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

Katie Strang
  (2:00 PM)

Hey hockey fans! Glad we get to dive back into some questions while we're in the midst of some phenomenal second-round action. Fire away!

Mac (Brooklyn)

Any injury updates on when Clowe, Powe, and Staal will return?Thanks.

Katie Strang
  (2:02 PM)

Staal and Powe both skated today, but remain out of the lineup for Game 3. Doubt Rangers get Clowe back at all. Feeling is that he is done for the Spring

Andre (Encino, CA)

Hi Katie,Great job covering NHL for ESPN. My question is do you think the Islanders will take the next step by making a trade for Thomas Vanek or Bobby Ryan. Or how about the blueline for Edler or Yandle. Time to add some key pieces without ruining the rebuild. How active do you think Garth Snow will be?

Katie Strang
  (2:04 PM)

Thanks Andre- I do think that this will be a critical summer for the Islanders in terms of taking that next step. Whereas before I didn't think they were ready or in the right position to add that big-ticket free agent, I think they have turned the corner. Ideally, a legitimate-first line winger that can play with Tavares. Should be very interesting to see what a step forward for Isles this season will do in terms of free agents' willingness to come to Long Island. Now is the time to capitalize before the big move to Brooklyn

Jesse S. (Carmel, NY)

Katie, are either yourself, Custance or Lebrun members of the Toronto Mayor's inner circle? Even friends with him on facebook? Just checking. All bets are off for Burnside.

Katie Strang
  (2:05 PM)

Haha. No. Although I will point out that LeBrun has a sandwich named after him. Imagine there is a Rob Ford joke possibility hidden in there somewhere....

Steven (Reno)

Katie, Sharks have to be frustrated. They have outplayed the Kings in 9 or 10 of the 12 periods, and still find themselves in a 2-1 hole w/ a must win game tonight. Can the sharks take something away from the fact they have been the dominant team and win tonight?

Katie Strang
  (2:09 PM)

I'm sure there is some frustration, but I think the prevailing sentiment is that they feel encouraged by the way they have played against LAK. Injuries have to be a bit maddening though. Havlat out for Game 4 -- he didn't even last a whole game after returning from injury in Game 3 -- and according to reports this morning, Demers is a possibility. Sharks may dress seven defenseman, as Demers was taking line rushes with the forwards today. Burish could also return soon as well. Sharks should at least feel very happy that Logan Couture's ailments are not more serious. Banged up from the previous game -- in which he notched the game-winner -- but he's in tonight.

Cheapskates Jacobs (Boston)

DO you think the Bruins are for real? How far do you think they go? we want a trophy a BIG ONE !

Katie Strang
  (2:13 PM)

Actually, yes, I do think they are for real. Beyond the obvious -- the team's impressive depth and balance -- they have the experience to back it up. Marchand picking up his game at the right time, Rask steady in net, and three rookie defensemen holding their own in a tough situation. The Rangers may be comforted knowing they erased a 2-0 deficit against the Caps, but this seems to be a much more gaping hole. Whereas Washington fell apart and failed to get the job done, I think Boston possesses that killer instinct. They don't want a repeat of Round 1 vs. TOR

Chris (Atlanta)

Hawks facing their first real taste of adversity this season. How do they respond?

Katie Strang
  (2:16 PM)

That's the million-dollar question right now. Was very curious to see when this surfaced as an issue and Detroit's momentum-shifting win in Game 3 served as the catalyst. ESPN.com's Craig Custance wrote about this today. Hawks knew this was coming. They've faced adversity in previous seasons -- lowing Toews to a concussion, first-round series against NSH in 2010 -- and are ready to confront this head-on. Should be a battle in Detroit Thursday

Hatrick Swayze (...the drawing board...)

Sit Richard for Newbury. Add size and speed to the 4th line. Deploy Krieder-Newbie-Asham line regularly against Boston to wear down the Bruins defensemen. Our only way past the B's will be through 7 (most likely) games and tolling them physically will help our cause, should we get there...

Katie Strang
  (2:18 PM)

That would be a gut-wrenching decision for Tortorella, but you make a good point about the Rangers' fourth line. Richards sure as heck won't work himself out of his slump there. It's an awkward fit. Haley or Newbury would be more fitting in that role.

Ben (Denver)

Hi Katie: What's your take on the lack of production of Toews? The conventional narrative is that Zetterberg is playing outstanding defense, similar to how he and his teammates handled Getzlaf and Perry last round. Or is Toews perhaps hurt? Whatever the reason(s), it seems that this trend has been the big equalizer in this series so far. Can the Wings maintain it? How do the Hawks try to get out of this rut? Thanks.

Katie Strang
  (2:20 PM)

I think Game 3 was a good example of what may be a series of two teams whose top stars cancel each other out, while the role players decide the difference

dan (ny)

does torts survive in the offseason with a quick exit this round

Katie Strang
  (2:21 PM)

Yes. Contrary to some speculation that his job is in jeopardy, that first round win gives him some cushion. Especially considering shortened season, his job is safe

Flad (NY)

What is the deal with teams allowing their signed players to compete in non NHL tournaments? This seems like a lot of risk with very little upside to the team paying the player. See: Eric Staal.

Katie Strang
  (2:23 PM)

No kidding . Totally agree. The way Staal was writhing after that hit, Canes should feel lucky he doesn't need surgery. And as much as we've heard that Ovechkin's foot injury can't be made worse by playing, that's a lot of money invested to be risking. Capitals have to want to protect their asset

Ed (Queens Village)

Why do Rangers PP continue to stink? Is it the personal or partly defense the opponent plays?

Katie Strang
  (2:24 PM)

It is largely based on their own ineptitude, for sure, however, the Bruins do have a pretty aggressive PK. They pressure the points well and that has given the Rangers some trouble. But NY is 2-for-36 during the playoffs. That's systemic

JP (Babylon, NY)

Hey Katie...love these chats...thanks for another one to help break up the work day...Anyway, as of right now with the four series the way that they are at this very moment, who do you see advancing to the Conf. Finals and, eventually, the Cup Final? Thanks again!

Katie Strang
  (2:26 PM)

Thanks JP! As of right now (and this contradicts my picks heading into the playoffs) I think it will be Boston and Chicago in the finals

Mike (NJ)

You think the Rangers will buy out Richards this summer and maybe go after Ribiero or another Center?

Katie Strang
  (2:28 PM)

I think the Rangers will think long and hard on Richards re: buyout. I think it's worth giving him the benefit of the doubt and allowing him another season with a full off-season/training camp under his belt.NY will not go after Ribeiro, no

John (East Lansing)

How much will the 2 days off hurt the Red Wings' momentum going into Game 4?

Katie Strang
  (2:29 PM)

East Lansing! My spot :) Actually had a good chat with Torey Krug this morning about our MSU college days, but I digress....I think the whole concept of momentum is a little cracked. At least in the playoffs. Think it's pretty negligible. Imagine both teams will gladly welcome rest and recovery time

Jon (San Jose, CA)

FREE RAFFI!

Katie Strang
  (2:31 PM)

It is a shame that happened. Torres really seemed to reform his play; has been a really effective player this year. Good get for Doug Wilson at the deadline

Ryan (CLT)

Any updates on Hank? Is he just a little banged up or really hurt and just playing through the pain?

Katie Strang
  (2:33 PM)

I don't foresee it as a major problem. Tweaked it in Game 3, but nothing he can't play through

Johnny Rocket (Broomsville, MSG, NY)

How big of a factor do you think home ice will be for the Rangers? If Seguin actually manages to pick it up enough to get on the stat sheet do you think all of us up here will be able to get the brooms out?

Katie Strang
  (2:34 PM)

Remarkably, home teams have a .690 winning percentage this playoffs, including a 10-1 record in the second round. That bodes well for the Rangers holding serve on home ice, though my gut tells me they'll split these next two

Joe H. (Grand Rapids, MI)

Before the series started, most sports writers seem to have written of any possibility of Wings overoming the Blackhawks. Do you think the last 2 dominate performances by the Wings has people second guessing themselves? How about you?

Katie Strang
  (2:36 PM)

Yes, definitely. The Wings definitely have momentum and as people like to say, they have "championship blood." Though the Hawks have been dominant this year, Detroit seems to be one of those teams peaking at the right time. Good mix of youth and veteran leadership, stars and role players. Howard also stellar.

Garrett (Long Island)

Hey Katie! With multiple outdoor games next year, the entire uniqueness of the Winter Classic is ruined. Rangers vs. Islanders in the middle of the week? This is an awful idea and just a way for the NHL to make more money. This will ruin something special.

Katie Strang
  (2:38 PM)

I understand your point, Garrett. And I think that's true to some degree. But while you may dilute the appeal, you also open it up to far more markets/fan bases than you normally could. A clear-cut money-grab sure, but if I'm an Isles or Devils fan, I'm pumped about the opportunity

Keith (NYC)

Katie, I'm afraid for the careers of guys like Kreider, J.T. Miller, etc. Although someone could point to Hagelin, it seems that the current Rangers coaching staff doesn't want to play these younger guys. Seems that most good teams have a "kid" or young line, and Torts just refuses to put something like that together and let them play. I'd put Kreider-Miller- and perhaps Hagelin and let them play.

Katie Strang
  (2:39 PM)

Miller had a wrist injury that hampered him at the end of the season. That's why he's not around now. And while I don't think the fourth line is an ideal spot for Kreider's speed and skill he seems to be regaining some trust. He has recently earned some power play time, so that's a good sign for him

Pat (NYC)

Katie- Any word on Clowe's availability going forward? I know he's still out today, but is he nearing a condition where he can play?

Katie Strang
  (2:41 PM)

I'd be shocked if he returns during the playoffs, unless the Rangers somehow made it to the Finals. Which I strongly doubt. Really tough break for Clowe, who is heading into July as an unrestricted free agent. Think the Rangers would've liked to re-sign him but that appears unlikely after he sustained two concussions over a short time period in his time in NY

Tom (Chicago)

Does the NHL hold any sway over the media in regards to opinions on bad calls made by the officials?

Katie Strang
  (2:42 PM)

Well, we don't get fined for weighing in, I can assure you

Tom (Boston)

Which of the B's young D sits if/when Seidenberg, Ference, or Redden returns? Can the young D keep with their impressive play?

Katie Strang
  (2:43 PM)

Great question, Tom, and I really don't know the answer to that. Think Claude Julien has some tough decisions looming

Vince McMahon, Jr. (Stamford, CT)

Any word on when Tortorella and Oates are having their cage match? I have an opening at the next Pay Per View.

Katie Strang
  (2:43 PM)

No clue, but just give me the where and when and I'm there....

Uncle Sam (Emerson, NJ)

How do the Sabres justify bringing back John Scott? A guy who plays 4-6 minutes and scores zero points. Getting tough is one thing...but at the expense of putting a pylon out on the ice????

Katie Strang
  (2:44 PM)

Was wondering the same thing. Major changes needed within that organization and that's how they begin the off-season re-tooling? Good grief

Pat (NYR)

I place a lot of the blame for the Rangers PP failures on the coach. Watch ALL the other teams in the playoffs. they enter the zone with speed from all five guys. The NYRs meanwhile have 4 guys standing while 1 guy tries to lug the puck in. doesn't the coach see this? Why won't the coach change this? The PP has stunk since the current coach has been here. Bad start next season is the coach gone?

Katie Strang
  (2:45 PM)

Perhaps a better question is why don't the Rangers have a PP coach? Wonder if that will be something team considers in off-season, bringing in someone who could help in that regard

Joe (DC)

Who is the next coach to hit the bricks? Alain Vigneault? Kevin Dineen? Dave Tippett? Will Lindy Ruff land in Vancouver, Miami, or Phoenix?

Katie Strang
  (2:47 PM)

Vigneault. Tippett's contract is up in June. Have to imagine there would be quite a few teams interested in him if he parts ways with Phoenix

Geremy (Ohio)

Any update on Daniel Paille's status for tonight's game? He took a nasty slash from Nash with about 2 minutes to go and went straight to the locker room in Game 2,

Katie Strang
  (2:47 PM)

He skated today. Imagine he will play

Pat (NYC)

Do the Pens recover fromt hat horrible OT loss? Also why won't Disco Dan just let Iggy play with Sid on his natural side?

Katie Strang
  (2:48 PM)

Pittsburgh columnist chimed in on this very thing today. Honestly, why go after Iginla if you are not going to use him in a way to get the most out of him? He's been a good soldier about it, but I wonder if Bylsma reconsider this soon

William (NYC)

Will the Boogard and NFL lawsuits force the NHL's hand in finally getting rid of fighting? They have to realize it's a big reason many possible fans are turned off.

Katie Strang
  (2:50 PM)

Hard to tell. Though CTE, which Boogaard's post-mortem autopsy revealed, is caused by repetitive blows to the head, his case is a bit murkier because of the substance abuse issues that compounded the matter. Think the latter could actually be a bigger concern for the NHL moving forward, especially with respect to prescription medication

Kevin (Grand Rapids)

Opinion on either the Kane goal after the possible boarding last night or the follow up no-goal on goaltender interference?

Katie Strang
  (2:52 PM)

Really tough to see a game hinge on a call like that, in my opinion. Especially that particular call, which is pretty infrequent. But good teams don't blame losses on officiating.

John T. (New York)

Where is MUSKY?

Katie Strang
  (2:54 PM)

Now that's a tough act to follow. Well done, John T. We'll close the chat on that day.Thanks for all the great questions. See you next week!