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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, January 10 at 1:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe stops by the "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Billy will be taking all of your college hockey questions.

Billy Jaffe

Billy Jaffe is a veteran of CCHA games, having played college hockey for Michigan, served as an on-ice official for the League, and having broadcast numerous CCHA games, including the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan and Michigan State. Billy has been a member of the Atlanta Thrashers broadcast team since the 2000-01 season.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: BIlly won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 10th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to another edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". Unfortunately, we only have one guest this afternoon due to BC Coach Jerry York being a bit under the weather. However, the guest we do have is one of our favorites. We are now joined by CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe.
Billy Jaffe: Hello hockey fans. Great to be here with you. It has been a while!

Sparty Matt (Okemos, MI): I've been watching Jimmy Slater play alot this season for the Atlanta Thrashers. How's Jimmy handling the adjustment from college to the pros?
Billy Jaffe: Jimmy's been great this year, Matt. He's really exceeded expectations (I think) for a rookie and has fit in great. He has played both center and wing due to injuries and hasn't ever really looked out of place. He is always playing at full speed and has really thrown his body around a lot this season. Jimmy is seeing good time on the third line usually and has been an excellent addition to the Thrashers this year.

Bob (Colorado): what kind of potential do you think Matt Carle has with regard to NHL hockey?
Billy Jaffe: HUGE potential...Carle is a player I was able to see a lot of last year and he was impressive then. With another year under his belt he is even better now. He sees the ice and makes plays better than any other d-man in the country and he is very calm under pressure. San Jose will be fortunate to have him in their lineup sooner rather than later.

Jeff (Columbus, OH): Who do you think has been the most suprising team in college hockey this year?
Billy Jaffe: I think Providence College has been one of the great stories this year in college hockey. I have known Tim Army for many years (irrelevant side note...I played for his brother Tom at Kent School many years ago) and his preparation is fantastic. Being an alum, he believed in the program and went to PC with the attitude that things can get better NOW, not down the road. And it's that type of positive thinking that has led PC to a great first half.

Mark (Winthrop, MA): While other "big name" guys like Potulny and Sterling are getting lots of attention, what about the play of Chris Collins at BC...I think he is making a strong case for Hobey considerations but isn't getting nearly enough media focus. why do you think so?
Billy Jaffe: I just talked with the coaches at BC about Collins and they mentioned how he is shooting to score this year and getting results. It's all about confidence for Chris and he just seems to know that the shots are going to go in for him. The other "name" guys, as you call them, had bigger years last season and they had lots of expectations on them as well, so more people followed their success. Also, BC started out slow and that probably didn't help his case either.

Brad (Minnetonka, MN): I know that most attention in the NHL rookie race has been given to Ovechkin and Crosby, but what about the play of former Gopher Thomas Vanek in Buffalo?
Billy Jaffe: After a slow start to the season (something not uncommon for rookies), Vanek has emerged as another incredible rookie in the NHL this year. His hands are even better than he had shown at Minnesota and his confidence is jumping leaps and bounds as well. He scored a great goal against Atlanta a few weeks back that not many guys could...basically passed puck to himself over a d-man's stick. He most likely won't win the Calder, but he will help lead his good Buffalo team to the playoffs.

Mike (Lakeville, MN): Based on the recent WCHA domination in college hockey, do you think Michigan can get past the top teams out west come tourney time?
Billy Jaffe: My gut says "no" this year. Michigan is still relying heavily on freshmen (some very young frosh as well) and that is not usually a recipe for success. They must get better team defense and goaltending if they want to go far come tourney time.

Al (Etna, N.H.): Billy, when you did the Harvard-Dartmouth game, what was your take on Thrashers draftee Grant Lewis?
Billy Jaffe: I liked him. He has good poise and sees the game well from the blueline. Like many college players, he will have to work on his skating a lot to increase his speed and lateral movement. The best thing, I thought, was that he didn't try to do too much out there and he understands "his game", which is so important at any level.

Jen Boston: After a shaky start due to the departure of a strong senior class and with the loss of Patrick Eaves, how do you think BC will fare in the second half of the season?
Billy Jaffe: After talking with the coaches earlier today, I am thinking BC will have an excellent second half. They had a ton of freshmen playing in key positions (4 on 'D') that have really just started to understand the system. Early on, they left Cory Schneider vulnerable a lot and now they have cut down significantly on chances against. I also think Schneider will be a monster for them in the second half as well. They know that HE is wide open and want another title there.

mike from Albany: Do you think that the new rules will change for the goalies sometime soon in college as well?
Billy Jaffe: That is a very interesting question. I haven't been able to talk with commissioners about this topic yet, but was wondering the same thing myself. I think they will wait a little more to see if the NHL keeps the rules the same for goalies next year before doing anything in the NCAA. Personally, that is one of the rules I would like to see altered next year...let the goalies play the puck wherever they want, but keep calling the games tight and scoring chances will stay high.

Mike in Albany: Do you think that college hockey is better this year than in the past?
Billy Jaffe: From the games I have watched and from people I have talked with, I would say "yes". Obviously, losing many key players right before school started was tough but that has just given other players more of a chance to shine. I like many of the performances I have seen and there are still some great individuals playing.

Brian (Plymouth, MN): Give me your early prediction for the teams comprising the Frozen Four this year as well as a dark horse.
Billy Jaffe: I just "love" the prediction thing, probably because I am usually wrong! Let's see...I'll say Wisconsin, Colorado College, Maine and Minnesota. My darkhorses are Vermont and Cornell (if you can consider them a darkhorse now). By the way, take whatever I say and assume at least 3/4 will be wrong!!
CSTV.com Moderator: Billy needs to run, so that is all the time we have this afternoon.
Billy Jaffe: Sorry I have to take off so early but I have another appointment. Great questions from all of you. I really appreciate you taking the time to write in and hope to see all of you around the rinks soon!
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again next week for another edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". Keep checking back to find out who our guests will be. See you next week.

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