Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Michigan All-America Forward T.J. Hensick

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, Feburary 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Michigan forward T.J. Hensick pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Hensick is the current leader in CSTV.com's Hobey Watch.

T.J. Hensick

T.J. Hensick has spent the better part of six years in Ann Arbor between his time with the National Team Development Program and his career at the University of Michigan, and as his senior season enters the home stretch, Hensick is certainly leaving his mark. Hensick leads the nation with 51 points on 14 goals and an NCAA-best 37 assists.

This level of success is nothing new to Hensick. This is Hensick's third consecutive 50-point season, making him the first Wolverine to accomplish that feat since Bill Muckalt. Hensick has reached the 40-point plateau in each of his four seasons, making him the first Wolverine to do that since Brendan Morrrison.

A native of Howell, Michigan, Hensick was drafted in the third round (No. 88 overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: T.J. won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 13th, 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 have two great chats today, starting with the leader in CSTV.com's Hobey Baker Watch, T.J. Hensick, who joins us now.
T.J. Hensick: Hey everybody, thanks for having me!

Anna (Plymouth): First, I'd like to thank you for the last 4 years at Michigan, we've all enjoyed watching you play. How do you feel about the buzz surrounding your Hobey Baker candidacy? Would you rather win the Hobey Baker Award, or have Michigan make the Frozen Four this year?
T.J. Hensick: Well, my positioning in the Hobey race has a lot to do with how this team plays and if it wasn't for them I wouldnt be in the race. Most of my success has to do with my two linemates, Kevin Porter and David Rohlfs, who have made this year for me as fun as it has ever been and I thank them for that. Kevin and David are two of the best linemates I have ever had and make my job easy because of it. As for winning the Hobey and making it to the Frozen Four I would much more prefer to play in the Frozen Four because to me winning a team award is much more satisfying than winning an individual award.

Tom (Ann Arbor): TJ, first off: let me just say that whether or not you win the Hobey, it has been a pleasure to watch you at Michigan the past few years. Your Datsyuk-like puckhandling skills make me glad to be a hockey fan. Now, I saw you get a little teary-eyed on Senior Night, so I'd like to ask you to say a little bit about your experience playing home games at Yost. How great of a home-ice advantage is it? Do our cheers really get under the opponents skin? Thanks, and kick some butt in the postseason!
T.J. Hensick: Playing at Yost in front of the crowd that I am lucky enough to play in front of means the world to me and my teammates. It truly is home ice advantage, and playing for the University of Michigan has been an absolute thrill for me and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Senior Night was emotional for me and my classmates, because for the past four years, we have grown together to become a family and it's sad to see that come to an end. I want to thank every fan and student who attends our home games. It truly made my four years special and unique. We wouldn't have been the same team without our fan support.

Chris (Marquette): T.J. Where inside the CCHA is the toughest place to travel to and record wins? And where does traveling to Marquette to play NMU rank on your list?
T.J. Hensick: Well, for me I was only able to play at Marquette once, and I found it terribly hard to play because of the fan base up there and the way to NMU plays hockey. I would put NMU in the top five of toughest places to play in the CCHA. However, for me the toughest place to play in the CCHA is Lawson Arena at WMU because of the noise level, intensity of the crowd and the atomosphere. Even though I believe Lawson is the toughest place to play, I do believe it's also the most fun arena to play in as well. As for travel I would say Alaska would be the toughest place to travel to because of the distance between Ann Arbor and Fairbanks. The CCHA has many arenas that are challenging to play in, but for me Lawson is the toughest.

Chad (Toledo): TJ, how big was it for your team to make that spirited comeback at the Joe on Saturday night? Is this team ready to play its' best hockey in the stretch run now and win the CCHA Playoff Championship to get off of the NCAA Tournament bubble?
T.J. Hensick: Every game between Michigan and MSU is emotional, especially the ones downtown at the Joe. I liked the character of this team on Saturday night. We faced adversity in the third and found a way to fight back, which is something we will face again as the playoffs near. I feel this team is capable of playing with the best teams in the country if we come to play each and every night, but it all starts with consistency. I think there are many good things we can take from the game on saturday night and put into our game as we reach the stretch run. However, let's be honest: this team is on the bubble and needs to put forth a good effort down the stretch to secure a spot in the NCAA tourney. From here on out, I believe the success of this team will depend on the leadership and play of the upperclassmen: how do we react to what challenges face us? This team will go as far as the upperclassmen will take it. The seniors and juniors need to step up and show the younger guys what it takes to win a championship because we have won a couple in the past.

Chad (Toledo): TJ, Congrats on an outstanding career at Michigan. Our team has been a little inconsistent at times this season. As one of the leaders on the team, what do you do to try to make sure the team is focused and brings the right intensity each night? How vocal are you in the dressing room?
T.J. Hensick: Well, I think like most teams, it starts with your older guys. I feel this team plays well when the older guys go out and establish themselves early, whether it be a hit, blocked shot or a face-off win. This team feeds off of the veterans and that is one thing that needs to happen down the stretch. Our older guys must set the tempo for each game from here on out. Our inconsistency is just as frustrating for us as it is for the fans, and that is something we as a team are trying to fix and it starts with a lot of things but mostly our mental attitude. This team must be focused on working hard for 60 minutes and not concentrating on other things. If this team can be ready to work for 60 minutes then the consistency of our play will show up, but it starts with hard work, which is where the older guys must step up from here on out. For me, I am more of a leader by example. Yes, I speak up when I feel its neccesary, but I feel actions speak louder than words.

Shad, Alexandria (MN): Hi TJ! Who has been the best team you played this year and who do you predict will be in the Frozen Four?
T.J. Hensick: The best team we have played this year would have to be Minnesota because of their balance up front and their skill on the back end. Also, Minnesota has a very good coach in Don Lucia and he always seems to have his team ready to play against the other top programs in the country. They're as strong, quick and skilled as any team in the country and I feel they will be right there in the thick of things when the NCAA starts.

Anthony (Philadelphia): Hey T.J., there are a number of very worthy canidates for the Hobey Baker this year, what would it mean to you to win this award this season in particular, especially with the terrific seasons goaltenders David Brown and John Curry are having for their respective clubs?
T.J. Hensick: Winning the Hobey Baker Award is something I am aiming for, but if it were to happen I think the award would be something I would be very proud of and something I could look back on 20, 30 years from now. I feel this award is as much a team award as an individual award. If I were to win there would be no doubt in mind that I wouldn't have won if it wasnt for my Kevin Porter and David Rohlfs. These two guys have been instrumental in my success not only this year but over the course of the past two years, and I want to thank them for making me a better player. Also, I feel there are many great players capable enough of winning this award such as Brown, Curry, Parse etc. and if I were to win this award it would mean a lot because the winner would have had to beat out a lot of great college players.

Whiteboard Crew (Ann Arbor): Hey TJ, now that your senior year's coming to a close, what has been your favorite part of being a part of Michigan hockey? Thanks for some great backchecking on Saturday, and good luck with the Hobey and the rest of the season.
T.J. Hensick: Being a part of the Michigan hockey program has meant so much to me. I am grateful I had the oppurtunity to play here. Playing here has not only made me a better hockey player but also a better person. The best part of playing hockey at Michigan is the traditions here and the relationships I have created since I have been here. As a team, we see each other as a family and have created life-long relationships that I will cherish forever and that is my favorite part of being a Michigan hockey player.
CSTV.com Moderator: That's all the time we have with T.J. this afternoon.
T.J. Hensick: Thanks for having me today, its been a pleasure. Go Blue!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for the first of this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Just a reminder to you CCHA fans that a key CCHA matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska-Omaha hits the air on CSTV this Saturday at 9 p.m. ET.
CSTV.com Moderator: We'll be back at the top of the hour with Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.