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 (1:59 PM)
Hey everyone! Thanks again for stopping by. Go ahead and fire away with any questions!!!!
How long will this Ranger streak last?
Katie Strang (2:02 PM)
If it lasts past Saturday night's game against Montreal, it will be the team's longest winning streak since the 1974-75 season -- an impressive feat. The biggest takeaway for me about this current skein is the team's resolve. The Rangers aren't necessarily playing their best hockey, but they are finding ways to win. And they are getting good balance among their contributors.
Lawrence (Toronto, Canada)
Who should we be looking out for in the Devil's goalie pipeline? And shouldn't he be getting some quality starts with Brodeur and Hedberg being in their late 30s, and edging closer to retirement...
Katie Strang (2:05 PM)
It is interesting that the Devils did not elect to groom a successor to Brodeur, but rather stuck with the 38-year-old Hedberg. Hedeberg has been fantastic, by the way, so I'm sure you are not too disappointed. The Devils have definitely added to their prospect pool at the goaltending position. In addition to Jeff Frazee, the Devils have added Scott Wedgewood, Maxime Clermont and most recently Keith Kinkaid. Wedgewood, who is currently playing in the OHL currently, may be the best in terms of potential, but Kinkaid seems to be playing the best with Albany right now.
Why is it so essential the Isles get "value" for Nabokov? They got him on a flier, he doesn't want to be there, and it's causing an unnecessary distraction to a team that has too many problems as it is. Shouldn't they just waive him or get whatever they can at this point?
Katie Strang (2:08 PM)
I kind of agree with you on this, Steve. If Garth Snow is holding out for a second-round pick -- like he was with Zenon Konopka last trade deadline -- he's going to be waiting a long time. Especially now that the 36-year-old Nabokov has been battling groin injuries this season. The Isles goaltending situation is streamlined -- for now -- but once he returns I think the best thing for the team is to do something with him. Never wise to have three goalies. And if Snow is so bent on "value" then why did he trade Roloson for Ty Wishart?
With a lot of slight injuries to the penguins do u think pittsburgh has a shot at the cup? even without sid the kiid
Katie Strang (2:10 PM)
Yup. There's a reason Dan Bylsma won the Jack Adams last year. They were still a dangerous team even without Malkin and Crosby. That's also a testament to Shero that they have such depth.
Drew (New Jersey)
Do you see the rangers swinging a mid season deal for a sniper?
Katie Strang (2:12 PM)
No. They have their elite sniper, Gaborik, and their elite play-maker, Richards. If there is any position they'd like to trade for, it's on D. Woywitka was a solid waiver claim, just as Stralman was a solid free-agent signing, but those are band-aid moves.
David C (Boston)
When should we expect Okposo in the lineup again? And who sits? Comeau? Bailey? Pandolfo?
Katie Strang (2:14 PM)
I think it would be shocking to see Okposo sit a third straight game. He is struggling offensively, no doubt, but it is certainly not from lack of effort. Watching a few games from the press box (and I was surprised it wasn't just a one-off) can help him take a step back and watch the game from a different perspective, but I think scratching him tomorrow is counter-productive. He knows what he needs to do to get back in the lineup. Now let him do it.
Tony Perkis (Fair Lawn, NJ)
what position will the devils look for in a trade first if they are competing last in the season?
Katie Strang (2:16 PM)
I think you are asking what position they will trade for if they are competitive late in the season? If that is indeed the question, then I think they also would be in the market for a defenseman. Let's be honest, every team that believes they can make a post-season push is looking for one at the trade deadline...
Besides Buffalo, which NY Area team do you think will win the Cup Next?
Katie Strang (2:17 PM)
I think the Rangers are in the best position to, but it won't be this year. Heading in the right direction, but not quite ready.
jack (syracuse ny)
Should the rangers be worried about making the playoffs considering their shaky start? gaborik isnt showing up big and goaltending hasnt beeen much of a helping factor
Katie Strang (2:19 PM)
Well Jack, I'm going to be frank with you: They are on the verge of matching their longest winning streak in almost 40 years, Marian Gaborik has been their most consistent forward and their goaltending has been outstanding.
Katie, I respect Charles Wang for saving the Isles in the early 2000s, but I have to ask: is trying to be Al Davis? His stubbornness in not building a real front office / operations / scouting department is the #1 reason the Islanders are consistently bad. Will he ever change his philosophy on how to build a successful organization or should I wait for the team to be sold?
Katie Strang (2:20 PM)
Not as long as the team continues to lose tens of millions each year.
Larry (Meaford, Canada)
Who will save the Islanders; Nabokov? DiPietro? Montoya?
Katie Strang (2:23 PM)
Well if they are going to be rescued from the cellar of the Eastern Conference, they are going to need more consistent offensive production. The three-goalie situation is a problem, though. Pick who you think gives you the best chance to win each night, name them the starter, have a consistent backup and get rid of the third. Doesn't seem too hard. I'd have Montoya starting, DiPietro backing up and Nabokov traded.
Rob (United Center)
Do you see Chicago as the favorite to win the Western conference? It doesn't even seem like they're playing that well and they're still beating everybody up. If they ever put the pieces together they'd smash teams.
Katie Strang (2:26 PM)
What happened to the San Jose bandwagon? Resilience is key and if a team can survive some stinkers and still edge out wins that's a good sign. If I'm a Rangers fan, that's what I like about this current streak. Mark of a good team.
William (The Bronx)
Hey Katie, as always appreciate these chats. Almost two months into the season, assess Pete DeBoer's job so far. The power play is terrible but the penalty kill has been outstanding. P.S. he seems to be a little too optimistic after tough losses. Thanks.
Katie Strang (2:28 PM)
Interesting that you ask William. Was chatting with a former player of his today who had him as a coach both in juniors and in Florida. Had good things to say about DeBoer. Namely, that you always know what he expects and where you stand. Devils have been a pleasant surprise for me, so I give him a lot of credit in that. If they can sustain this level of play, I think they will be a playoff team.
Pete (Rhode Island)
Hi Katie! Travis Zajac has been skating in Winnipeg for the past few weeks. When can we realistically expect to see him in the lineup?
Katie Strang (2:29 PM)
Hey Pete. I think he'll probably start practicing with the team in the next 2-3 weeks. I know December was the targeted return. Has been out for some time though, so will need time to work on conditioning before he's ready to return to the lineup.
Who is the better cook? You or Jen Vrentas?
Katie Strang (2:31 PM)
Me, especially since I recently purchased what I consider to be the Cadillac of Crock Pots. But she's better at everything else. And she also makes ridiculous oreo truffles and doolittle squares.
Mike (Old Bridge New Jersey)
What do expect the Isles can get in return for trading Nabokov?
Katie Strang (2:32 PM)
Mid-rounder at best. Goalies are tough to move. Roloson only fetched back a defensive prospect in Ty Wishart and he was a hell of a lot better than Nabokov has been this season
Mike (SI, NY)
Any realistic chance the Isles actually make a significant move to upgrade the roster, and not merely shed veterans for mid round draft picks? I'm still waiting on that elusive top 4 de-man that Snow said he was looking to address in the summer. Thanks
Katie Strang (2:34 PM)
The only way Snow can obtain that elusive top-four defenseman is via trade. We've seen that re: Hamhuis, Martin and most recently, Ehrhoff. But I don't see that happening unless the team is in it come February
I heard Marc Staal is practicing, but when do you expect him to dress?
Katie Strang (2:36 PM)
He is not practicing, but he was recently cleared for light physical activity, ie working out on a stationary bike. Not even close to talking about him returning to the lineup. I still don't think you can even rule him out as possibly missing the entire season, unfortunately. This most recent development is a positive one, but a small hurdle in a long road to recovery.
I know it's a bit early on Capuano, but if the Isles decided to let him go, I would hope that they have a serious candidate lined up to take the spot. Big name coaches haven't been attracted to the Isles in the recent past though. can you name anyone that would make sense and want to come to LI?
Katie Strang (2:38 PM)
Well if Doug Weight expresses interest, I think that is a possibility. But to be really honest, I don't think they are at that point yet. This current slide feels very different from last year.
Katie Strang (2:39 PM)
OK all thanks for stopping by! Join me next week and have a great weekend!!!!