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February 4, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Katie Strang

Katie Strang
  (3:00 PM)

Hey everyone! Busy week already -- at least on the NY hockey scene -- so let's get right to it with your questions. Fire away!

Gabe (Tallahassee)

What can we expect from the players acquired in the Rupp trade?

Katie Strang
  (3:02 PM)

Palmieri is a depth forward -- call-up guy that will report to AHL's Connecticut Whale -- but Powe is the key to this deal. Adds an absolutely vital element to Rangers on the PK. Finished first last season among Minnesota's forward in PK minutes and second in the league among forwards with 91 blocked shots. As in, three more than Ryan Callahan.Wonder why Tortorella likes him?Oh and also, he can play center, which provides some added versatility the Rangers want and need

sp (wny)

It is really disappointing being a Sabres fan. Lindy is an excellent coach, but a lot of folks are thinking a new voice is needed. If they do choose to go in another direction, who would be available to coach this team back to relevancy?

Katie Strang
  (3:06 PM)

Getting rid of Lindy Ruff is still a tough sell, I think. Quintessential players coach that has a tremendous amount of respect and cache around the league. And the Sabres are far from irrelevant yet, especially with the stellar play of Thomas Vanek. But some of their weaknesses have certainly been exposed over the past week and they'll need to come up with some secondary scoring if they are gonna push for a playoff spot in the East.

Chris J (Fairfax, Va.)

What do the Capitals need to do to bounce back? I think goaltending has been suspect and Ovechkin is becoming difficult to coach.

Katie Strang
  (3:09 PM)

I still think it is too early to give up on Ovechkin. Believe he will hit his stride eventually, but the team can't wait much longer for him to return to form. My concern lies much more with the goaltending as both Neuvirth and Holtby have been shaky. Doesn't sounds like GM George McPhee is interested in Roberto Luongo, but it goaltending continues to be an issue, Caps may be forced to address the situation in net.

Constance O'Houlihan (Tacoma)

What did you think of Craig Custance's scarf that he wore on NBC on Sunday? I really think it brought out his chestnut eyes.

Katie Strang
  (3:11 PM)

Now I really cannot believe I missed this cameo! If he was rocking a chic scarf, I can assure you his wife likely picked it out.

Bill (Midtown office)

Best player (non goalie) in the Atlantic after Malkin and Crosby. My rank: Tavares, Kovalchuk, Nash. Thoughts?

Katie Strang
  (3:15 PM)

They are all dynamic players to watch and vitally important to their respective clubs. I predict Tavares will have a monster year for the Islanders, but Nash has also been a pretty riveting player to watch. Said this last week, but I think his first multi-goal game is right around the corner. Projecting Kovalchuk's production to drop off a bit this year

Sean (SoCal)

Why wasn't Stoll's takedown on Fowler on Saturday suspendable? Teams get away with murder against Anaheim, it seems. Will the league ever start paying attention?

Katie Strang
  (3:17 PM)

Not sure I'm willing to buy into an Anti-Anaheim bias, but I don't blame you for being frustrated about that one.

Dan (Washington DC)

Do you think we'll see JT Miller and any point this season for the blueshirts?

Katie Strang
  (3:19 PM)

Yes, the Rangers recalled him just now along with Brandon Mashinter. Guessing both players, plus the recently-acquired Darroll Powe, will be in lineup tmrw vs. NJ

Jonathan (Alexandria, VA)

Which team with a hot start, in your mind, is the biggest pretender? Which underperformer is bound to get it right and compete in the playoffs?

Katie Strang
  (3:22 PM)

I don't want to say pretender, but I'm not sure I'm sold on Ottawa yet. They have the goaltending, but Spezza's injury will be a very serious blow, in my opinion. And still think Minnesota, middling at the 8th spot in the West, will continue to rise

TdotBoy22 (Toronto)

Do you think it's time for Iginla and Kipper to leave Calgary? If so, who could be potential suitors for their services?

Katie Strang
  (3:23 PM)

I think it's past time T-Dot. Calgary really would have been better served to begin this rebuild a few years ago

Sam (PA)

How is their a discussion of top 5 players in the Atlantic without Claude Giroux's name in it?

Katie Strang
  (3:25 PM)

Good point. Monster 93-point season last year. He is definitely up there as well, although I imagine his production will taper if the team continues to struggle as they have early on this season. Also think we won't fully understand Jagr's impact on his play until we see Giroux spend a significant chunk time without him

Jason (Chicago) [via mobile]

I haven't seen other teams matchups this week, but Blackhawks at Sharks has to be the game of the week, right?

Katie Strang
  (3:28 PM)

Holy shoot, yes. What a match-up. Both teams off to scorching-hot starts. Neither team has experienced a regulation loss. Chicago at 7-0-2 and San Jose, 7-0-1, just one point behind them in the Western Conference standings.

Joe (Toronto)

Do you think Luongo will remain in Vancouver all year?

Katie Strang
  (3:31 PM)

No, I don't but I'm also not surprised he hasn't been moved yet. Goaltenders are always the toughest assets to move, even with a fair amount of interest and it takes teams a few weeks to realize what they have and what they don't. Market for goaltenders different now than three weeks ago for some teams (i.e. Washington) and could take another unpredictable turn at any time with a significant injury

Marc (Brooklyn)

Who's your early pick for the Calder trophy? Tarasenko, Conacher, Yakupov or Schultz?

Katie Strang
  (3:33 PM)

In pre-season poll, I predicted Tarasenko. First prediction in a long time I feel pretty confident about. Kid has been tremendous for STL.

JD (PA)

Katie, Moose for the Vezina! All those haters (Burnside) who said the Devils were too old in net are clearly eating their words right now.

Katie Strang
  (3:35 PM)

In fairness to Scotty B, this was also an element that concerned me as well. I will say this: every time I pick against Marty Brodeur he proves me wrong. 40 years old or not, he's an elite goaltender and future Hall of Famer. Together him and Hedberg seem to monopolizing that fountain of youth. The thing to keep an eye on is how they fare down the stretch, though. Still early.(But I'm learning my lesson)

Dom (NY)

Any new news on Michael Sauer? i'm beginning to wonder if his career is in jeopardy.

Katie Strang
  (3:38 PM)

Nothing new Dom, but I fear you may be correct in worrying about that possibility. Sauer is not expected to play AT ALL this year for the Rangers and there is little to suggest any optimism surrounding the situation. Has not played since December 5 of last year and has not even been around/working out. That tells me that he must still be suffering significant symptoms. Very scary and sad to think his career may be over at such a young age

KF (Holtsville, NY)

Are the Islanders for real? Or pretenders

Katie Strang
  (3:40 PM)

Still to early to tell KF, but entirely possible they take advantage of a strong start and ride that into their first playoff appearance in six years. With the future move to Brooklyn, would be a great thing for organization if they can pull it off. Team has some serious talent up front. To me, the key is how the goaltending and defense fares down the stretch

Katie Strang
  (3:41 PM)

Ok all, that's it for today. Thanks, as always, for all the great questions. See you back here next week!