hawks, Ducks, Blues, Wild?
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
Thanks Bausch! I'd say: 1) Hawks 2) Kings 3) Ducks 4) Blues and 5) WildDucks could give LA a run for their money though with their new 1-2 center tandem. Goaltending depth a plus as well
What city do you think will be the next to get an NHL franchise, and do you expect it to be a relocation or an expansion?
Katie Strang (1:29 PM)
Hi Katie, I know that you primarily cover the New York area teams, but I was just curious how much hockey (if any) do you get to watch of the Western Conference teams when they are not playing in the eastern time zones? Just curious and thanks for doing the chat.
Katie Strang (1:32 PM)
Hey Bill- thanks for asking. I actually will not be based out of NY anymore, since I got married and moved back home to Michigan. Detroit will actually be my home base for now. I try to watch as much of the West as possible, but was hard at times last year during the regular season since one of my primary roles was to essentially cover the Rangers. Will be doing more national NHL coverage now, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the West much more!
Do you think NYR should re-sign Marc Staal?
Katie Strang (1:33 PM)
Absolutely. Though I think Ryan McDonagh has emerged as the top blue-liner on the Rangers' back end, not to mention odds-on favorite to become the next captain, Staal is an absolute stalwart.He is a strong defensemen and a beloved teammate. Very underrated leader and I think we saw him get back to top form during the playoffs last spring
Katie, it's been more than a month and I still don't understand the Tanner Glass signing. The Rangers were trying to clear cap space, so they traded Derek Dorsett and then signed a guy for THREE YEARS who costs about the same and isn't very good at hockey. Huh?
Katie Strang (1:34 PM)
Yeah, I don't either. If you are gonna trade Dorsett, why not just sign Carcillo?
Zhao Wang (Atlanta, GA)
With a healthy core of veterans (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, Howard, etc) and continued growth of the youngsters, can the Red Wings challenge for at least the conference finals this year?
Katie Strang (1:35 PM)
Not sure if I see a trip to conference finals for the Wings, Zhao. I think they do have a really good mix of veterans and talented youngsters, but considering the durability of some of their star players -- Datsyuk, Zetterberg -- that will be a factor in their success this season. Although there is no chance they could have the same foul injury luck as last year!
Kdaddy (Saratoga, NY)
Is there any way we can get October here faster?
Katie Strang (1:36 PM)
If you figure it out, will you let me know?
Does the Paul George injury effect the NHL's decision in any way about the 2018 Olympics?
Katie Strang (1:38 PM)
Really interesting question, Pete. Have to admit, I wondered the exact same thing when watching SportsCenter this weekend. Analysts were saying that the players themselves must be questioning what they were doing there competing, but that would not be the case in the NHL. Olympic participation is a huge deal to players and one they won't want to surrender, but if you've noticed from Commissioner Bettman's comments (and body language for that matter) on the 2018 Olympics, he clearly doesn't want to go.
Sharks definition of "rebuild": sign Mike Brown for 2 years and John Scott for 1 year, then add ice girls to boot! Not too optimistic for los tiburones this year...are you?
Katie Strang (1:39 PM)
John Scott signing among the most baffling this summer, I have to admit
Tyler (New Jersey)
What do you think will happen with Del Zotto? Is he done in the NHL, take a season off, or will he be picked up?
Katie Strang (1:40 PM)
He'll land somewhere. Too much talent to have his NHL career end so young. But I'm sure this period of uncertainty will serve as a pretty sobering wake-up call for him.
Chris (St. Paul, MN) [via mobile]
What impact will Vanek have on the Wild? Will he make them even better or not?
Katie Strang (1:41 PM)
I think you have to be realistic about the type of player Vanek is and has been. I think he will produce. He has proven he can do that. But I just don't see him as someone that can occupy the role as "The Guy." He has to play a supplementary role. He will add a dangerous dynamic to the Wild's offense, but he won't carry the team
How good do you think the Stars can be this year taking into account the addition of Spezza and Hemsky and with almost every other player coming back? Should other teams in the West actually be worried?
Katie Strang (1:42 PM)
Out West, this is the team I'm probably most interested in watching this season. So much young talent and excitement building around the team. Kudos to GM Jim Nill, who i thought really hit it out of the park this off-season
Someone has to go on the Blackhawks. Who do you see that as being? Oduya, Versteeg, Leddy...?
Katie Strang (1:43 PM)
Oduya, If I had to venture a guess
Katie, PLEASE tell me my sabres didn't do enough to take them out of the mcdavid/ eichel sweepstakes!
Katie Strang (1:45 PM)
We'll see Kurt, but for a team that was absolutely dreadful last season, they sure did their very best to effect a dramatic turnaround this summer. I don't see any club in the near future with a more striking about-face than what happened this season with the Colorado Avalanche but I wouldn't be shocked to see a Sabres team that surprises some folks out of the gates in October
Do you think with the Bruins losing Jarome Iginla they will no longer be able to be the number 1 team in the east?
Katie Strang (1:47 PM)
Hard to replace a 30-goal scorer, but I still think the Bruins have a really strong team, not to mention an elite goaltender. Might have to be a more score-by-committee effort this season, but hey, that's the implications of a salary cap that did not increase as initially projected
John (New York) [via mobile]
Can the oilers be considered contenders this season?
Katie Strang (1:49 PM)
That's going to be a stretch, but I will say this: what a great, forward-thinking move to hire Tyler Dellow, or as you may know him @Mc79hockey. More and more teams embracing the advanced stats movement and why not? Bring smart people aboard and you're bound to see results. Will be interesting to see if other clubs follow suit in the future.
I think one of the most interesting questions this season will be how Ovechkin and Trotz get on in Washington. It could go fine or it could be an absolute disaster...how do you think it will go?
Katie Strang (1:51 PM)
I get the impression that Trotz is a coach that is one that players love to play for -- someone that is both well-liked and well-respected, no small feat in a results-nased business. I think it will be a good fit and Ovi will thrive. Sounded like Adam Oates became pretty heavy-handed with micro-managing certain things and that didn't turn out so well.
Hey Katie...Given their current situation with the cap and not being able to do much roster wise, are the Flyers still a playoff team this year? What can Hextall do to improve their situation given his hands are tied with the cap?
Katie Strang (1:52 PM)
Steve Mason was a big part of their success last season. He'll have to be again this year if they want to make the playoffs again.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
What was it that led to you picking the Rangers over the Kings when the Kings were clearly the better team (at least on paper). Was there a lot of pressure being thta you work in the NY market? Thank you Katie!
Katie Strang (1:53 PM)
I think it was because I picked against the Rangers in pretty much every round and turned out wrong. Should have stuck to my original game plan, but no, I assure you we receive no pressure with out picks :)
Chris (NYC )
Do you think Mike Green will get dealt this season? Feel like the Capitals don't utilize him as much on PP with emergence of their other defensemen.
Katie Strang (1:55 PM)
Kind of surprise it didn't happen already, especially with the addition of Matt Niskanen this offseason. Not sure his value is particularly high at the moment, though, so that is likely a contributing factor.
Big JDub (Texas)
Katie, How do you see the Pens season going this year? A lot of change in a little amount of time. Also, do you think MAF will stay another year? Thanks
Katie Strang (1:56 PM)
I could see this being an off year for the Penguins, primarily because of the magnitude of upheaval this offseason. And no, I think Marc-Andre Fleury's days in Pitt are numbered
Is there any truth to the fact that free agents are not signing with the Red Wings due to Mike Babcock's coaching style? Detroit used to be one of the premier destinations for top tier free agents - they all loved playing for Mike Ilitch.
Katie Strang (1:57 PM)
Mike Babcock is a terrific coach, that is without question. But I think he can be pretty tough and that isn't easy on certain players, especially veterans.
Katie, give me one building you never were able to watch a hockey game in that you wish you could have?
Katie Strang (1:58 PM)
Hey Shawn- I haven't been to the Peg yet and I'd love to go. Heard the crowd at MTS is very rowdy and I think that would be pretty enjoyable
Katie Strang (1:59 PM)
Ok all that is it for today, and thanks for coming back for another terrific afternoon of puck talk. I missed this!Looking forward to our weekly sessions for the rest of the summer! Hope to see you here next week!