Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (3:01 PM)
Greetings puck-heads! Hope you all are doing your best to stay warm amidst this polar vortex. Thankfully, I have a good excuse to rock my brand-new fur-trimmed boots. Trying to look at the silver lining here...Lots to talk about this week. Hold nothing back, friends. Trade deadline queries, player rankings, Olympic snubs...I'm all ears!Fire away!
@DXFlyers (Norristown PA)
Your gold-silver-broze predictions for Sochi
Katie Strang (3:02 PM)
Great question to start things off. Afraid I'm going to appear a bit unpatriotic here:Gold- CanadaSilver - SwedenBronze - U.S.
Steve Spiegel (Deacon Industries, PA)
What would it take to get Moulson from the Sabres?
Katie Strang (3:05 PM)
Considering that he is a pending unrestricted free agent and will thus be a rental, I'd say a second-round pick. Maybe a pair of picks, a second and a third. Sabres have stockpiled a pretty impressive crop of prospects. Murray is in a good position to add some more if that's the route he wants to take. In his introductory press conference, he said he'd like to build through the draft, so that only reinforces the emphasis on accruing youth and talent
Marcel Aubut (Quebec City)
Bonjour Madamoiselle Katie. Before we get this chat started, I would like to invite Ken Dryden to the podium to read "The Game" in its entirety in both French and English. Then Steve Yzerman would like to invite every NHL GM up to announce all of their players that did NOT make Team Canada. Other than that, we will get right to it. Can I get a GO CANADA GO!?!....(crickets). Merci.
Katie Strang (3:07 PM)
I had to go to the bathroom so bad before that announcement but I steeled myself to hold it until the team was named. You can only imagine my disgust (and discomfort)
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What Outdoor NHL Hockey Game will you be Attending this season?
Katie Strang (3:08 PM)
Both games at Yankee Stadium, where I will be wearing the aforementioned boots. Very excited for both. Hoping desperately the temps are a bit more balmy than right now
Bob (Ottawa (Canada))
Hey Katie, I still can't see why Team Canada chose Jeff Carter (or Rick Nash for that matter). I just can't see why the Brain Trust couldn't put Martin St.Louis over Carter. St.Louis demonstrated some strong scoring and speed yesterday. I think Carter over St.Louis is a mistake, especially considering the respective character of each player
Katie Strang (3:10 PM)
I'd have definitely taken Marty St. Louis on my team. He works his tail off, creates havoc at the front of the net and provides the type of veteran leadership essential for this type of big-stage tournament. And he's earned it. What a gut-wrenching decision for GM Steve Yzerman to pass him over. Loved the way St. Louis responded. Let his play do the talking as he tallied two goals in the Bolts' recent win against the Jets
Kevin (Nashville, TN)
Do you think that the Preds can make a run towards the playoffs if they get a healthy Pekka Rinne back between the pipes after the Olympic break? Much has been made of their lack of scoring, but they seem to play a more conservative game without Pekka back there erasing their mistakes. (On a side note, I literally just saw Pekka at a Nashville restaurant for lunch, and he was off of crutches and looked completely healthy).
Katie Strang (3:12 PM)
Regardless of how structured of a game they might play in front of Rinne, Nashville needs guys that can score goals. As such, I'm very intrigued to see how Forsberg does now after returning from World Juniors. He ripped it up and earned MVP honors for his dominant performance. Has to help his confidence going into his latest recall and it appears that the concussion issues are firmly behind him
Hello, Katie. Mike babcock is without doubt one of the great coaches of the modern era. That said, the Wings tend to look listless and uninspired at times this year. Has the coach's shelf life run out in Detroit?
Katie Strang (3:15 PM)
No coach is ever truly safe, no matter how well liked or respected they are, when a team is underperforming. Case in point: Lindy Ruff. Sometimes teams need a new message or a fresh perspective. But know this about Detroit: the team has been hampered by injuries, so that makes it more difficult to assess Babcock's security. I still think the Wings make it and he keeps his job. Winning Gold for Team Canada won't hurt his case, either
good rangers win last night. if they can win in chicago, they can win anywhere right? just need to see that effort and more consistent play from the king.
Katie Strang (3:18 PM)
Indeed, they played a really strong, smart road game against one of the league's best. Save for a blip in the second period, the Rangers looked pretty good. Rick Nash was impressive, as was Henrik Lundqvist, particularly when he was under siege in the third period. Think that is a very important game for Lundqvist to build on. After a shaky start, he recovered nicely and capped the night with a very stingy effort against the league's top-ranked offense.
George (Hicksville, NY)
Katie, Just saw that A. Larsson was sent down by the Devils. Is there any type of consensus as to what the issues are with his development, or lack thereof? From games I've watched he just never seems to have any type of impact. Thanks for the chat.
Katie Strang (3:20 PM)
He does really present a puzzling case. Just cannot seem to make that jump. Granted, he is still very young and many people feel that the defenseman position is the toughest to learn. That said, Eric Gelinas has certainly been able to make an impact at a young age. Appears he will return to the lineup tonight for the Devils against the Stars. He's been able to add a whole new dynamic to their back end with his shot
Hi Katie, Happy New Year! Once the Avs get healthy and assuming they want to resign Stasny do you see them trading O'reilly at the deadline? Do you think the Rangers will take a run at getting him?
Katie Strang (3:22 PM)
There certainly has been some interest in the young pivot previously. Will be interesting to see if Avs dangle him at the deadline and, if so, what they will seek in return. COL can use some help on the back end, and the Rangers would love to move Del Zotto. There is also the possibility that they could move Girardi as well. Might be a fit.
I went looking for the Flyers in the standings, but I couldn't find them in 7th place. Where are the Flyers in the Metro standings?
Katie Strang (3:25 PM)
Haha, fair enough Matt. And well-played. They currently reside in 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings and they certainly deserve heaps of credit these days. Seven wins in last eight games, including a six-game road trip, and ten straight wins at home. Not to mention, they are receiving contributions all throughout the lineup. These Flyers appear to be for real and I am more than happy to eat crow :)
Stephen Hume (New York )
Will the Islanders make another playoff push like last year?
Katie Strang (3:26 PM)
The mediocrity of the Metropolitan Division certainly doesn't rule them out, but I think they dug themselves too big of a hole. Plus, I just have too many concerns still about their goaltending.
Hawks or Blues, if you had to pick one right now, who would you pick?
Katie Strang (3:27 PM)
Still Hawks, though I'd love a second-round meeting between the two :)
captwasabi (franklinville, ny)
do you feel the Sabres will trade Ryan Miller by the deadline?
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
I think they certainly have to try, though goalies are always the toughest commodity to move. This will be an interesting test for new GM Tim Murray, hired Thursday by Pat Lafontaine.
Fun fact...if the Czech team runs out Nedved, Jagr and Plekanec as a line, they'll have a combined age of 114 years old...
Katie Strang (3:29 PM)
Fun fact: this will Jagr's FIFTH olympic games. Crazy
Scott (St. Louis) [via mobile]
Last chat you said Callahan would be a good pick for captain if isn't Brown. Did you forget that Backes, Suter, Parise and Kane are on the team?
Katie Strang (3:30 PM)
Funny that you should ask this because it kept me up the other night. I was really sore that I short-changed both Backes and Parise, who I feel would make excellent captains as well.
Ben (State College) [via mobile]
Why all the complaining over Carter? He's big, tremendous skater, devastating shot, and can play along the boards. Let's not forget he is a Cup winner who produced on the biggest by being the top scorer.
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
I have found there to be far more outrage about those that were left off the outrage as opposed to those who made it. Saw this on Twitter on Tuesday and it's a really good suggestion. In order to whine about a player not making it, you are required to name who he'd replace. I don't have a problem with Carter
Who is in 2nd place in the Metro Division?
Katie Strang (3:32 PM)
Ok, now you're just rubbing it in.
Hey Katie, would a player rather win the cup or the gold?
Katie Strang (3:34 PM)
I think it was David Backes that was asked this recently and man did he give a politician-worthy answer. Said that was akin to being asked which kid you like better. Granted, that was on a Team USA conference call.Short answer: Stanley Cup
I know it was a 7th round pick (but could've been the next Lundqvist pick!), but why would the Rangers trade for Carcillo when they have someone liek Michael Hayley in the minors that can play the 4-8 minutes a game and bring toughness?
Katie Strang (3:35 PM)
What's funny is you use the same rationale that I do every time a team peddles a seemingly "meaningless" seventh-round pick. Great minds...I was also somewhat baffled by the move. They have both Asham and Haley that can do that job internally.
Top 3 Metro teams at the end of the season: Penguins and who else?
Katie Strang (3:37 PM)
Slater (Long Island) [via mobile]
How did Stepan make the USA squad? He has been horrible.
Katie Strang (3:39 PM)
He has certainly had a slow start to the season, and if it weren't for his standing within the USA hockey program, I think he'd have had an uphill battle. What worked in his favor? The selection group wanted some depth down the middle so they opted to bring along an extra center
Katie, recent rumors suggest that Dustin Byfuglien might be available. Do you see Rangers making a deal?
Katie Strang (3:40 PM)
He's a right-handed shot, and the Rangers are definitely in need in that department
Russ (North Pole, AK)
Who do you think starts in net for U.S. and for Canada? Hope the boots are real fur!
Katie Strang (3:42 PM)
I think Ryan Miller beats out Jonathan Quick for Team USA. Carey Price for CAN
Hey Katie. Do the Rangers have any sort of gameplan for the upcoming months? Is there anything to report as far as negotiations with Cally, Girardi, etc. go? Are they entertaining the thought of trading them? There's so much speculation going on and there are so many key decisions to be made I'm getting really anxious :)
Katie Strang (3:46 PM)
And rightfully so, Adrian. In fact, we may start to see the dominoes fall a bit earlier this season, because the trade deadline comes so soon after the Olympic break. I think the Rangers have to see where they find themselves a month from now and ask: better to add a piece and/or lock up some key guys OR time to unload and re-tool a bit for the future. If the Rangers continue to hover on the cusp, they have to entertain the thought of moving Callahan or Girardi, or both. There has been no significant progress on either re: extension and the Rangers can't lose those two assets for nothing in free agency. Both players will be coveted should they become available at the deadline. The Rangers find themselves approaching a very critical juncture as an organization
Do you see the olympics hurting the Rangers players or helping them hit their stride?
Katie Strang (3:47 PM)
I can legitimately see the tournament being what helps Lundqvist and Nash find their extra gear. The Rangers need both players to perform much, much better. Sure, there is the fatigue factor and the injury risk, but I think this could have positive implications for the Rangers
As a Sharks fan, I'm very happy to see so many Sharks staying at home during the Olympic break, do you see that helping them down the line come stanley cup time?
Katie Strang (3:48 PM)
Absolutely, especially veterans like Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle. Devastating disappointment for Logan Couture, but there could be worse things than having more time to heal after undergoing wrist surgery this week.
@DXFlyers (Norristown PA)
Selanne is in his 6th Olympic games #TeemuForever
Katie Strang (3:49 PM)
Indeed, #TeemuForever. Finns have an intriguing team. Think they could surprise some people
Dr. J ((Smithtown, NY))
Chances Vanek resigns?
Katie Strang (3:49 PM)
Slim. Just don't see it.
Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)
Katie, after the Burnside-Team USA fallout last week, I heard an interview with David Poile on XM where he said it was USA Hockey executives above his head that invited the reporters into the meetings and the GMs were promised they would be able to "proofread" any articles before they were published...but somewhere "the ball got dropped." Then the great Elliote Friedman said that he believes the players (like Bobby Ryan) are pros and can handle the criticism...but the respective fanbases cannot. And that is what leads to everything getting blown up, hatespeech on social media and talk radio, etc. and then the GMs feel they need to defend themselves. Then it goes downhill from there. Your thoughts on these topics from a media standpoint?
Katie Strang (3:54 PM)
Excellent question. In my opinion, it was an absolutely fantastic article: insightful, revelatory and meticulously-reported. I was absolutely riveted, and judging by the response, so was everyone else. Any criticism of my ESPN colleague Scott Burnside, is wholly and totally unfair. He was granted exclusive, unfettered access and he used that to give readers a behind-closed-doors look at what goes on when building an Olympic roster. If there was miscommunication with people within USA Hockey, they have their own negligence to blame. And honestly, was anything really that bad. I felt bad that Bobby Ryan had to read those comments, but he is a competitor and professional. He's a big boy and he'll be just fine. Plus, anyone that knows Brian Burke knows that what would have been printed and was not was likely far more, um, colorful
Dean Lombardi (Los Angeles, CA)
Katie, do you want me to explain why Keith Yandle should be on Team USA. I would love to start at the beginning, but I feel I might need to go back even further.
Katie Strang (3:56 PM)
I've got plans around dinner-time, so not sure this is a good idea...
Katie Strang (3:56 PM)
OK all, we will end there today, Thanks as always for your questions. Always enjoy checking in with you each week :)Be good and bundle up!