Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Thursday, hockey writer Katie Strang stops by to chat about the New York area teams on ice.
After spending the past two seasons as the Islanders beat writer for Newsday, Strang joins ESPNNewYork.com to cover the Rangers, Isles and Devils. 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 2 p.m. ET!
Mike O (NYC)
Were the Islanders even thinking about claiming Avery?
Katie Strang (2:23 PM)
From a non-hockey perspective it makes sense for two reasons: 1) it would sell tickets and 2) it would screw over the Rangers, who'd be on the hook for about a million bucks. But GM Garth Snow isn't too fond of Avery and I think the feeling is mutual. Doubt Avery would've played there and Snow does not need a repeat of last season's Nabokov saga.
Jason (Long Island, NY)
Hey Katie! First time to ask you a question: Do you see the Rangers making a move long term to get a defense (Strahlberg or Franson) or sticking with what they have?
Katie Strang (2:24 PM)
Jason, I do not see them solving this with a long-term solution at this point. They will probably use some short-term band-aid-type moves until they get a better idea of how much time Marc Staal will miss. I do believe they will sign Anton Stralman sooner rather than later.
Hello Katie, Will Nino play the full two weeks in bridgeport? Do you think he sees time on the top line when he comes back?
Katie Strang (2:26 PM)
I doubt he'll use the entire two-week conditioning assignment, so expect him to make his return sooner than that. Ideally, the Islanders would like Niederreiter to fit on that first line, but with the second and third line struggling, I would not be shocked to see him start there instead.
Darren S (New Jersey)
Marty looked terrible last night. Should he follow what Terreri once did and take a back seat and let Hedberg take the lead and make his exit from the NHL this offseason?
Katie Strang (2:29 PM)
Even Brodeur admitted he was not at his best last night, but let's not forget two things: 1) he hasn't played in three weeks so some rust is to be expected and 2) the team did not play well in front of him. No reason to hit the panic button on him yet -- did you see the stick save he made on Kessel in the third -- but I think it's definitely reasonable to expect Hedberg to carry more of the load. He's been very good thus far.
Was Avery called up to replace Rupp? Or would he likely have been recalled even with a healthy Rupp around? I wish the Rangers had promoted Zuccarello instead.
Katie Strang (2:33 PM)
Yes, although he may have eventually gotten the call regardless. Avery's game is pretty straightforward. He provides energy and edge and a strong forechecking presence. The team's fourth line has lacked identity and purpose and Avery can add to that no question. Re: Zuccarello, he is in a bit of a catch-22. Torts doesn't want him up unless he can find him ice time. Doesn't want him playing on fourth-line.
Stephen Pasqua (New Rochelle NY)
Why is Al Montoya not playing anymore for the Islanders? considering that Nabkov is 35 and Dipietro always on a leash. How did Montoya suddenly become man out?
Katie Strang (2:36 PM)
That's a really good question Stephen and I wish I had a better answer for you. The reality is I don't know why they have chosen not to use him. I really thought the Islanders had turned the corner on all their curious goaltending decisions when they sided with merit and reason in awarding Montoya the opening night nod. That fourth game was originally slated to be a DiPietro start, so then Nabokov replaced him once DP got concussed. From there, I don't know what happened. Capuano said he wanted to ride the hot hand for a while in Nabokov and then that bizarre shootout debacle against Pittsburgh. Cannot imagine why Montoya fell out of favor so fast.
Adam (Northern NJ)
Are the Rangers front office happy with Torts so far?
Katie Strang (2:38 PM)
Listen, the Rangers are not in dire straits here and one thing is for sure: the team is playing hard for Tortorella. The coach is not the issue. Their biggest problem is the same one as opening night. They are without their top defenseman Marc Staal and that has had a ripple effect on the whole team.
Any chance that we'll be getting Staal news soon? How about a prediction when he'll be back?
Katie Strang (2:39 PM)
I originally predicted December Greg, and while that is still possible, I'm not sure it's useful to even project a timeline anymore. He hasn't skated in almost two months. We've received no updates. No news on that front is never good news.
Hey Katie:First, I commend your Spartans for miraculously beating the Badgers a few weeks back. Reality set in last week in Lincoln. LOLNow to the Islanders, I look at the early success in Edmonton and Ottawa, and I am worried that this "Rebuild" isn't headed on the right track. Josh Bailey looks lost and Kyle Okposo can't get out of his own way in the offensive zone.Please give us Islander fans, who continue to get laughed at by our Ranger brothers, some hope. Or is it another year to look at the top of draft and pray that Yakupov or Dumba fall to us.Thanks again for the awesome workMichigan State 38, Minnesota 14 on Saturday.Alan
Katie Strang (2:43 PM)
Thanks for rubbing salt in the wounds Alan! Just kidding...In terms of the rebuild, the Islanders have had some pleasant surprises in additions like Matt Moulson and Michael Grabner, but are seeing some of their young homegrown talents experiencing some growing pains.Make or break year for Josh Bailey needs to but he has struggled in the early stages. Kyle Okposo was my top candidate for a breakout season, and that can still happen, but the team's second line has struggled to pick up where they left off last season. With regards to Isles, Edmonton and Ottawa, keep one thing in mind: It's still early. First ten games still too premature to gauge the success of a team's rebuild
Danny S (Staten Island)
How surprising has it been that Ryan Mcdonagh has looked like the sharpest offensive presence on the blueline, rather than Michael Del Zotto ? Was offense something the Rangers saw in Mcdonagh that led them to getting him in the Scott Gomez trade ? He's played superb thus far.
Katie Strang (2:46 PM)
Actually think both have played really well. McDonagh has shown his offensive potential while Del Zotto has re-gained his swagger in his own end. Coaches have been praising his aggressive play and improved decision-making. Has been an even or plus rating in all 10 games this season. Should be a big year for both, which is a very good sign for their defense in years to come.
Dan (Long Island)
What is the deal with the Isles 3 goalie situation? No team carries 3 goalies, especially teams that want to be successful. When will this end? And why is Montoya in hiding all of a sudden?
Katie Strang (2:48 PM)
I agree. Coaches can say whatever they want, but carrying three goalies is never good for anyone involved. If they think they can move Nabokov they should. If they want to stick with him, then Montoya has trade value as well. Just counterproductive and toxic to have all three around. Needs to be a clear-cut starter.
Thomas Pratt (Bellingham, WA)
My fantasy team needs to know -- Montoya in goal tonight fir NYI?
Katie Strang (2:49 PM)
Sorry Thomas. According to Islanders beat writer Arthur Staple, Rick DiPietro will make his second straight start tonight against the Jets.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the Islanders will get a new Arena in the Future?
Katie Strang (2:50 PM)
Yes, and I may be in the minority on this, but I believe they will remain in the greater New York area. Clock is ticking though. Realistically, an arena would take about three years to build and the team's Coliseum lease expires in 2015.
Katie Strang (2:51 PM)
OK all, gotta head to MSG for tonight's game. Sorry for the technical difficulties. Hopefully we will have the kinks ironed out next week!