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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Boston College Associate Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, January 30th at 1:00 p.m. ET, Boston College associate head coach Mike Cavanaugh enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The No. 13 Eagles face No. 19 UMass on Friday, then face Harvard on Monday in the first round of the Beanpot.

Joe Rooney

Mike Cavanaugh is in his 11th season on the Boston College staff, his second as associate head coach. Prior to coming to the Heights in 1995, Cavanaugh spent two years as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College and one year as Jerry York's assistant coach at Bowling Green State University.

During his tenure at the Heights, Cavanaugh has established himself as one of the nation's finest assistant coaches. He has played an integral role in implementing the program's recruiting strategy that has produced nine All-America selections, including 2000 Hobey Baker Award recipient Mike Mottau. In his 10 seasons, 11 BC players have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.

Cavanaugh has also worked extensively with the Eagles' special teams, making them among the country's most formidable units. He supervised the penalty-killing unit from 1997-99, before making the switch and directing the team's power play for six years. Last season, Cavanaugh assumed control of the penalty kill once again and the Eagles thwarted 88 percent of their opponents' power plays, a mark good enough for third-highest in the country.

A 1990 graduate of Bowdoin College, Cavanaugh was a three-year ice hockey letterman for the Polar Bears. He served as team captain in 1989-90. Cavanaugh also captained and played wide receiver on the school's football team.

Cavanaugh played his high school hockey at North Andover High School. There, he played for Eagle assistant coach Jim Logue and alongside former BC star Steve Heinze.

Upon his graduation, Cavanaugh spent one year in London, England, serving as player/coach of the Richmond Ice Hockey Club. He returned to the United States and was the assistant hockey coach at the Belmont Hill School for the 1991-92 season. From there, he joined Jerry York's staff at Bowling Green. While at BGSU, Cavanaugh earned a master's degree in sports management.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Mike won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 30th, and his time will be limited, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Good afternoon, and welcome to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're all set for this afternoon's chats, so let's get things going. We're joined now by Boston College Associate Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh.
Mike Cavanaugh: Thanks for having me. I really appreciate the support and coverage that CSTV has provided over the past couple of years for college hockey.

Ant (Hartford): Would you rather win the Beanpot or the Hockey East Title?
Mike Cavanaugh: Obviously, if you're talking about the Hockey East playoff title, I'd say that, because it means you have an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Our goal is to win the national tournament. Ultimately, in the end, that's our goal. However, that does not minimize the importance of the Beanpot to us. It's a special tournament that we take pride in, and we'd like to win it this year.

Matt (Boston): While BC has a ton of talent your play seems to be inconsistent this year. Is that a function of a more competitive league or the occasional lack of focus from your players?
Mike Cavanaugh: I would say that the league is definitely more competitive. You see parity throughout the league, up and down, every week. However, I wouldn't say that our players lack focus. I just think that we've been inconsistent in scoring goals, and that's something that we've continued to work on. I think if you look at our losses this year, more times than not, it's when we're not scoring three goals. If we score under three goals, we have trouble winning, and I think that's true for most teams. We need to be more consistent scoring goals.

wingz (Brighton):: Coach Cav - What is up with the BC power play at 13% effectiveness (half of Maine's success rate)? This has been an on-going problem for a few seasons now and yet it remains our biggest weakness. Why is Boyle not DIRECTLY in front of the goal crease (where he picked up two goals this past weekend) and why the reluctance of players like Motherwell to shoot the puck? We really need to do better on the power play if we are going to compete this year....13% won't do it. Thanks.
Mike Cavanaugh: I agree wholeheartedly that our power play needs to be better, and it's something that I believe if you've seen us in our last two games, we were 2 for 4 against BU, and while we were 0 for 4 against Lowell, Joe Rooney actually scored as a guy was getting out of the box. While I agree our power play has not reached its full potential, we try not to get concerned with percentages. We're focused more on how many goals we're scoring, and if that's helping us win a game. Our statistics have shown that when we score one or more power-play goals a game, our winning percentage goes to almost 80 percent, so we're focused on getting one or more power-play goals a game, as opposed to what percentage we're at.

Andrew (Baltimore): Mike, I'm one of the Jack-It's from 2 years ago. I'm concerned with the up and down play of the Eagles this year. I've noticed we tend to be prepared for the more marquee games while we seem to overlook the easier ones. This concerns me, especially with Harvard coming up in the Beanpot after they beat us earlier in the season. Is it a challenge to motivate a younger squad this season without the depth of seniors as in past years, and how do you get the guys to focus on each game especially after coming off a run to the NCAA Finals last season?
Mike Cavanaugh: First, I'd like to thank the "Jack-It Five" for their continued support of BC hockey, and rest assured, we will not be taking Harvard lightly on Monday night. More importantly, we'll be focused on UMass on Friday night, because it's a crucial two points for us.

Duke (Chestnut Hill): Mike, If you were to pick one young player from this year's team that you and the rest of the coaching staff think has a great upside at BC, who would it be?
Mike Cavanaugh: I think Brock Bradford's had a breakout year. Last year, he had six goals and 12 assists for 18 points, and this year, he's already at eight and 11 for 19, and if you've watched our games, night in and night out he's been a very dangerous player. I also think Carl Sneep as a young freshman defenseman, has great upside for us at Boston College.

Ty (Watertown):: Coach - Is the BC staff concerned we have so many small fowards at BC and even more coming in our next two recruiting classes? It seems like our third and fourth lines have almost no ability to contribute points which pressures our top lines. Even upperclassmen like Matt Greene and Pat Gannon contribute no points on offense. What is the thought process here on all of these small guys?
Mike Cavanaugh: I don't think there's any concern about the size of the players we're recruiting. Our belief is, if you're good enough, you're big enough. When we won the national title in 2001, we had one forward that was over 6'. We don't shy away from recruiting big kids. We just try to recruit the best player, whether he's 6'5" or 5'5".

John (Norwood): Mike, I know you're heavily involved in recruiting. It seems like BC hasn't been able to land some big name forwards from the USHL in recent years. Is that by design?
Mike Cavanaugh: We necessarily don't recruit by league. We try to go out and recruit the best player available, regardless of what league he plays in or where he's from. For example, Brock Bradford came from the USHL, Nate Gerbe came from the National Team Development Program, Benn Ferriero is a prep school kid, and Dan Bertram's from the Alberta Junior League.

Chuck (Minneapolis): Aside from home ice, what are some of your favorite college rinks that the Eagles visit? Why?
Mike Cavanaugh: I would say, in Hockey East, going up to Maine is always a great atmosphere to play in, especially with the rivalry we have with them, and this year, we got to travel to Wisconsin, which was a wild environment.

Charles (The Heights): Can you talk about what it's been like to work with Jerry York on a professional and personal level?
Mike Cavanaugh: As far as choosing the coaching profession, I would say that I've been blessed to be mentored by my father, who was a football coach; I had a terrific high school coach in Jim Logue, whom I'm fortunate enough to work with now; I had an excellent college coach in Terry Meagher, who's been very successful for over 20 years, and lastly, maybe the most important mentor with my development as a coach has been Jerry York. He took me in as a graduate assistant a number of years ago, and he's a guy I've worked for pretty much my entire time as a college hockey coach. Not only has he been an excellent teacher for me, but also a valuable friend and confidant. I can't imagine working for anyone else.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Cavanaugh this afternoon.
Mike Cavanaugh: Again, I'd like to thank CSTV for their continued support of college hockey, and everyone who submitted a question that I didn't get a chance to answer, thank you for your interest in our sport. Go Eagles!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for the first of our "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. BC fans should note that the Rink Rat blog will be up and running live from both days of the Beanpot, so if you can't be at TD/Banknorth Garden, you can get the lowdown at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat.
CSTV.com Moderator: We'll be back at the top of the hour with Scott Parse.

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