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 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (2:59 PM)
Hey hockey fans! 48 hours until the trade deadline....Should be a fun couple of days. Headed up to Bristol tomorrow to huddle in the war room with the rest of the hockey crew for the big day, but let's get to some questions first!
Justin (Islanders Country)
Do the Islanders make the playoffs this year?
Katie Strang (3:02 PM)
I have a sneaking feeling that they just might.With 35 points in the EC standings and the Rangers set firmly in their sights, they might just squeak into the top 8.Would be a great story, especially for the long-suffering fans that have endured five straight seasons without a post-season appearance. And, I'm curious to see what impact that would have on the Hart. Can make a strong case for John Tavares as a candidate if they make it
If the Rangers miss the postseason, does Torts take the fall and lose his job?
Katie Strang (3:04 PM)
Nope. And ultimately, I don't think he should, either. To blame all this on Tortorella would be a pretty gross oversimplification. The team simply does not have the right group.I'd expect some significant re-tooling this summer. Still a very good core to build from, but they have some serious needs to address and the off-season is likely the best time for them to do it.
Even as a Pens fan, I feel like the Ducks aren't getting the recognition they deserve. Going 3-0 against the Blackhawks puts them as a Western Conference favorite in my opinion.
Katie Strang (3:06 PM)
Wow, that's very gracious of you, Devin. No doubt the Ducks would be the talk of the town out West if it were not for the historic streak that the Blackhawks began the season with...And while I think the Ducks are a supremely talented, well-rounded, deep and well-coached team, there has been some regression from their success earlier this season. They are 4-4-2 in their last ten games. Will still be one of the teams to beat in the playoffs, though...
Hi Katie, with Newberry being sent down is there an indication that Jesper Fast will now be added to the roster? Especially since it looks like the Rangers will be quiet at the trade deadline.
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
Believe that there is a good chance the Rangers stand pat at the deadline -- I wrote as much last week -- but not quite sure on Fast. Seems like the team is still trying to get a read on what he can do and whether they want to keep him around. Also some issues with that vis a vis roster flexibility.
Will (Brooklyn, NY)
Hey Katie, Are you hearing anything about the severity of Crosby's injury? Do you think he'll be back in time for the Playoffs?
Katie Strang (3:11 PM)
Considering the Pens are a lock on the playoffs and projected to go pretty deep, yes.Horrible blow for both Crosby and the Pens that their star player is out indefinitely after requiring surgery to repair a broken jaw, but there is some good news:According to the team his jaw did not need to be wired shut and he was not exhibiting any signs of a concussion. Those are both encouraging elements that suggest his injury could've been much, much worse
Morning Katie.Sorry about your Spartans.This is a 2-part question about the Isles.1. With Lubo resigning for 2 years, why wouldnt Snow offer Streit to the highest bidder (Boston, Chicago, Ottawa or Edmonton) and get a kings ransom for him? He's 35 and a butcher defensively and with Lubo, Strait, Carkner, Finley and Amac all signed for next year, Hamonic expected to sign a 3-to-4 year deal this offseason and players like Donovan, DeHaan, Reinhart, Mayfield and Pokka just itching to get in the lineup with 2 years, it seems like the smartest move for the organization.2. With Anders Lee on board, have we finally seen the last of Marty Reasoner? He has been an absolute bum.thanks for your coverage.Alan
Katie Strang (3:16 PM)
Thanks for your sensitivity, Alan. Appreciate the kind words. Friday was tough.I still find the Islanders' blue line pretty shaky, but I don't necessarily disagree with you. If they could make a favorable hockey trade, I think moving Streit is not a terrible option. He's getting older and he is not playing his best hockey anymore. And you are right, teams are just drooling over a solid veteran that can move the puck. Might be the best time to maximize your return.Snow could be reluctant to do that for a couple reasons, though. One, that is a tough need to address via free agency and, as we've seen, LI is a tough place to lure top players. Since Streit WANTS to re-sign, they will make a good effort to lock him up.Plus, you run the risk of upsetting some chemistry in moving your captain while you are fighting for a playoff spot. The optics aren't great, even if it might pay off long terms. Spoke to someone close to the situation about it yesterday and he sounded optimistic the team re-signs him
And how would you expect a Pens-Hawks series to pan out?
Katie Strang (3:19 PM)
I picked the Pens to win the Cup and I'm sticking by my guns. Love how aggressive Ray Shero has been in the past week. Shows his utmost confidence in the team's ability to win NOW. Assuming Crosby returns and Marc-Andre Fleury does not implode, I think they are still the deepest and most dangerous team in the league.I will also predict that I gain ten pounds from all the glorious Primanti's and Pizza I will be eating during that series
Now that we're well into the season, can you comment on how the lockout has impacted the level/style of play? Do you think it's been noticeably sloppier? Are the players more gassed than usual? More susceptible to injury? Or has it basically been status quo?
Katie Strang (3:21 PM)
I'd assume there has been a slight uptick in injuries, although I have seen no empirical evidence to suggest this.Hard to make sweeping generalizations about the style/level of play but I definitely think there are certain teams and individuals who were hurt with not having training camps. Rangers one of those teams, Caps too
Brother Jimmy (Upper West Side)
Hi Katie. How will Crosby's injury impact the Penguins? They have been on an incredible roll. Can they keep it up without their main man? Will it impact their ability to compete for the Cup?
Katie Strang (3:23 PM)
Losing their star player for the entire playoffs would obviously be a tough hurtle to overcome, but I don't see that happening.Crosby may lose out on the scoring title, but I think he returns for at least a portion of the playoffs.And the most remarkable element of the Penguins' run is that they have sustained this incredible roll without some of their best players (Malkin, Letang) already. Who's to say they will crumble without Crosby?
Jeremy (Bangor, Maine)
With Anaheim and Chicago struggling of late, and Pittsburgh's trade acquisitions, are the Penguins the clear Cup favourite? Also, are the Montreal Canadiens for real this year? I still can't believe their turnaround, and am not sure how legitimate they are.
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
They are mine, but injuries will likely play a significant factor in their playoff success.In terms of Montreal, I find myself in the same boat as you. Impressed with their about-face, and the savvy of rookie GM Marc Bergevin, but have the feeling they are susceptible to some regression as well.Also not sure how aggressive they will be as the deadline nears. They are one of many teams interested in Ryane Clowe for example, but Bergevin seems reluctant to pay the steep asking price.He's got a long-term plan in place, so not sure I see him deviating from that by parting with some valuable picks and/or organizational assets
Brian (Rutgers University)
Do you think that the Devils will be making any moves before the deadline?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Yes, I do. But I don't anticipate any major moves. With Kovalchuk out, the Devs could really use a top-six forward but I'd expect it to be more along the lines of a complimentary piece a la Ponikarovsky than a splash. Returning Dainius Zubrus to the lineup tonight helps quite a bit as well
Is Hank starting tonight?
Katie Strang (3:31 PM)
Assume so, but lineup not yet confirmed since Rangers didn't skate this morning. Should know for sure around 6 pm
Dean (New York)
Katie. What do you see the Rangers doing or not doing by the trading deadline? Any chance Gaborik is moved or is that a summer time trade? Brian Boyle? Thank you.
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
Think they will definitely try moving both players. Neither one has been particularly impressive this season though, and Gaborik obviously comes with a hefty price tag. In terms of needs, I believe Dan Boyle remains on their radar, but again, he comes with a steep asking price.Rangers definitely want and need a right-handed defenseman, so today's news that Jamie McBain could be on the block was interesting...NYR also in the mix for Ryane Clowe, but won't be among front-runners unless Doug Wilson lowers his asking price
Any chance the wild complete a trade before the deadline?
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
Oh, yes. In fact, it sounds like they are interested in Clowe as well. Wild are my sleeper team out West. Really playing well right now and could become even more dangerous with a key deadline acquisition
Crosby has been the league's best player, hands down. But now that he's out, who can potentially step up and grab the Hart Trophy? Kane? Staal?
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
Good question. Stamkos will likely have a chance to pass Crosby for the scoring title now, but Hart Trophy may be interesting solely because of some of the wild card teams that could sneak into the playoffs. Instead of a top player for an amazing team like Kane, may be the year we seem more surprising candidates surface.And speaking of paper brackets, I saw my second of the weekend on Thursday night.
Any chance the Islanders look at Derek Roy?
Katie Strang (3:41 PM)
I really think there is a good chance Roy ends up in Chicago with their needs down the middle. This weekend, reports surfaced that the Blackhawks would be interested in Islanders center Frans Nielsen. Not surprised one bit. He is one of the most underrated players in the game and would be a terrific addition to any playoff team looking for help at the center position
This year's deadline is shaping up to be the dullest, most uneventful trade deadline ever. Will there be much action? With a weak UFA pool, will there be some blockbuster trades in the summer?
Katie Strang (3:43 PM)
Think you are bang-on, unfortunately. While I anticipate a flurry of activity this summer, I think we are in for a dud on Wednesday.Buyers and sellers still not as clear as years past. Only true aggressors seem to be the teams going all in, like Pittsburgh
Katie, Ovechkin has come on strong, but you don't hear anything from the media that has been bashing him, shouldn't they praise him just as strongly as they tore him down?
Katie Strang (3:45 PM)
People seem to like tearing down Ovechkin and I'm not sure why. Had my first lengthy one-on-one conversation with him this season and he was bright, engaging, charismatic and personable. He's one of the stars of the game and a treat to watch when he's playing to his potential. Imagine part of the lack of fanfare is the Caps' place in the standings, though they are only four points back on Winnipeg right now...
FlyersFan (Flyers Country)
Hello, I have a question regarding the recent speculation that Clowe will be traded to the flyers. I'm not sure if i'm right or wrong, but I don't feel like the flyers need any more forwards. They have Tye McGinn in the minors, so i feel like he could be a call up option to replace talbot. Besides he is 30 years old, and for a team that should be looking to the future, I feel that would be a step backwards. Thanks, FlyersFan
Katie Strang (3:47 PM)
Oh, I think they can use some forwards. But I think you are right to be concerned about the future since their playoff hopes for this season seem to be cooked.However, I think Clowe is more than just your traditional rental.Believe there is a chance to sign the player for the long-term and if the Flyers like him for that, then that explains their interest
What would the rangers have to give up if they want to try and add Clowe?
Katie Strang (3:49 PM)
As of right now, multiple picks and or a prospect or two. Plus, the extension desired would likely be a long-term deal in the $4-5 million range per year
Is Garth a buyer?
Katie Strang (3:51 PM)
I can see him both moving a player and acquiring one if he finds a hockey trade that makes sense. The last time he was truly in this position was during his first year as GM back in 2007 and he wasn't shy about pulling the trigger then. Snow acquired Ryan Smyth as a deadline rental
Craig (Lindsay, ON)
Hi Katie, Anders Lee, more hype than a 6th round pick should be or can he contribute? I like his size.
Katie Strang (3:52 PM)
Everything I have heard about this kid suggests he is a complete stud. Freak athlete and a late bloomer that eventually turned into an untouchable prospect. Very interested to see what he can do, but yes, with his size and speed, I believe he can make an impact immediately
If (at this point, more like when) Ottawa makes the playoffs, is MacLean a shoe-in for the Adams?
Katie Strang (3:53 PM)
In my opinion, no question. What they have been able to accomplish has been simply stunning
Am I a buyer or a seller at the deadline? Does that change if I can't lock up Mike Ribeiro in time to move him?
Katie Strang (3:54 PM)
Seller. Slow start will ultimately bury the Caps, I believe. Think it would be wise for McPhee to move Ribeiro, thus maximizing his return. Will be the top point-producing center out there
What's your feeling about the goalies situation in Ottawa? A lot of buzz around Bishop! Do you think trading him now instead of waiting this summer is a good move by Murray?
Katie Strang (3:55 PM)
As we've seen, goalies are really tough to move. Toughest position in hockey to trade. Otherwise, we'd have seen Luongo moved already. Not sure how many teams are clamoring for goaltender right now, either.
Dean (New York)
Bob Crawford. Play by play announcer of the Whale tweeted Fast is rehabbing an injury. He got hurt in the playoff series his team lost. Its not a serious injury.
Katie Strang (3:56 PM)
Yes, that is correct. Believe it is his knee. And not believed to be serious.
How could the Rangers go from being one of the league leaders in fights last year, to this year being one of the most passive teams? Does Boyle really bring more to the table than a Haley or Newburry?
Katie Strang (3:57 PM)
No Rupp. No Prust. Asham hurt for a long time.
Neal (Menlo Park)
Which player has been your best interview and what made it the best?
Katie Strang (3:59 PM)
Parise is always great. Had a really good chat with him last week about adjusting to life playing in the West and in front of his hometown crowd. Also had some really great, candid insight into what that decision was like last July. Q and A should be coming out soon, so make sure to check it out!
Darcy Regier (Buffalo, NY)
Hi KatieCan you help me make sure my phone is working on Wednesday? The last couple years, I haven't been able to get the darn thing working on deadline day.
Katie Strang (4:00 PM)
Perhaps more important is to make sure no one is recording your conversations. We all know that has become a sensitive subject in Buffalo these days....
Katie Strang (4:00 PM)
Ok all, that's it for this week. Thanks as always for the great questions.See you again next Monday!