Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

March 25, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Katie Strang

Katie Strang
  (3:01 PM)

Hey hockey fans. Thanks for joining me for another week of puck talk.Trade deadline only nine days from now...Fire away!

Andrew (Mn)

The Wild are looking really good right now. They definently have the talent and depth to make a playoff run but can they win the cup? The way I see it is there only getting better as the season goes on so by the end they could be good enough to win it. There Winning on the road, Have one of the best home records, Very good Defense and goaltending, good PK and the PP has been really good and there scoring more in general. So what do you think?

Katie Strang
  (3:03 PM)

Not sure if I want to put them in the mix of teams I consider Cup contenders, but they are scorching hot right now. Five straight wins to challenge Vancouver for the Northwest division title. Good secondary scoring. Excellent season for Suter. Strong goaltending. And they have Parise now, too. Credit Fletcher for staying the course when they didn't come out of the gates blazing. Could be a real dark horse out West

Alex (Anaheim)

At the age of 43, Teemu Selanne has piled up 20 points and got fired up enough to tell off the referees at the end of last night's game, earning him a game misconduct. Can we make a rule that he is never allowed to retire?

Katie Strang
  (3:04 PM)

No complaints from me, Alex. #Teemuforever

Mark (NJ)

Do the Devils have any hope of making the playoffs if Kovalchuk is out for the full 4 weeks? Their power play looked atrocious without him on Saturday night.

Katie Strang
  (3:06 PM)

Will be a tough test for Devils, who have struggled through stretches to come up with offense this season. Definitely a boost that they got Marty Brodeur (and his scoring touch ;) ) back, but this will be a trying situation for New Jersey. Hurts to have Ponikarovsky out, too. Losing some major size and offense on the wing

John (Tampa, FL)

Please tell me Lindy Ruff will not be the next coach of the Lightning? Why I think he can be decent they need a coach who has a style similar to Dan Blysma because with the young talent they have at the forward and center positions his style would take advantage of that. Everyone here in Tampa knows we NEED A GOALIE COACH because Frantz Jean is horrible and a defense style that allows our defenders to break out our forwards with thier speed. With that said who are the other options?

Katie Strang
  (3:09 PM)

Jon Cooper, coach of the AHL Syracuse Crunch, is another front-runner as well, it seems. Though I've heard nothing but rave reviews about him, not sure if that is the best approach for Tampa Bay at the moment. Went with an up-and-comer with Guy Boucher the last time around, so perhaps it's time for a proven NHL coach with more cache. Lindy Ruff certainly fits that bill

Will (Brooklyn, NY)

Now that the Pens have acquired you see them making any other moves?

Katie Strang
  (3:10 PM)

Ray Shero once again active in the week or so before the deadline. Acquired San Jose defenseman Douglas Murray from the Sharks earlier today

Chris (Tampa)

The Rangers traded all their depth scoring to get Nash and weren't exactly an offensive juggernaut before the trade. Do you think if they had the summer to do over they still make that trade?

Katie Strang
  (3:12 PM)

I still think they go for Nash. And I still think they'd make that deal again. The only difference now is that I think they have a better understanding of the middle-of-the-lineup guys they sacrificed in making the acquisition. In retrospect maybe you re-tool your strategy for off-season signings and ancillary trades to address the depth issue

Derek (New York)

How was Rick Nash not suspended? or even called for a penalty? He clearly left his feet to deliver a blow to the head (from behind) of a player that didnt see him.

Katie Strang
  (3:14 PM)

Two straight Nash questions!I don't know exactly.I'm surprised, but not shocked, he escaped supplementary discipline. Though he is not a dirty player, that was a dangerous and reckless hit in my opinion.Calling the principal point of contact the back/shoulder is splitting hairs. He blindsided him with a blow to the back of the head. Deserved a suspension

Doug (D.C.)

Any chance the isles fire capuano at the end of the year? I'd love to see them bring in Lindy Ruff or another top tier coach to shape the young talent.

Katie Strang
  (3:15 PM)

I think there is a chance that Capuano gets let go, especially if the third-period collapses continue. To me, that's poor coaching.And while I think Lindy Ruff would be a great coach for the club, I doubt the Isles are willing to pay him accordingly

JB (Albany)

Katie, what seed do you think NYR will finish? Their performance this year is incredibly discouraging.

Katie Strang
  (3:17 PM)

They simply are not the same team as last year. Different mix of guys and it just doesn't really seem to be a great fit.Think they will sneak in as a seventh or eighth seed. Might get to the second round, but I'd be surprised if they advanced beyond that

Ian (Denver)

Who's next in line for the Avs head coaching job? Rather,,, who wants the next Avs coaching job?

Katie Strang
  (3:18 PM)

Dean Chynoweth coaches their minor-league affiliate in Lake Erie. He's a tremendous hockey mind that I believe will be a NHL head coach or GM someday.

Mark (Erie, PA)

Does Torts survive the year if the Rangers miss the playoffs?

Katie Strang
  (3:19 PM)

I think he does, honestly. May be on a short leash after that, but I believe he has a decent cushion.

David (Cupertino)

Katie, What are your thoughts on the Murray trade by SJ / Pittsburgh? Do you think it might trigger moves by other Eastern Conferences contenders to get ready for the playoffs? How likely do you see Clowe and Boyle getting moved by the Sharks?

Katie Strang
  (3:21 PM)

I do believe the recent flurry will spur more activity as GMs try to bolster their clubs in the days leading up to the deadline. With the high-octane Pens adding two key pieces you can bet that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is itching to make a move. Possibly trading for Jarome Iginla?Definitely think Clowe is more likely to be moved than Boyle. Bunch of teams want him. Doug Wilson could move both players, though

Mark (Work)

Are the BHawks buyers at the deadline and if so who do you see wearing the best logo in hockey for a Cup run?

Katie Strang
  (3:22 PM)

Yes, they are buyers. Some people have floated Iginla as a possibility, but I don't see it.Think Ryane Clowe is a much more realistic option

Nadiv (Maryland)

The caps are back in the playoff race! Do you think they will be buyer, sellers, or will they stick with what they have?

Katie Strang
  (3:23 PM)

Really interesting situation brewing in DC. With Brooks Laich and Mike Green back int he lineup, Caps are rolling. Teams will be calling GM George McPhee about Mike Ribeiro but Caps might want to re-sign him before making a playoff push

Tommy (NY)

Where would Iginla fit on the Hawks? Hossa and Kane both take up the Right side on the top 2 lines?

Katie Strang
  (3:24 PM)

Right, which is why I am skeptical. Also, assuming he wants to re-sign wherever he goes, not sure how the Hawks would manage that....

Frank (Pittsburgh)

A little over half the season gone...who do you like to make it to the Finals? Who lifts the Cup?

Katie Strang
  (3:26 PM)

My pre-season pick was the Pens and I'm sticking with it. Like how active Shero has been; seems like he is going all in on bringing home another Cup. Think it will be Pittsburgh and Chicago in the Finals.As I've said before, I'm fine with that considering the local culinary options.Alternating meals of Primanti's and deep dish pizza is my type of series

Nick (Ny)

Any idea when staal could return

Katie Strang
  (3:28 PM)

No indication yet, whatsoever Nick. To my knowledge he has yet to begin skating on his own. When we spoke to his brothers last week they said his vision is still not 100% and his fractures have yet to fully heal. Hope he is able to return before season's end, but can't guarantee that will happen right now

Lou (NC)

Should the Sabres be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?

Katie Strang
  (3:28 PM)

Sellers. Poor Ryan Miller. I'd like to see him get moved to a team that actually helps him out occasionally

Jay (Detroit)

The Wings definitely redeemed themselves this weekend against the Ducks (after getting beat at home by the Wild). With their play against quality opponents this year, I think this is a playoff team with a pretty darn good goalie. Are you hearing any trade rumblings involing the Wings to help give them that extra playoff push?

Katie Strang
  (3:31 PM)

Not sure who their trade targets will be although with Carlo Colaicovo returning, they may have the depth on defense to dangle someone like Ian White as trade bait. Also, expect them to land college free agent Danny DeKeyeser, who will begin fielding offers tomorrow. Wings believed to be front-runners and he may jump into a spot in their top-4 immediately

Mark (Erie, PA)

Are the Rangers still looking at trading Marion Gaborik?

Katie Strang
  (3:33 PM)

Yes, they are definitely open to moving him. Not sure how much interest he has garnered, though. Despite coming off a 41-goal season, Gaborik is as streaky as they come.Could be a real gamble for a team hoping to add some speed and skill on the wing

gordie (howe)

How about those wings this weekend?

Katie Strang
  (3:34 PM)

Beginning to really round into form, Gordie. Expect them and Wild to be sleeper teams in the playoffs out West

BobbyD (new england)

Any rumblings on if the Bolts attempt to move MSTL26? Another Cup stamps he admission to HOF.

Katie Strang
  (3:36 PM)

Damian Cristodero floated that possibility in a column last week for the Tampa Times. Not sure I see that, but maybe this coaching change alters that possibility. Believe St. Louis has a NTC so he has control over his own destiny, but have to see what he thinks of whoever Steve Yzerman hires to succeed Guy Boucher

John (Boston)

Hui Katie - Are the Bruins strong enough in goal to win the cup. It took arguably the greatest goalie season ever a couple of years ago to win it, can Rask be strong enough to carry us to a cup? Thanks

Katie Strang
  (3:38 PM)

Absolutely. Have been really impressed by Rask. Very calm and composed. A big reason why the Bruins have been so successful this season. Curious to see how he does as the starter in a playoff series, though.

Keith (NYC)

The Rangers are so frustrating. Can't seem to play a full 60 minutes and then don't have the guy to put one in when necessary. They no longer have an identity, they are no longer tough to play against. All they seem to do is played scared, try to defend, and then try to counter when the other team makes a mistake. There is little aggression, little confidence and little results. Not sure how we all bought into the hype. If things continue this way Nash would have been better served staying with CBJ.

Katie Strang
  (3:40 PM)

Understand the frustration, Keith. Their struggles this season have been mind-boggling, no doubt. I honestly think part of the problem is everyone compares them to last season, and they are a markedly different team now. Wonder if there has to be changes to team's style of play now that personnel has changed. Think the Rangers need to think more long-term this trade deadline and off-season

Doug (D.C.)

Will the Isles re-sign, trade Lbuo? Or do neither and lose him to free agency? A cash strapped team like the Isles can't lost big names like Lubo for nothing. If he will not sign during the season I think you have to trade him.

Katie Strang
  (3:42 PM)

I think they will probably try to re-sign him, as well as Streit, Nabokov and Boyes, but if they receive indication it is not going to happen (and/or Isles fall out of contention) they may move him

Katie Strang
  (3:42 PM)

Ok all that is it for today. Thanks for stopping by! See you here next week!