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Tuesday @ The Rink With Dave Starman

Welcome to CollegeSports.com and USCHO's "Tuesday At The Rink" series of moderated chats. Every week, we will bring CSTV's on-air experts and USCHO's columnists into the chat room to talk hockey and take questions on any topic.

This week's doubleheader features USCHO Bracketology expert Jayson Moy at 2:00 p.m. ET. He will be followed by CSTV Analyst Dave Starman at 3:00 p.m. ET. Come for one, stay for both - and mark your calendar every week!

At The Rink

Analyst Dave Starman brings a unique coaching perspective to CSTV's coverage of college hockey. As a coach in both the professional and junior ranks, Starman can see behind the surface of the play and identify what makes teams and players tick.

Starman brings insight into the mindset of both coaches and players and provides context and analysis to the actions on the ice.

With the season down to its final few games, Dave is ready to make his picks and help set up the Conference Tournaments.

While Dave will not be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday February 22, feel free to submit your questions now and we will save them for his arrival!

CollegeSports.com Moderator: Welcome back for the second half of today's Tuesday @ The Rink. We are now joined by CSTV hockey analyst Dave Starman.
Dave Starman: Glad to be here again. This has been a great year for so many players and programs, and especially you, the NCAA Hockey Fans.

Marc (Framingham): Dave...nice job with the Apple Core this season, and with CSTV. After watching your "clinics" on TV, I wonder if coaching in college is something you'd ever want to do.
Dave Starman: The best two things you can do if you're not playing any more is talk about hockey or coach it. I'm thrilled to be doing both at a high level. Coaching in the NCAA is something I'd love to do, but down the road a bit. Right now, I'm having a blast at CSTV.

Bill Thomas, White Plains, NY: What are your thoughts on early signings of players that are still freshmen and sophomores, while some programs are still signing 84's for this year? Do you think coaches evaluate too early?
Dave Starman: Yes I do, and I can think of two players who I know are committed that I think jumped too early. I'm all for getting the leg up on another program for a promising recruit, but the difference between a 15 year old and when he's a 17 year old can be dramatic.

Bob (Grand Rapids): In the month since you were here last, what have been the biggest changes in the hockey landscape?
Dave Starman: The downward spiral of the Golden Gophers, which really surprises me considering how good they are, and how skilled they are. They came back to earth, but a little harder than I thought they would.

Albert (Grand Forks): Dave, if coaching is going to decide who gets those last at-large berths in the tournament, which coach(es) are most likely to get their teams in, given where their teams are right now (Dave Hakstol, Bob Gaudet, Don Vaughan, Walt Kyle, Rick Comley, Tim Whitehead)?
Dave Starman: Wow, there's a rocket at me. I happen to like those guys personally and as coaches. I like Kyle's confidence and the way his team plays. Whitehead is such a great coach at getting the most from his team. Vaughn and Gaudet are dynamite tacticians and could out manuever an opponent. Hakstol is a new guy on the block in a tough conference. Comley has had a tough time with this year's group, they are snakebit. I'd say Whitehead.

Josh, Ithaca: Where would you rank Cornell among the best teams in the country? Right now they are ranked #2/#3 int he USCHO, and USA Today polls respectively. What's your take on the Big Red?
Dave Starman: Love this team, starting with their coach. Great goaltending with McKee, and Moulson and Bitz have stepped up. Good role players, depth at all positions, solid defensively. I'd be surprised if they stumble in the ECACs, and I feel they'll be around in the final eight at least.

Adam (New Jersey): Who is your pick for Coach of the Year? I don't think there is any doubt that Mike Schafer and his defensive system should be up there.
Dave Starman: Coming off my last answer, I'd agree with that. However, there are a couple of others that deserve a look, and two that come to mind are Scott Owens of CC, and Mike Eaves of Wisconsin. Know what?? Throw Jack Parker of BU in that mix as well.

Vince (Stamford): Last year we saw five new D-I head coaches. How much turnover do you think we'll see this year, and who are some of the top assistants we might see taking the next step this spring and summer?
Dave Starman: Stability is en vouge with D1 coaches, rarely does one leave the greatest job in the world. As far as assistants, I like David Quinn at BU. Others high on my list are Casey Jones at Ohio State, Matt Kavanaugh at BC, Eric Rud at CC. I still feel Doc Delcastillo at UNO will make a great head coach some day in the NCAA. Lee Davidson at UMD is another, and Andy Slaggert at Notre Dame are young guns. How about Stan Moore?

John (Calgary): Wisconsin seems to a fallen a bit of late. Do you think this team poses a threat to the top teams in the WCHA or are they a year away?
Dave Starman: Take a shift off against Wisconsin and you'll regret it all summer. Watch out for the Badgers. They play hard, they play smart and they are really skilled with a great goalie. They might be too young to realize how hard it is to win the whole thing, and that might work in their favor.

Jim (Victor, NY): Dave, how much longer is Stan Moore going to stay at Colgate? He's been the ECAC Coach of the Year twice, and he went back to his assistant's role this year. Is he waiting for the right opening, or is he happy where he is? Or have a few athletic directors missed a great opportunity?
Dave Starman: I don't know him personally, but do know many players he has coached at the festivals and in the NCAA. No one has ever said a bad word about him, and the ECAC coaches raved about the job he did last year when I saw them at the ECAC media day last September. I don't know his plans, but if someone needed a good head coach, there's a sure fire pick.

Dan (Wilmington, DE): What's the deal with BC? They get swept by UML, and now have two with UNH, and Maine before the Hockey East Tourney. Last season they got the boot in the first round. They seem to out shoot everyone they play yet they struggle scoring goals. 40-50 shots a game yet Providence, UML, BU, Notre Dame, Maine, UNH, Yale, etc., hold them to 0-2 goals. Why is this?
Dave Starman: If I knew, I'd be on the phone with Jerry as we speak. Even he said something to the effect that they make every goalie they play look like an All-American. Remember that a lot of shots don't mean a lot of scoring chances. From what I've seen, I think they need a little more dog meat in front of the net. Ugly goals count as much as the highlight reel ones.

Joseph (Orono): Which of the favorites do you think will flop in their conference tourney - there's always one...
Dave Starman: OK, which program will I anger with this answer??? Now that I think about, I'm not sure that any conference has a legitimate favorite except Michigan. So by process of elimination, maybe its them.

Mike - Duluth: If you could set your ideal Frozen Four for matchups (skill, passion, rivalries, fans, etc.), what would it be?
Dave Starman: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado College, and New Hampshire. I like the way the Gophers because they skate and flow and at any minute they can score three or four on you if everyone is on that night. The Badgers are enthusiastic on the ice, very skilled, and generate a lot of great chances. CC can flat out fly, Sertich and Sterling are like Gretzky and Kurri, and New Hampshire just goes out and has fun playing, and they can score!

Keith (Boston): There has been lots of ink recently on possible games at Ford Field, or Lambeau, or Fenway. What do you think of those ideas - and where would you like to see a game?
Dave Starman: I always wanted to see the Islanders play the Rangers at Shea Stadium. However, at this point, I couldn't care if either ever played another game. To answer your question, I want to see CC play Denver at the new Mile High Field in Denver.

Joe (Newark, NJ): As a long time fan of pro hockey, but now due to circumstances, a newcomer to the college game, what are some teams around New York City that are worth the trip and money to go and watch?
Dave Starman: Here's a good one...Columbia University. They have a club team coached by the legendary Alexei Kasatonov. To see the future college players, two good junior programs in the region are the New York Apple Core and New York Bobcats. The 'Core boast guys like Eric Nystrom, Jon Pelle, Kevin Schaeffer, Ryan Vesce. All were good collegians and Nystrom was a Top 10 NHL draft pick by Calgary. James Branigan of CC and future BC defenseman Tim Filangieri were Bobcats.

Jim, Ithaca, NY: Do you think non-scholarship schools have the same chance to win in the Frozen Four as schools who offer scholarships?
Dave Starman: NO. However, some of those Ivy League schools have very good teams. Scholarships are attractive to recruits, and it is very hard to recruit in the Ivy League because there are no scholarships. However, the Ivy teams are always competitive, especially Cornell and Harvard.

Matt (Madison, WI): All the teams that Phil Kessel is considering could probably be accurately described as being capable of winning the NCAA's next year. Do you think that he can single-handedly make the school he eventually decides on "the favorite?"
Dave Starman: Hockey is a team game, and no one player can be the difference at this level, unlike basketball. He'll increase his team's chances, but with no disrespect intended, I don't think as a freshman he's the difference maker.

Douglas (Green Bay): Is Cornell's rise simply a matter of all the real top teams beating each other up whil Cornell gets the ECAC free ride? I don't see them on the same level.
Dave Starman: Lots of Cornell today. Great stuff. Somehow I feel Adam Wodon is in the audience (ha ha). Cornell is a legitimate contender. In all the conferences the top teams beat each other up. The ECAC is no different.

Dan (Amenia, NY): Dave, how is the NHL dispute affecting college hockey?
Dave Starman: I think there are a lot of hockey fans, especially NHL fans, that have flocked to college arenas to see games in NHL markets. When I talk to friends in Boston, Minneapolis, Detroit, NYC, they all say that they miss being at the game, and they have gone to see the NCAA game, and they really like it. They love that there is no two line pass, that every game counts, and that the games are so competitive.

Mary (Grand Forks): How do you think UND will do in the playoffs? Do you think they will even make it to the finals?
Dave Starman: I don't think North Dakota has displayed enough this season to make them believe they can win the WCHA. There are four teams ahead of them on the depth chart in that conference - Gophers, Badgers, Pioneers, Tigers.

Jeff (Effie, MN): Is the crackdown on obstruction a legitimate attempt to open up the game offensively? At times, it seems the purpose is to legislate physical play out of the game to benefit players who don't have the offensive skill to create one-on-one.
Dave Starman: I like the crackdown, because watching defensemen hold their stick out like a toll bridge barrier is just awful. Watching offensively gifted players play is what the game is all about!

Rob (Ann Arbor): Dave, what do you think of Michigan scheduling an exhibition game at this point of the season? I can see the justification for a bye week at this point of the season, but is this a wise scheduling move?
Dave Starman: I like rest at this point of the season, but maybe the thought was to keep the team in motion so that it doesn't lose any momentum it might have gained in this section of the schedule. Remember, the mind and body of an athlete tends to do better when it is in a rythym, so there is a lot to be said for games every weekend at this time of year. If they cut back a little in practice, they'll stay fresh, though Coach Berenson doesn't need me to tell him that.

Richie (Detroit): The season is just about done - how about an All-American team?
Dave Starman: I'd take Bruckler in goal, Mark Stuart of CC and Andrew Alberts of BC on defense, and up front...wow....I'd live with any trio that included Ryan Potulny, Robbie Earl, Chris Bourque, Brad Zancanaro, Marty Sertich, Brett Sterling, Patrick Eaves, Brett Hemmingway, Drew Miller...too many to name!
CollegeSports.com Moderator: That is all the time we have today, unfortunately. Sorry if we didn't get to your question.
Dave Starman: Thanks so much to CSTV and to USCHO for making the best game in the world, college hockey, even better. Bye y'all.
Dave Starman: And don't forget to join us again next week for another edition of Tuesday @ The Rink with our guests USCHO's Adam Wodon and CSTV's Billy Jaffe. See you then.

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