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October 21, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Katie Strang

Katie Strang
  (1:59 PM)

Hey all-Thanks for joining me for our weekly hockey live chat. Go ahead and fire away!

Kevin (Long island)

What do you think the Islanders need to do to prevent such inconsistency in their Offense. 3 goals or more in their wins, shutout and 1 goal last night in their losses.

Katie Strang
  (2:01 PM)

Secondary scoring. The team's top line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and PA Parenteau has produced, but the Islanders have received little offense elsewhere. Second line of Grabner, Nielsen and Okposo needs to step up in particular. They did some great things last season and I believe it's only a matter of time before they pick up where they left off.

Hanley (Trenton)

Will Gaborik score 50 goals this year? If not, why?

Katie Strang
  (2:03 PM)

I'm not going to promise you 50 Hanley, but you can expect to see a markedly different Marian Gaborik from last season. Brad Richards' effect on the Slovakian sniper has been evident through the first five games of the season and he delivered an outstanding performance last night, scoring a goal and finishing with a team-high 7 shots on goal. With Richards' elite vision and playmaking ability, Gaborik is primed for a terrific year.

Lorne (los angeles)

Is it finally ok for everyone to chill re: Bruce Boudreau on the hot seat. Great start for the Caps and they're still figuring it out - another year for their young core, new additions have been solid, and the d pairings look good.

Katie Strang
  (2:06 PM)

A hot start certainly shelves the hot seat, at least temporarily. But Boudreau's future will likely be determined by his ability to lead the team in the post-season. The Capitals, in my opinion, are the team to beat in the East, but if they flame out in the playoffs again Boudreau's status must be questioned. On a separate note, I'm still confounded by his decision to opt against Vokoun as the opening night starter. Do not think that was a wise move

Mitch (Las Vegas)

Katie if the Devils didn't win the draft lottery and the Isles picked fourth would they still have taken Strome over Larsson and also what is really going on with Comeau is the coach trying to send him a message?

Katie Strang
  (2:09 PM)

In retrospect, it might be worth asking if any of the top three teams wish they had taken Larsson earlier. I've said plenty of times in this space earlier that I think Larsson has the potential to be a special player and a cornerstone for NJ's D for years to come. Granted it's early, but he's been impressive. As for Comeau, yes, I believe the Islanders are trying to send a message. They've refused to answer questions about it to the media, but they may at least want to explain it to Comeau.

Alex (OC)

Ryan McDonagh!

Katie Strang
  (2:11 PM)

What a game for him last night. Following a terrific performance Tuesday in Vancouver -- a goal and an assist in the team's 4-0 shutout win -- McDonagh steps up big and scores the game-winner with less than two ticks left in overtime. If there has been any silver lining from the Rangers' debilitating injuries on defense, it has been the tremendous play of McDonagh. Oh, and that guy Dan Girardi. I guess playing 30 minutes a game isn't too bad...

Gary (Westchester, NY)

DePietro is still with the team contractually for another 9 years. What do you think will happen with him this year? Nabokov and Montoya are a solid 1-2, with lots of talent in the farm...do you think they'll send DP to Bridgeport for a few games to get him solidified as a game tested goalie again eventually this year? He's really become a black eye on the organization the past few years.

Katie Strang
  (2:14 PM)

They will only send him to Bridgeport if he's injured. 1) They need his cap hit of $4.5 million to reach the floor, and 2) the Bridgeport Sound Tigers are carrying three goalies on their roster -- Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen. Too crowded down there already and you don't want to stunt one of those prospects development by sending him elsewhere to accommodate DiPietro

Alan (Queens)

Hey Spartan:2 Questions today,Why has Blake Comeau been entrenched in Capuano's doghouse in favor of a 4-minute a night Trevor Gillies.Does Josh Bailey need a change of scenery? He seems lost on our Island without a paddle. What can be done?Sconsin by two TD's in East Lansing.Keep up the good work, Katie.Alan

Katie Strang
  (2:18 PM)

Watch it, Alan. I don't take kindly too being chirped about my Spartans :). Capuano has refused to talk about why he benched Comeau. He hasn't even been willing to say whether it's performance-related. And as much as I am in the dark, it seems that Comeau is too. Talked to him earlier this week and he said he was given no explanation. He was held off the scoresheet in his first three games of the season, but if a 24-goal season doesn't grant you a longer leash than three games, then we should see several more underperforming guys benched soon as well. I think Comeau can be a heck of a player, but I don't think his future is on Long Island. Make or break year for Bailey as well, but a change of scenery may not be the worst thing for him, either.

Josh (Michigan)

Although early in the season, Detroit looks strong again. Do they need to/will they make a move at the trade deadline with their cap room? If so, who may be on the move to Detroit or elsewhere?

Katie Strang
  (2:21 PM)

Detroit certainly has the cap space, a recent phenomenon that ESPN Insider (and resident Wings expert) has written about several times recently. Here's at least one link that addresses that very question, but read Custance's blog for more: http://insider.espn.go.com/nhl/story?id=7117961&_slug_=nhl-detroit-red-wings-positioned-well-trade-deadline

Lukas (Rochester, NY)

Sabres are 5-1-0 and yet to win on "home" ice, think they may bet he best from the East?

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

Great goaltending, an improved defense and their first line is producing. Luke Adam an early Calder favorite. Very, very dangerous team. Would not be shocked if they have a breakout year.

Brendan (Cortland)

When do you think Staal will be back?

Katie Strang
  (2:24 PM)

Several of us media members thought we'd know more this week in terms of a Staal update, but none was given. That means he's status quo, which leads me to believe he's not going to return any time soon. Have to figure at least a month more. Don't think he has even skated in a while. Should know more once teams returns from four-game swing in Canada

Mombo (Ny)

Comeau has been scratched and isles lack secondary scoring. There's obviously something up and it's not the first timeits happened. If they have such a problem with him why not trade him? Good stats and not a bad contract.

Katie Strang
  (2:26 PM)

Good question. Capuano has said several times before that he doesn't believe in having players around unless they are going to play. If the Isles don't like what they are getting from Comeau, they should definitely try to trade him. 24 goals playing on the third line and second power-play unit at a reasonable $2.5 million? Believe me, several teams would be interested.

Nick (Phila PA)

Coming to Philly for the Winter Classic?

Katie Strang
  (2:27 PM)

Yes! Can't wait. In fact, I was doing some perusing online last night for some sweet furry winter boots. No one ever said you can't use hockey to justify shopping....

Alex (OC)

Will we see Zuccarello back in a Ranger sweater any time soon?

Katie Strang
  (2:29 PM)

Yes. Coach John Tortorella said that the decision to send him down wasn't necessarily an indictment on his performance. The Rangers want him to play, and 7 or 8 minutes of ice time per game isn't getting the job done. He had an excellent training camp and will be recalled down the road.

William (The Bronx)

Hey Katie, love your work and thanks for these chats as a hockey fan we don't get much coverage. As a Devils fan and hockey fun in general, do you think all three area teams as well as Buffalo might make the playoffs. Your thoughts and thanks.

Katie Strang
  (2:30 PM)

Thanks William! Strongly believe Buffalo will make the playoffs and think Rangers definitely will as well. More skeptical on the Isles and Devils front. Could see those teams battling for 8th spot, but no chance all four teams make it

Nick (New York)

When can we expect Staal and Sauer back in the lineup

Katie Strang
  (2:32 PM)

I think Staal will miss at least another month. Sauer, however, is much less concerning. Unless there is any structural damage to his shoulder that went undetected, he should be back within a week I'd estimate.

Hanley (Trenton)

Why do the Ranger's management and coaching staff hate Sean Avery?

Katie Strang
  (2:34 PM)

I don't think anyone in the Rangers organization HATES Sean Avery. In fact, I believe owner Jim Dolan and General Manager Glen Sather have been pretty strong allies for Avery in the past. Coach John Tortorella said he felt he simply had better players. And a head coach should be given that autonomy to make such decisions. Have to believe that Avery's cap hit of $1.9 M is also somewhat prohibitive. I think he is an effective player and he belongs in the NHL, but he'd have an easier time getting recalled if he didn't threaten to leave the Rangers on the hook for a lot of money

Chris (Somerset, NJ)

Hi Katie! Once again, San Jose is off to a slow start. Is this due to a long playoff run last spring? Will they come around? Thanks!

Katie Strang
  (2:36 PM)

It's early in the season Chris, which means some basement-dwelling teams are playing their pants off and some contenders have been underwhelming. Sharks have indeed been slow to come around -- Pavelski, Marleau, Thornton, and Couture have only six points combined in four games, YIKES! -- but that won't last. Sharks also return Marty Havlat to lineup tonight vs. Devils to that will help.

Ryan (Long Island)

When will we see Micheal Haley this season? Seems to always inject energy into the lineup and has flashes of some skill too

Katie Strang
  (2:39 PM)

Was wondering that myself recently Ryan. I was surprised he didn't make the team out of camp. Pound-for-pound may be one of toughest guys around and does have some offensive ability as well (when he was recalled before Pittsburgh game last season he led Bridgeport in goals AND PIM). Expect him to be up soon. I think he can be used more effectively than Trevor Gillies, who is also on a two-way contract.

Matt (MD )

A friend of mine and I were in a heated argument about whether the Bruins last year were a good team or simply one that got very very very lucky and shouldn't even had sniffed the playoffs. Can you tell me what you think about last seasons Bruins. p.s. sorry its not a new york related question but i want to get this argument settled once and for all.

Katie Strang
  (2:41 PM)

Great goaltending a la Tim Thomas is not luck. BUT, I don't think the Bruins won on pure talent. They bullied their way to the Stanley Cup and if that's what it takes, more power to them.

Joe (The Mitten)

I will be at the MSU victory tomorrow, even without Gholston. But tell me will the Wings spoil the Caps roll just like the Spartans spoiling Wisconsin's? GO GREEN~

Katie Strang
  (2:43 PM)

Haha love the support Joe! If they spoil the Caps roll it would have to be in the Cup finals. As a Michigan native (I bought my dad a Lidstrom jersey last Christmas, I'll admit) I've learned never to count out a team, and organization, like Detroit.

Vinnie (ATL)

Is Nassau Coliseum the most embarrassing venue in all of sports?

Katie Strang
  (2:44 PM)

I've been to some minor-league ballparks that would make you shudder, but certainly the worst in the NHL. Especially now that the Igloo is gone...

Katie Strang
  (2:44 PM)

OK I'll take a few more...

Alex (OC)

Is it me, or was Lundqvist's game in Vancouver one of the best in his career?

Katie Strang
  (2:45 PM)

He was incredible, Alex. Stole those two points for the team. He's one of the best around, but the Rangers can't rely on him bailing them out every game.

Luke (NY)

All of the buzz in isles prospect land has been about Nino and Strome, but what about Kabonov? it seems he's shook most of the bad boy rep, but does that mean he can be the top 5 talent he was originally projected to be before the drama started?

Katie Strang
  (2:49 PM)

Latest on Kabanov is this Luke: He is on an eight-game tryout with Farjestads BK of the Swedish Elite League, although his rights were recently traded from the Blainville-Broisibrand Armada to the Shawinigan Catactes of the QMJHL. He's an intriguing player: supremely talented, but immature and undisciplined at times. Keep an eye on his development this season. One thing's for sure with him: it's never boring.

Katie Strang
  (2:49 PM)

Thanks so much everyone for joining today for the chat! Hope you all can make it next week!!!!!