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December 16, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Katie Strang

Katie Strang
  (1:59 PM)

Hey everyone! Checking in from Prudential Center in NJ. Feel free to send all NJD, NYR and NYI questions you have. Since I'm in the giving holiday spirit, I promise not to turn you away if you lob a Milbury one my way either ;)

Soulfly1219 atl [via mobile]

I EC actually better than Avery? The last 2 games have been boring and the team has no snarl. And simply put we win more with Avery than EC

Katie Strang
  (2:02 PM)

Avery provides energy and grit. EC is a skilled center with more offensive potential and an irrefutable knack for the shootout. Really a question of what coach John Tortorella needs on any given night. Shouldn't be ignored that Avery's cap hit is about a million more than Christensen's, either. Moral of the story is that neither player has been a true difference-maker.

Dominic (Anaheim, CA)

It is incredibly sobering and troubling how we are losing star players to these concussions. NHL must find a way to improve safety measures and if that means going back to slowing down the game, then it must be done. We're not just talking about their careers but their long-term health.

Katie Strang
  (2:04 PM)

Totally agree Dominic. This whole season has been eye-opening but this week in particular. Pronger done for the season, Crosby sidlined again. League leaders like Michalek and Giroux suffering concussions as well? Very scary. I'm no doctor, and while I think the speed and the size of the game is a factor, awareness is also a big reason we're hearing about so many more. Think teams are being much more cautious and mindful in dealing with head injuries and diagnosing them more. Hopefully that is the first step in managing and minimizing a very frightening trend right now.

Andy (St. Louis)

So...how about that Blues game last night?

Katie Strang
  (2:05 PM)

Shoot. That was a tough game to watch for Rangers fans, I imagine. They did not look good. Couldn't get anything going on offense, weak on and away from the puck. Losing battles. Richards benched. Not one that inspires a lot of positivity about the team being a potential contender...

cdiercks (New York)

Edmonton is faltering pretty significantly and the devils are only getting stronger. Could we see Adam Henrique overtake Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (the nuge) in the Calder race?

Katie Strang
  (2:06 PM)

There is absolutely no reason Adam Henrique can't be in the conversation with the year he is putting together. If he continues at this clip I think he will warrant some serious consideration

Craig (Lindsay, ON)

Hi Katie, I enjoy your work. Question, with the Flyers in perpetual win now mode, and with the Pronger news, would the Isles be able to pry Schenn, Van Riemsdyk or Couturier away for Streit? I know D is the last thing the Isles can give up and I am a fan of Streit but in the end perhaps moving him while he has value is the best thing for the organization.

Katie Strang
  (2:07 PM)

Nice try Craig, but no chance. Streit's a great player, but they'd need to offer a hell of a lot more to get one of those guys back in return.

cdiercks (New York)

But seriously, can we start a petition to get Kevin Weekes in as Millbury's replacement on national television/life?

Katie Strang
  (2:08 PM)

He is so, so good on TV. Love watching him and that generally seems to be the consensus around the league.....Promotion?

Rob (Chicago)

What are you feelings on naming the new conferences?

Katie Strang
  (2:08 PM)

As long as it isn't sponsors, I could really care less.

Adam (Toronto)

Who's Zajac playing with tonight? Seems like the first line is rolling lately, the Elias/Sykora/Zubrus line has lost a little steam since the nice start and our 3rd line could use a boost.

Katie Strang
  (2:09 PM)

Centering the third line with Mattias Tedenby on his left and David Clarkson flanking him on the right

Sanyi (Long Island)

U said it before 1 more injury for DiPi and most likely his career is over. Do u still beleive this?Also, how much longer do isles fans have to deal with a clueless coach? No pssion,no desire, never sticks up for his players. travis Hamonic received major elbowing penalty and cappy was smiling. Even if u get an extra bench minor for verbal abuse it's worth it when in my opion ur most underatted player gets ejected.

Katie Strang
  (2:11 PM)

The most incensed I have ever seen Capuano (and the team's embarrassing shutout loss to Boston comes a close second) was after a loss in NJ last season. Frans Nielsen, one of the most respected guys in the Islanders' room and very mild-manneres, was given a game misconduct by an official. Capuano lost it and unleashed a pretty fiery tirade at the refs post-game. He'll stick up for his guys. He'll also call them out when they play like donkeys.

Bret (Albany, NY)

The word is Mike Rupp is ready to return to the lineup. To be perfectly honest I think we are a better team with Avery in there instead of Rupp. What are your thoughts?

Katie Strang
  (2:13 PM)

I've seen so little of Rupp this season that it's really tough to say. But in terms of the whole Avery/Christensen/Rupp debate, it's so peripheral in my opinion. They are all fourth line players who will receive limited playing time. Bigger question to me is: what in the world is going on with Brandon Dubinsky. There is an important guy that is not doing what they had hoped. Not even close.

A (New York)

On concussions, I belliev the helmets cushion aor padding is wrong it should push in and out to release pressure away from the head .The helmet padding is hard and when you sweat it gets harder so its like hitting your head against cement

Katie Strang
  (2:15 PM)

I can't say I know a lick about helmets, but I think it's safe to say the league and NHLPA will take a close look at helmets, shoulder pads and see if they can devise a way to limit or lower the astounding rate of rate injuries we're seeing

Ross (Morristown)

Any chance we'll ever see the Devils in the Winter Classic or on 24/7? The show is great, but it's tough watching my 2 least favorite teams on it.

Katie Strang
  (2:16 PM)

I really doubt it. Big factor in determining who plays is the television audience teams will draw. For that reason, I think the Devils and Islanders are at a severe disadvantage to ever be selected. And arguing for a Rangers-Isles or Rangers-Devils game won' help. Then you are sacrificing a two-market draw and essentially settling for one. Won't happen

cdiercks (New York)

With the impending doom of Mike Millbury on National Television, what is the spread on whether NBC will hire a former Flyer? (Bill Clement has class so he's obviously out of the running)

Katie Strang
  (2:17 PM)

I really like the Kevin Weekes suggestion.

Danny (Garden City South, NY)

Will Rick Dipietro will buy out next CBA?

Katie Strang
  (2:18 PM)

If the next CBA provides each team with one amnesty buyout, and it's reasonable, then that would seem like a logical decision to make.

A (New York)

Whats wrong with the Rangers it seems when torts goes over something they lose track ,its as if they know better its obvious they havent learn the game very welll they just lose track

Katie Strang
  (2:19 PM)

Not playing well right now. They seem a little lost, but remember it has only been two games. Every team has these stretches, even good ones. Mark of a great team is being able to limit and learn from them

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

What New York City Area NHL Hockey Team is Playing very Lousy Right Now?

Katie Strang
  (2:21 PM)

Islanders. They have dropped four straight and are back to the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Has to be very spirit-sapping for a squad that had a good six or seven-game stretch where they played well.

Shawn (Michigan)

Katie...Were you able to get to the MSU/U-M game last week and can you name some prospects that the Spartans may have that could be NHL bound?

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

Oh man, I wish! Heading home next Wednesday. Looking forward to Mama Strang fattening me up!

Joey (Danbury, CT)

Who will start in net for Isles tomorrow night?

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

If last night was any indication, I think Capuano will go back to rookie Kevin Poulin. Heard he was pretty good.

Adam (Upstate, NY)

What do you think of the Foster acquisition for the Devs. I am not expecting much of the guy, from what I saw the other night in FLA he has a bomb from the point but has poor footspeed, can't make quick decisions at the point with the puck, and isn't great defensively. Frankly, I don't think I would put him in over any of the other 6 guys when the backend is completely healthy (unless they tried to run 7 D sometimes). The fact is that he was going on about 3 hrs of sleep plus 2 straight days of traveling before his first game, but at the same time I don't think he will have an impact.

Katie Strang
  (2:25 PM)

Let's give him some time to get acclimated before we rush to judgment. Has a cannon from the point so can open some things up with the power play. We'll see about the rest as he plays more...

Craig (Lindsay, ON)

OK, so we can throw in Koskinen, Joensuu and Comeau as well (wait, they are not here anymore). How about Nabakov and DiPietro (crap they suck). How about Wishart and Neidereider (damn, over-rated). I got it, the rights to Trivino, they should be worth a lot, I here he has good hands (sorry that is off-side).

Katie Strang
  (2:26 PM)

Right. This is why it's really hard to talk trade scenarios involving the Islanders. They don't have a lot of alluring pieces right now. If they are double-digits in points removed from the 8th spot, Snow will again find himself as a seller at the deadline. But don't expect them to get much in return.

Bret (Albany, NY)

How do you feel about John Mitchell's play so far? I think he looked good the first couple of games, but he has kind of disappeared, while Hagelin continues to impress me

Katie Strang
  (2:28 PM)

If Tortorella didn't like him, he wouldn't be playing up with the big club. Hasn't been as impressive as Hagelin, tho. Shoot, that kid can skate. Making a strong case for himself to stay up. I'll try not to hold it against him that he's a U of M grad. Everyone has their flaws.

Katie Strang
  (2:30 PM)

OK all, we're going to end there for the day. Thanks for all the great questions. Will be basking in home-cooking next week so Happy Holidays! Looking forward to more puck talk in the New Year!