Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Ohio State head coach John Markell.

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, February 20 at 1:00 ET, Ohio State head coach John Markell pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Buckeyes face No. 10 Michigan this weekend, with Saturday's game airing live on CSTV at 8 p.m. ET.

John Markell

John Markell, who has been at the helm of the Ohio State men's hockey team since the 1995-96 season, is in his 12th full season in 2006-07. The seventh Buckeye head coach, he has led the team to the NCAA tournament in five of the last nine seasons, marking the only appearances in program history.

The Buckeye squad boasts six 20-or-more win seasons during Markell's tenure. His career record stands at 215-192-37 overall and 152-138-29 in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

A hands-on coach with an open-door policy, Markell officially was named the new hockey coach May 22, 1995, becoming the seventh head mentor in program history. The team's positive response to Markell's new leadership style was a key factor in the school's decision to make the promotion to head coach permanent.

Markell was no stranger to the CCHA when he came to Ohio State. His collegiate playing career was spent at Bowling Green, where he still is regarded as one of the finest players ever to lace up skates in the CCHA. He remains one of only six players in the history of the league to be named to the CCHA's first team three times and was elected to the Bowling Green Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.

With the Falcons, Markell helped his team to an impressive 117-34-4 (.768) overall record from 1976-1979, a 57-15-2 (.784) ledger in CCHA play, three regular-season and playoff titles and a NCAA semifinal berth.

In 1979, Markell signed a free agent contract with the NHL's Winnipeg Jets after being offered and declining a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team. His first season with the Jets was a memorable one, as Markell netted the team's rookie of the year award.

Markell's NHL career spanned four seasons and included stops in Winnipeg, Minnesota and St. Louis. He accumulated 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 55 games.

Markell, 50, and his wife, Kim, reside in Pickerington, with their sons Ryan and Taylor.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: John won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, February 20th, 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 lined up, so let's get started. We're joined now by Ohio State head coach John Markell.
John Markell: Hi. Glad to be here today.

Ashley (Columbus): Coach, what is your main piece of advice to the team going into this last series against Michigan- especially for the seniors who will be playing their last 2 games at the Schott?
John Markell: I'll just tell them to enjoy the series. They need to use their experience from playing in games like this before. We want our seniors to teach the underclassmen how to react in front of a great home crowd.

Matt (columbus): It seemed as if 2 weeks ago against Northern Michigan we played a very physical game and we initiated a lot of the big hits. Listening last friday and watching last Saturday it seemed as if UNO was winning the physical battles. Is that something we are going to try to change coming into this series against Michigan? It seems it would be good for us to set the tone early with some big hits and good physical battles.
John Markell: It didn't feel that way on the bench and watching the tape after. We chart our 50-50 battles, and I have us winning 70 percent of them on Friday night. Saturday, seemed about the same. If anything, we got a little tentative on some of our hits because the game was being called closely. I was happy with the way our team battled through adversity in the tough series.

Jim (Columbus): Does having this series and this opponent coming in this weekend help keep your team from getting lost in the shuffle a bit in Columbus with the 1 vs. 2 basketball matchup set for Sunday?
John Markell: Judging by the ticket response, there are over 12,500 tickets sold for each game this weekend. Anytime Ohio State and Michigan play, it's always a big series and will generate attention. We're proud of our basketball teams and wish them luck this weekend.

His High School Coach from Waterloo: Bryce Anderson from Waterloo, his career is coming to an end soon and would you comment about his improvement since coming to Ohio St and what he has meant to the program. A farm kid from Iowa playing major college hockey,will graduate after 4 years with a degree, we are very proud of him!
John Markell: I can't say enough about Bryce, not only as a hockey player, but as a student and a person. He's been nothing but a positive influence on our hockey program and is exactly the type of character kid that we need to keep recruiting to have success. He came to us as a recruiting walk-on and has ended up as a scholarship player. He's done everything we've asked of him - plus some - in order to earn his position and his scholarship. We're very proud he chose to attend Ohio State.

Jacob (Columbus): What has Tom Fritsche's return meant to this team? He hasn't been a huge scorer or anything, but it seems like the Buckeyes have been an entirely different team.
John Markell: I think most importantly to see Tom overcome a serious disease, and the strength needed to do that, has inspired our players. It just shows us all how close we can come to not being able to do the things we love to do. He's been an inspiration to his teammates with his desire to play, even though he knows, and they know, he's not back to full strength yet. He means more to our program than just points on the board.

Shawn (Columbus): What has been the biggest change for this team defensively since the beginning of the season? Is it just being further along in the period of adjustment to college hockey for Joe Palmer that has you giving up fewer goals of late, or is it something else within the team?
John Markell: It's a combination of both. We knew Joe and Nick Filion would have to go through some adversity as they got used to the college game. I didn't think our team did a great job of protecting our young goalies early in the season, and we've gotten better at that as the season has progressed. Everyone on our team has made a commitment to team defense.

Rich (Columbus): Does the change in playoff formats in the CCHA change anything at all for the team coming into this weekend? If the league were still using the old Super Six format, you'd still be battling for home ice in the first round.
John Markell: Regardless of the playoff format, we think we have the ability to win two hockey games this weekend. We go into every weekend feeling that way. Our job is to place as high as possible, no matter what the format.

Bill (Pickerington): Since both the Schottenstein Center and Nationwide arena are occupied in two weeks, where will the playoffs be? Has that been determined yet?
John Markell: We will be playing at the OSU Ice Rink, our former home.

Pete (Columbus): What does getting home ice for the CCHA playoffs mean in the context of the struggles the team has had to endure this season?
John Markell: Our goal at the start of the season was to finish in the Top 4 and get a bye in the first round. Up until our loss at UNO Saturday, we weren't eliminated from that possibility. We think our team is playing well heading into the playoffs and we want to continue that this weekend and then into the playoffs.

Harry (Columbus): What has surprised you most about your team this season?
John Markell: The biggest surprise came to us before the season when we found out Tom Fritsche, our leading scorer the last two seasons, wasn't going to be able to play to start the year. When we were planning for the season, we planned with Fritsche in the lineup. We knew we would have an adjustment with young goalies, but didn't think we'd have to worry as much about goal scoring. We're so proud of Tom for battling through his illness to be strong enough to come back for the holiday tournament and help us in the second half of the year.
John Markell: Thanks for all the questions. Go Bucks!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for the first of this afternoon's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats on CSTV.com. Remember that you can see Coach Markell's Buckeyes take on Michigan at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, LIVE on CSTV.
CSTV.com Moderator: Come back at the top of the hour, when we'll be joined by St. Cloud State goaltender Bobby Goepfert.