Chat with Katie Strang
Welcome to ESPNNewYork.com! On Friday, 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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Katie Strang (2:01 PM)
Hey everyone! Thanks for stopping by...lots to discuss today. Just a heads-up: I'm working on adding a weekly mailbag feature to the blog as well for all the questions we don't get to in the live chats each week. Keep an eye out for that soon. In the meantime, fire away!
I know there was a bogus trade report involving the Isles last night, but they need to do something. You think anything is on the horizon?
Katie Strang (2:03 PM)
Yes indeed those rumors -- Nabokov to CBJ in exchange for Fedor Tyutin -- were false. GM Garth Snow told me this morning no truth to the rumor whatsoever. I'm not saying that he won't be traded this season, but as of this morning he has not been asked to waive his no-trade clause. You are right, though. They need to do something. Score goals. They are really struggling offensively. Just not getting enough out of key guys
Matt (Orlando, FL)
When Staal comes back (if he does), the Rangers will have a ton of defenseman on the roster. We know Girardi, Staal, McDonagh, Sauer, and Del Zotto arent going anywhere. Who gets the 6th spot out of Stralman, Eminger, Woywitka?
Katie Strang (2:05 PM)
Tough to say before Stralman has even played a game, but Eminger would beat out Woywitka for that sixth spot if the battle was between the two.
Is there any chance the islanders can seek an elite winger to help JT take the next step?
Katie Strang (2:07 PM)
Doubtful. What assets do they have to give up in order to bring something back? Adding a complementary piece like that is a move you make when you are in position to compete for a playoff spot. When you are ready to take that next step. Isles don't even seem close right now.
Matt (New York)
Are the Rangers legit cup contenders this season? Its hard not to get excited with their play as of late. The goaltending is outstanding and if we can get a few late starters going, this team could be dangerous.
Katie Strang (2:09 PM)
Cup Contenders? No, I don't think so. But I think the Rangers are equipped to grab a 4 or 5 seed in the East and advance beyond the first round of the playoffs. That is the next step for them. Once that happens, we can talk about contending. I do like their resilience in the wake of Marc Staal's absence, however, That's a mark of a strong team.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NHL Team in the New York City Area will be the Best in the 2011-2012?
Katie Strang (2:10 PM)
I think the Rangers will finish on top among the three New York teams, but I've been pretty encouraged by what I've seen from the Devils of late as well. If they continue to play the way they are playing, I think both them and Rangers will make it to post-season.
Frustrated isles fan (west Islip ny)
With teams continually making runs at the goalie position when does Haley get called up?
Katie Strang (2:12 PM)
Interesting that you asked. If you had to ask me right now, what is the best short-term solution for the Islanders, I think this could be it. I think Haley is pound-for-pound one of the toughest guys in the league. And he has some offensive ability as well. Isles have been playing way too friendly of a game lately. I think calling him up would do the team so good.
I'm a huge Devils fan but not a Kovi fan. I just don't think he fits the system. I think his contract costs us Parise for the future. Do you see Kovi ever buying into the Devils system?
Katie Strang (2:15 PM)
Well this system certainly has to be more appealing to him. Coach Pete DeBoer's philosophy is a pretty distinct departure from past regimes and much more offensively aggressive. Kovalchuk has to be happy with his ice time, too. He's playing about 25 minutes per game and is out there for the entirety of almost every power play. Provided this current injury doesn't set him back too much, I think he'll have a really impressive year.
Tim (Palmer Twp Pa)
I think that when Nabokov pulled himself out of that game before the shootout, it was because he no longer wants to be with the Islanders.
Katie Strang (2:17 PM)
Nope. He suffered a lower-body injury during the first period that worsened throughout the game. If he was simply pouting, he wouldn't have missed time in the following weeks.
Andre (Manhasset, NY)
Hi Katie,Great coverage of New York area hockey teams. As a die hard Islander fan, I think I have seen enough of this franchise. This is really looking like last year. Right now, to be honest,this franchise does not deserve a new arena with the kind of product they are putting on the ice. What do you think will happen if the team falls out of the race? Trades of significance are hard to make in NHL. With Edmonton showing significant progress in their rebuild , can we say that the rebuild is serious jeopardy of failing. Will Garth Snow lose his job or be reassigned within the organization. It is time for Charles Wang to hold people in the organization accountable.
Katie Strang (2:19 PM)
Thanks Andre. I doubt you will see any huge, sweeping changes in the organization. Even if they finish dead last. That may put their 'rebuild" in jeopardy, but I firmly believe that as long as Charles Wang remains the owner, Snow will stay as GM.
We know they have the goaltending, now with Gaborik scoring do the Rangers have the fire power to compete for an Atlantic division title and in the playoffs against the Caps and Penguins?
Katie Strang (2:23 PM)
If you are a Rangers fan, you have to be really fired up by the recent play of Marian Gaborik. He has been outstanding. And although he isn't playing with Brad Richards, he has forged some good chemistry with Artem Anisimov and Derek Stepan. That line has been playing phenomenal. Goaltending has been terrific, offense starting to gel, but Rangers need D-man Marc Staal back to compete. Team has done really well in his absence, but they are going to need him down the stretch.
William (The Bronx)
Hey Katie, thanks again for these chats. Assess Zach Parise's game for me. Watching him so far, it seems like he's not there yet. What do you think? Love your work.
Katie Strang (2:25 PM)
I don't think we've scratched the surface yet this season on Parise's potential. He is a special player, a franchise player, but remember, he's coming off essentially a whole year without playing. Give him some time to find his groove, develop some chemistry and I think he'll take off. Also will be huge once they return injured Travis Zajac to the lineup.
ha! i know chris he bartends at Fridays where we watch the RANGERS. NYR also were rumored to be in on Tyutin, having traded him there in the first place... any teeth to that?
Katie Strang (2:28 PM)
If Columbus was willing to move Tyutin, I definitely think the Rangers would have interest. But his cap hit and length of contract -- he recently signed a six-year, $27 million extension -- are prohibitive. Despite trading him away previously, they do really like him
Between the Islanders and Rangers, which player do you think is the best fighter.
Katie Strang (2:29 PM)
Brandon Prust. If Micheal Haley was up with the Islanders, that would be one fight I'd like to see. Both guys are ridiculously tough
Is Stralman going to be a mainstay this year, or just another stopgap defenseman?
Katie Strang (2:30 PM)
We'll see Alex. He is a band-aid solution for the Rangers, but he does have some solid NHL experience. All depends on how he plays. Could be a solid third-pair defenseman, though
Does Blake Comeu have any value? Seems like he doesn't want to be in Long Island and Long Island doesn't want him.
Katie Strang (2:33 PM)
He isn't playing his best. That's no secret. But very few players on the Islanders are performing at an optimal level. Any 25-year-old player that is coming off a 24-goal season after playing third-line minutes has value. And he's only making $2.5 million. Teams have called Snow about him, but Isles are not aggressively shopping him. My gut tells me he will be traded before the deadline, and that may be best thing for him. He could probably use a change of scenery
Katie Strang (2:34 PM)
OK we're going to wrap up for today. Thanks for stopping by! And remember to keep an eye out for the new mailbag feature. I'll try to get to any questions I didn't get to today!