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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analyst Adam Wodon

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analyst Adam Wodon stops by "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Adam will be fielding all of your questions on college hockey.

Adam Wodon

Adam Wodon has been covering college since 1988, and has since been the play-by-play broadcaster for Princeton and Cornell, and in professional hockey. He worked at USCHO.com for nine years, and since 2003 has been an analyst for College Sports Television's regular college hockey coverage. In addition to more than a dozen years in the radio and newspaper business, he has also worked for ESPN, including work on the 2004 Frozen Four game broadcasts.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Adam won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuersday, February 14th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome back to "Tuesday @ The Rink". We are now joined by CSTV hockey analyst Adam Wodon.
Adam Wodon: As always, it is great to be here. I am ready to talk some hockey, so let's get the questions going.

Gerry (Albany): Adam, It seems that most of the ECAC teams have really improved from last year. What are your thoughts about the league this year? How many ECAC teams will make it to the NCAA's?
Adam Wodon: I think the ECAC has been on the upswing for a couple years. The recruiting has been great over the last few years. Obviously not pick of the litter, but at places like Cornell, Dartmouth, Clarkson, SLU, Colgate, there are top quality players coming into the league. So it starts there. I think this year, you have five really good teams. The problem is, a couple of them hit some slumps at some bad times. I think Colgate and St. Lawrence are teams that can beat anyone, but the way the PairWise shakes out, they probably won't make it without a big run. Harvard and Cornell will make it again with decent finishes - but I'm not sure a third will get in without winning the ECACs.

Omaha: With Nebraska-Omaha rated as either the lowest #1 seed or a high #2 seed according to PWR and either 6th or 7th in the RPI, why don't they get more love in the polls? Also how high can Scott PArse finish in the hobey baker award?
Adam Wodon: The polls are meaningless, so don't worry about them. The reason why people can't stand the football BCS is because it's so reliant on polls...and those polls skew towards who was rated highly to start the season. That said, UNO is in a precarious position. They've been playing great, but their position is not locked in by any means. As for Parse, I just moved him to third on my Hobey list. It is hard to ignore him anymore with the way he's scoring and the way the team is playing. There's no doubt he's talented. If Elliott falters, there's no reason he can't be right in the mix to win it, if the team keeps winning.

Bob, Ann Arbor: You have been a proponent of KRACH for a long time, but could you explain in layman's terms how the algorithm works and why you agree with it?
Adam Wodon: It took me 6 years to come up with a three-sentence explanation of the PairWise that worked - and it's only been 3 years with KRACH, so I'm still working on it :-) ... You can see our explanation at www.collegehockeynews.com/info/?d=krach ... I agree with it because it's the most pure way of ranking teams. No ranking system can predict the future - so people shouldn't be fooled into thinking that, just because they think one team is better than the other, that it disproves the system. That team may very well wind up being better - but it doesn't disprove the validity of the system. In the simplest terms, if you run KRACH, and put odds on each team winning each game using their KRACH rating - and then play their schedule - then their winning percentage will match what their real winning percentage is. That's the beauty of it. It's pure as can possibly be. The RPI is arbitrary.

Adam (Oxford, OH): Why no love for the RedHawks? They've been in the Top 5 for most of the season, yet no one's talking about them- even when they held the top spot, all people were talking about were Minnesota, Wisconsin, and BC/BU! I know we're buried in SW Ohio, but come on...give us some love down here in Oxford!
Adam Wodon: You don't have to tell me that. I've been talking up Rico's boys since November. So you're barking up the wrong tree. :-) I've consistently had Andy Greene on my Hobey watch list, and did extensive stories about the team. I think they are balanced, multi-faceted, talented, getting great goaltending, and have players with lots of skill. The only issue is the dreaded "Experience" factor. We'll see how that plays out.

Nolen (Clarksville, TN): Hey Adam, what are your thoughts on the CHA race and also what do think about UAH right now as they are in first place in the CHA?
Adam Wodon: Unfortunately, we don't get to see much of the CHA, let alone UAH. But the Chargers are a good program with a good coach. It would be fun to see them in the NCAAs. I still think Bemidji will be a huge factor, though. The biggest concern with the CHA right now, though, is how much longer it will exist. I hope that issue gets solved.

Chris Jolin (Midland Park, NJ): Given their lackluster season thus far, is there any way, outside of winning the Hockey East tournament, that UNH can make the NCAA tournament?
Adam Wodon: Well, its next six games are against BU, Providence and Boston College. Win 5 of those games, and you're right back in the NCAAs. Those are all Teams Under Consideration - and would be huge boosts to the different PairWise criteria. But, of course, that's a pretty tall task. It's so hard to say - with all the different permutations - what would happen if, say, they only went 4-2 in those six. But it's true, they have their work cut out for them. I still think they are a good team - but there's a lot of pretty good teams out there this year.

Brian (Vail, CO): Are the Pioneers talented enough and playing well enough together to win a third straight NCAA title?
Adam Wodon: They certainly seem to be fine right now. This season started similar to last season, it just took them longer to get on the same page. And they had injuries. But heck, clearly they are talented enough. They are loaded with talent. Matt Carle is the best defenseman in the country. The list goes on. I think some of the big snipers weren't putting in the seasons everyone thought - like Gauthier, Stastny. But I've seen these guys come alive in the biggest games before. And right now, they are in first place in the WCHA. If that isn't evidence enough they can win a title, what is?

Rich-Chicago: Adam- Who do you think takes home the MacNaughton Cup given how close it is between Wisco, Minn, and Denver? Also, where does Brian Elliot stand right now on your Hobey list?
Adam Wodon: Does anyone want the McNaughton Cup? Don't coaches lament how that takes so much out of you? Wisconsin has the easiest schedule of the bunch -- at Tech and Minn. State, then home for St. Cloud...Denver plays North Dakota, Minnesota and CC. So the schedule favors the Badgers - if Elliott comes back to form and the team starts relaxing again. But all three teams are in the NCAAs, and will be fighting it out at the Final Five probably, so does the McNaughton Cup matter as much? As for Elliott, I still have him No. 1 until I see him start playing again.

Nick (Cincinnati): Since, as you say, you've been talking up Miami since November, do you think it is fair for Miami to have to play in the regional round of the NCAA tournament in cities where despite being the "home" team, they will be playing teams whose fans dominate those regions? i.e. Boston (Worcester) or Albany (Hockey East or ECAC teams)
Adam Wodon: Whether it's fair or not, it's going to happen. Would you rather it be Green Bay? Same thing there. Really, you don't have much to worry about in Boston or Albany. Sure, those crowds will be more predominant towards whoever Miami is playing, but there are so many different schools in those areas, and fans from so many different teams will be there, it doesn't have the same impact as, say, Minnesota playing games at Mariucci. So I wouldn't worry. It's always unfair, so to speak, to someone. There's nothing you can do about it, unless you want to organize 100 buses of people from Oxford. That could work.

Dave (Michigan): Adam, what is your feelings about Michigan Tech this season and going forward? Are they on the right track for turning it around and becoming a top 5 WCHA team in the years to come?
Adam Wodon: I wish I could say yes, but that's pretty hard to envision, considering the strength of the other teams in that league. It's just harder for them to keep up. And that's not a knock on the coaching staff, or anything, just a fact of life right now. An occasional poking through to the top is possible though. But not immediately, obviously.

Lynah Disapora: What do you make of Cornell's inconsistent play this year? Also, what are your predictions for the ECACHL tournament?
Adam Wodon: I avoid predictions like the plague. Any one of six teams could probably win the ECACs. I wouldn't be shocked by any of them. Cornell's inconsistent play? Well, it was more inconsistent in the first half, but that's a matter of getting re-adjusted to a new team, not having as much preseason time as other non-Ivy teams, and David McKee having a below-par (for him) start. But they are fine now. I'm a little worried about the injuries to O'Byrne and Pokoluk that have occured, but otherwise, they are in pretty good shape. There's not a lot of shame in losing to Clarkson in the North Country - and particularly in tieing St. Lawrence in their building.

Chip Portland, Me: Adam, I don't understand how Ohio St being unranked, having a .500 win percentage and having a lower RPI is ranked higher than Maine in the PWR. This is starting to resemble a BCS debacle
Adam Wodon: Well, first of all, forget being unranked. Has nothing to do with it. As for the other stuff, I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but if you want to know why, then read up on how the thing works. Go to: www.collegehockeynews.com/info/?d=pwcrpi. I'll tell you this much, Notre Dame winning last weekend was a HUGE boost to Ohio State. Why? Because Notre Dame is currently a "Team Under Consideration" - which means OSU's wins against ND this season now count in the "Record vs. TUC" criteria. That alone jumped OSU up 5 spots in the Pairwise. If ND loses this weekend, OSU will drop again. Ohio State is losing the comparison with Maine, but is winning some other comparisons solely on that TUC boost.

Derek (Minneapolis, MN): Do you think if Minnesota ends the season as the #1 overall seed that they would get placed in the Green Bay regional instead of Wisconsin in order to avoid having to play North Dakota in the region final in Grand Forks if North Dakota makes the NCAA tournament?
Adam Wodon: Very good question, Derek. Right now, I'm not sure North Dakota will make the NCAAs, so it might be a moot point. If North Dakota got in, it would more likely be a 4 seed, which would cause problems. They would have to be home - then Wisconsin and Minnesota can't play them because it would be an intra-conference matchup, so then what happens? Miami in Grand Forks with Minnesota in Albany? Boy, I'm sure everyone would be thrilled about that one.

Nick (Minneapolis): No one outside the WCHA wants to hear it, but there are 6 conference teams either in or on the cusp of the NCAAs, with the RPI boosting WCHA tourney approaching could this be a reality?
Adam Wodon: I think the issue will be that two of those teams, at least, are going to wind up having to play each other in the first round of the WCHA tournament. I think enough teams will get enough losses, just because they play each other, where that won't happen. Unless, of course, say St. Cloud wins the WCHA tournament.

David (Burlington): Adam, How do you explain the roll that BU is on right now? Do they have enough talent to play with anyone?
Adam Wodon: Well, I guess it would be easy to explain the roll on the return of David Vander Gulik and Jekabs Redlihs to the lineup, since the run coincided with their return. But I think there is something to it. BU has many talented freshman and sophomores, but were missing the senior presence. In the past, they've had trouble scoring - the true snipers were missing from the program. But they've got some guys now and the seniors allow them the freedom to do what they can do by relaxing and not putting all the pressure on them to carry the team in other ways. So it has to do with that, and just the general philosophy of trying to ramp up for this time of year.
CSTV.com Moderator: Adam needs to run, so unfortunately, we need to cut things off here.
Adam Wodon: Thanks for having me. I had a great time and look forward to coming back soon.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us next week for an Olympic doubleheader on "Tuesday @ The Rink" when we are joined by a pair of 1980 Olympians - Wisconsin women's coach Mark Johnson and St. John's of Minnesota head coach John Harrington. We are starting an hour earlier than usual, at Noon eastern with Coach Harrington. See you next week.

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