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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV hockey play-by-play announcer Matt McConnell

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, February 28 at 2:00 p.m. ET, CSTV hockey play-by-play man Matt McConnell "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Matt will be taking all of your questions on college hockey.


** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Matt won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, February 28th, 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 play-by-play man Matt McConnell.
Matt McConnell: Hello, everyone. I am very happy to be here and am ready to talk some hockey with you.

Adam (Omaha): What's up with you dogging our boy Scott Parse in the Hobey Watch?
Matt McConnell: I certainly don't mean to be dogging Scott. He is a tremendous player and could very well be the best player in the country. I just feel that players like Brian Elliott and Ryan Potulny and Matt Carle have been guys that have really stuck out in my mind when I've seen them play. That doesn't take anything away from Scott, though. He is a tremendous talent, a steal of a pick for the LA Kings in the middle rounds of the NHL Draft anda a guy that could very well lead UNO to the CCHA Tournament Championship.

Larry (Minneapolis): What would you say has been the best game you've called this year? If you can't narrow it down to one, give us two or three, maybe?
Matt McConnell: There were two that stick out in my mind. First is the CC at Wisconsin in November. It was a Top 5 matchup at the time, the atmosphere inside Kohl Center was as good as I've seen and I was so fired up to call that game that I stopped by the Bucky Pro Shop in the morning and picked up a Grateful Red t-shirt for my wife. It was just up and down and exciting, right through the overtime. The other game was CC at Minnesota. Mariucci is a great hockey venue and both teams provided non-stop entertainment and a great night of hockey. Both of those games were phenomenal to be at.

Alex (Maryland): Do you compare notes with the other CSTV announcers like Frede and Beninati to discuss the best ways to deal with Starman?
Matt McConnell: That is a great suggestion, although I'm not sure Eric or Joe could reign in good old Stardust. He has been a lot of fun to work with this season and knows the college game better than anyone out there. He is quirky, though. I know he has problems with airline connections and, for some reason, he brings a bag of carrots to every production meeting. I guess some would say the guy is just downright strange, but we love him.

Dee (Grand Rapids): Hi Matt, do small colleges have a realistic or reasonable chance going into the future of winning national championships or at least being competitive on the national stage. When I look at schools like Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Lake Superior State, and Michigan Tech, it seems like they all are heading in the right direction at varying levels. Can some of these storied programs regain their championship ways?
Matt McConnell: I don't think there is any question about that. This year is a good example of the tremendous amount of parity we are seeing in the college game. Schools like Colorado College and Denver and Dartmouth and Miami and UNH are not the biggest schools around, so I really believe that, especially in a year like this, it is wide open. Look at Mercyhurst and the scare they threw into BC last year in the Tournament - you are likely to see a few more of those this season. I don't think the size of the school has anything to do with it. It is all about recruiting and chances are a high profile player would just as soon pick a school like Denver as they would Michigan.

Dave (Menomonie, WI): Hi Matt, There seems to be more parity in college hockey than ever before. It seems like on any given night that any team can knock off a top team. Why does there seem to be more parity this year than ever before in college hockey?
Matt McConnell: I think it has to do with players coming out early and having programs having underclassmen be forced into leadership roles. Just look at Michigan - they have one of the youngest teams in the country and finished third in the CCHA when some picked them to win it. What has amazed me this season is that one minute, you think a team is the best in the country, but then they get wiped out over a weeekend. For example, I was convinced CC was the best team in the country after their dominance of Michigan and Michigan State in the GLI (albeit Michigan played without a few key players that were at the world juniors). Then I saw what Minnesota did to them in January and that threw that theory right out the window. Look at Wisconsin - they rumbled and dominated through the first half of the season, then struggled when Elliott went out, then this past weekend, with Elliott back in, they go to Mankato and get gored by the Purple Bull. That is what has made this year so much fun. There are probably a dozen teams that could end up going all the way.

Matt (Iron Range, Minnesota): During many of your broadcasts, you often refer to the "Purple Bull," what exactly are you talking about?
Matt McConnell: Starman and I are referring to the Mavericks of Minnesota State. Early in the season, we were discussing them casually and looked at their logo and determined that it is a Purple Bull. That is how the name was coined. We both have a lot of admiration for the job Troy Jutting has done in Mankato and both of us would love nothing more than to make a trip to Southern Minnesota next year for an MSU game on CSTV.

Tara (Atlantic Beach): Being around Dave Starman all the time, is there something you can tell us about Dave that we don't already know?
Matt McConnell: Besides the bag of carrots he carries, Dave truly is a generous human being. On our trip to Grand Forks in December, after he made me drive him to the local Super Cuts for a quick game day trim, he took me to a local clothing store, where he picked up the cost of two pairs of gloves, one of which he presented to me as a gift. Even though I doubt he went over $3 on the purchase, I appreciated the gesture and was able to prevent my hands from getting frostbite.

Scott (Minneapolis): Is MN head and shoulders above everyone else in the country right now? Who outside of the WCHA matches up best against them? Can Wisconsin regain the form it had prior to the Elliot injury?
Matt McConnell: If Elliott can regain his form from before his injury, I truly believe the Badgers are the team to beat. With that said, Minnesota is as good as anyone right now. Offensively, it is hard to go against Ryan Potulny, Danny Irmen and Phil Kessel. Even though Kellen Briggs seems to take his fair share of potshots each season, he is number one in the league in winning percentage and number four in goals against average. Minnesota is also the top scoring offense in the WCHA and their defense is ranked third. If you want a couple of darkhorses, how about the young North Dakota lineup or an excellent defensive squad in St. Cloud State.

Shad, Alexandria (MN): What team has impressed you the most this year, and who is your pick for Hobey?
Matt McConnell: I would have to say that, overall, the best team I have seen is Minnesota. I really like their depth and consistency. With that lineup, I certainly don't have any problems with Briggs. I just think they are going to be very tough to beat. As for the best player in the country, I am going to hedge a little and give you who I think is the best forward and the best defenseman. I think Ryan Potulny is the best forward - his 29 goals lead the country and he seems to be Mr. Clutch for the Gophers week in and week out. The best defenseman in the country is Matt Carle. Even though he struggled last Friday night against NoDak, he has been a rock of consistency and will be Denver's biggest key in the postseason. If you are looking for a Freshman of the Year, how about Jeff Lerg at Michigan State. He has been one of the biggest reasons for the Spartans' turnaround in the second half and their realistic shot at a number one seed in the Tournament.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Matt this afternoon.
Matt McConnell: Thanks for having me. I had a great time and enjoyed taking your questions. I look forward to doing it again.
CSTV.com Moderator: Thanks for joining us for "Tuesday @ The Rink". Join us again next week - check back to find out who our guests will be.

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