Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV's Hobey Baker Watch Panel

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, March 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET, "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com, will host a discussion with members of the CSTV.com Hobey Baker Watch panel, discussing the top contenders for the Hobey Baker Award and other topics from across the board in college hockey.

The CSTV.com Hobey Baker Watch is in its second season, with a new edition appearing every Wednesday morning on CSTV.com. Each week, a panel of writers and analysts from across the country make their picks for who will win the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, college hockey's top individual honor.

The members of the Hobey Baker Watch panel are: CSTV play-by-play announcer Matt McConnell, CSTV color commentators Dave Starman and Troy Ward, CSTV studio host Adam Zucker, CSTV.com "Rink Rat" Elliot Olshansky, College Hockey News editor Adam Wodon, and writers Bob Snow of NHL.com, D.J. Powers of Hockey's Future, Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette, Neil Koepke of the Lansing State Journal, and Todd D. Milewski of the Capital Times.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Our Hobey Baker Watch voters won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 3rd, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for their arrival!
Elliot Olshansky: Good afternoon, and welcome back to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're set to go with our second chat of the afternoon.
Elliot Olshansky: Joining me are my fellow Hobey Watch panel members Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette and CSTV hockey analyst Troy Ward.
Troy Ward: Welcome to the chat. I'm looking forward to answering your questions.
Ken Schott: Hello from bitterly cold Schenectady, NY. where it's 7 above 0 and the area's college hockey teams aren't playing in the second weekend of March for the third straight year.
Elliot Olshansky: My sympathies, Ken...
Troy Ward: Hello, Ken, from sunny Madison, Wisc., where the WCHA is in hot action.

Jason (boston): Will the Hobey Baker winner be decided by whose team goes farthest in the NCAA tournament? And despite a disappointing end to the regular season, I still hope Curry is in the top mix of Hobey Candidates! Curry For Hobey!!!!!
Troy Ward: I think history dictates that a strong finish is not only indicative for the Hobey, but certainly, for the teams vying for the top 16 spots. I don't believe this is any different. This is a time when a guy is going to have to step up more than ever. I liken it to the Beanpot. Curry was on the main stage at the Beanpot and put himself into this race. Now he has another opportunity in postseason play.
Ken Schott: I would hope not. I hope the voters look at what the players did during the regular season and the conference tournaments. I think the NCAA tournaments shouldn't be a factor in deciding the Hobey winner. Since the regionals are factored in, why not include the Frozen Four?
Elliot Olshansky: I think the fact that Matt Carle won last year shows that you certainly don't have to have a deep NCAA run to win the Hobey. At the same time, I don't think anyone has truly separated himself from the pack the way Carle did last season, so postseason play will probably make a big difference in the race this year.
Elliot Olshansky: I'm also pleased to report that we're joined now by Adam Wodon.
Adam Wodon: This might be the best weekend of the year, so let's get some Hobey chatter going

Ben (Columbus, OH): Hey everyone, just wanted to know your opionion on the Hobey chances for Bobby Goepfert from St. Cloud State. He's been the definition of team MVP all year, playing a vital part in the Huskies' success. Thanks for taking the question!
Troy Ward: There's no question that he has been the backbone for the Huskies all year. I think we saw a glimpse of that against North Dakota. Bobby, for whatever reason is like a lot of the great goalies: there's a lot of those guys, and sometimes that position doesn't lend itself to having enough statistical information that can override what forwards and defensemen have the opportunity to do. But I think if you liken it to the recent Hobeys, all the guys who won it were product of a great goaltenders: they got a chance to do great things statistically because their rear ends were covered, but I don't think that always lends itself to Hobey consideration. It's a tough thing to vote, and you have to not only carry your team on your back, but also put yourself way out in front of the other goalies. You look at Jeff Jakaitis, David Brown, Brian Elliott, John Curry, Bobby Goepfert, there are good goaltenders everywhere, and I don't know if one guy is totally dominating.
Ken Schott: I saw him play at the Vermont tournament, and was impressed. But he has to climb over David Brown and John Curry to have a chance. That will be tough
Adam Wodon: I think Goepfert has to make some of most acrobatic saves of any of the goalies up there for the Hobey. I think he also faces the most shots. He is every bit as valuable as Brown and Curry ... The only thing that might work against him is his background ... which hasn't been a problem since leaving Providence, but you never know what voters will choose to look at
Elliot Olshansky: I think it's really like the other guys said to a certain point...there's certainly a lot of top goaltenders out there. Personally, I think you need to look at how necessary they are to the team's success, which is something I've stressed for a while, and Goepfert and John Curry certainly have the edge there, at least in my opinion.

Roy (New York, NY.): Considering that this year's Hobey Baker race is as tight as ever, how do each of the top candidate's scholastic achievement play a role in the race? I see that this is one of the criteria's for the award and I was wondering if any of these student athletes stood out in regards to academic achievement more than the other candidates?
Ken Schott: Honestly, I don't know if the academics are taken into account. The committee looks at the stats first.
Elliot Olshansky: This is similar to a question that came up a couple of years ago, when Jordan Sigalet was a finalist, and people wondered if his battle with multiple sclerosis would be a factor. I think that while off-ice criteria could be looked at, I don't think it'll be a make-or-break thing.
Adam Wodon: I think academics is very important in general, and don't want to poo-pooh it ... but without the data in front of us, it's hard to say. So for me, I just basically have to go by what kind of player they are, unless something else jumps out at me .. and in this case, nothing does, except for the potential issue with Goepfert, as I mentioned.
Elliot Olshansky: I think one exception I might want to see is in the case of Eric Ehn, where his academic and military commitments are so demanding that it makes his performance on the ice even more impressive. Also, given that Hobey Baker himself fought as a pilot for the U.S. in World War I makes it tempting to favor a student-athlete at the Air Force Academy, since he happens to be the nation's top scorer.
Ken Schott: I agree with that.
Troy Ward: Academics is certainly a huge area for me and also a part of the selection criteria. T.J. Hensick is a good student and I know that the University of Michigan is pushing the academics with his scoring.
Adam Wodon: Oh, the heck with the touchy-feeling intangibles.
Ken Schott: Need a tissue, Adam?
Elliot Olshansky: OK, guys, that's enough of that.

Zach (Colorado Springs): Is it even fair to include Eric Ehn in the Hobey Baker race? Sure he is leading the country but no player from a "mid major" has ever won. Congrats to Eric on a great season but he's no Hobey Baker winner.
Elliot Olshansky: Well, I think I made it pretty clear how I feel on the subject...if you're looking for the complete package, I think Eric has it. Having watched him on the ice, I really don't think all of his success can be chalked up to playing in Atlantic Hockey. Some, perhaps, but he'd be a player in any conference. That he's so successful at Air Force is very remarkable, and I think he's just as worthy of consideration as anyone else we're discussing.
Ken Schott: This is where I will stand up and fight for the smaller conferences. I don't care what team you are playing for. If he has been putting up points on a consistent basis and he is leading the nation in scoring, that proves to me he belongs as a top candidate.
Adam Wodon: He's a nice player, don't get me wrong, and a great story ... but most of his numbers come against teams in his league. I'll give him this, he scored against Denver, and and two goals against Alaska, but nine points against Canisius this year, and nine against Alabama-Hunstville, 10 against AIC, shall I go on?
Ken Schott: I didn't say he should win it, but he should be a top candidate.
Elliot Olshansky: I say that if we were going 100 percent by the stated criteria, Ehn would be a no-brainer to win it, in my opinion. That said, I can realistically hope to see a set of dress blues along side the suits on the first Friday in April.
Troy Ward: It sure is fair! He's having an outstanding season and is a great college hockey story in 06-07. He's got great vision and hands. He's able to do what ever other Hobey player is doing and even more. Let's look at his linemates compared to what some of the other top players are playing with. No disrespect to his linemates but there is no Porter on the wing at Air Force.

Matt (Grand Forks): Does playing on a line with Oshie and Toews hurt the chances for Ryan Duncan? Also how does the WCHA rate this year versus other conferences and how does that affect the chances of players like Ryan Duncan to win the hobey?
Adam Wodon: It shouldn't. It didn't hurt Sertich to play with Sterling ... it didn't hurt Brendan Morrison to play with the studs he was with ... same for Paul Kariya .. .I think the bigger issue is that Oshie-Toews were perceived to be the stars.
Elliot Olshansky: Extending it even further, let's look at this year's top forwards: Hensick and Porter play on a line together, Nathan Davis has Ryan Jones...I'd say the guys having the biggest success with less-known linemates are Scott Parse and Eric Ehn, and lately, it's Hensick and Duncan getting the most buzz among the forwards.
Troy Ward: Not in the least does it hurt his chances. The WCHA is having a transitional year, in regards to all the players who left early to turn pro. It should have no bearing on his position in the race in my opinion.
Ken Schott: With 27 goals this season, I think Duncan is making a name for himself.
Adam Wodon: It's always a factor to consider, but one guy should not be punished for his linemates ... just like goalies, and their defensive schemes ... it's natural to say someone like David McKee doesn't deserve it b/c of Cornell's system, but at some point, the numbers are just too good.
Elliot Olshansky: Glad you said McKee and not LeNeveu, Adam, because Peter Sejna's numbers that year were also "just too good."
Adam Wodon: Hey man, I know what I'm doing :-) I also figured some young'uns may not remember LeNeveu.

Andrew (Boston): I feel that John Curry's ability is vastly underrated. Why is it that a goalie like David Brown has more attention even though the CCHA isn't as strong a conference as Hockey East?
Ken Schott: Because no one expected Notre Dame to do what it did this season, and Boston U is always expected to be a top team.
Adam Wodon: I actually do think John Curry is much more valuable to his team than Brown, because BU has been bad at times, and Curry's always been a rock - every single game, but I had David Brown up near the top for a long time because Notre Dame has been a legitimately excellent team this year. Yes, the CCHA is down, but Notre Dame has good wins, and when you see them play, they are just a tremendously efficient, solid team from top to bottom the most complete team in the country, in my opinion. So I thought someone at Notre Dame deserved some credit for that. But now, other guys are passing Brown, I believe, like Goepfert.
Ken Schott: No one expected BU's offense to be so inconsistent. Two 0-0 ties this season? That's crazy.
Elliot Olshansky: I've been a big Curry fan for a long time, but I do wonder if the Hobey voters are ready to accept the idea of a former walk-on being recognized as the sport's top player. I know people like the Rudy comparisons, but Danny King at Denver is college hockey's Rudy...Curry is something else altogether. I know Mike Geragosian has had a big hand in his success, and that might also play against him somewhat, but who knows?
Troy Ward: David Brown has been the story at South Bend all season. Where was Curry the first half of the season? True test of an elite goalie is the CONSISTENCY. It's easy to get hot, but we are looking at CONSISTENCY here and Wins!
Elliot Olshansky: Well, BU was mediocre for the first half of the season, which kept Curry from being noticed, kind of like Jeff Jakaitis at LSSU. Of course, if it weren't for Curry, BU wouldn't even have been mediocre. Curry made a bad team average with his play, and now, he's making an average team a Top 10 team. It's more his team's inconsistency than his own that's hurt him.

Peter (Ann Arbor): Why does Kevin Porter, possibly the best all around player in college hockey seem to take a back seat to Miami's Nate Davis? I heard the, "Porter plays with Hensick" excuse but Davis has Ryan Jones. The fact of the matter is Porter has more points in less games played than Davis. Same thing with Scott Parse. Why doesn't this kid get any respect?
Ken Schott: Porter also has to contend with teammate Jack Johnson. So that probably doesn't help Porter's chances, either.
Elliot Olshansky: I think the thing people don't realize about Nathan Davis is how much he contributes that isn't on the scoresheet. He's a complete player, with his defense, his energy, his leadership, and his willingness to get out there and battle. Throw in the scoring - and yes, Porter does more of that - and you have a better Hobey candidate than people see.
Troy Ward: Sometimes the respect has to do with the universities. No one at UND was promoting Duncan early in the year. He's taken that UND team on his back when the other two were out at times. For me Porter is in the same position and they (Michigan) promoted and rightfully so Hensick.
Ken Schott: Unfortunately, defensive play isn't taken into account with the voters, unless you're a goalie.

wingz (Brighton):: Hey guys - Will Nathan Gerbe of Boston College be next season's early favorite to win the Hobey Baker? He has to be the most exciting individual player in college hockey.
Elliot Olshansky: Oh man, don't even get me started thinking about next year...the thing about next year is that we already know the leading scorer in the country will be back! However, I've been impressed by Nathan since I saw him at the Junior Evaluation Camp in 2005. The question is whether he'll be able to put up the numbers at BC, which depends on how BC's offense clicks. A lot of people thought they'd be better this year, but they're just now getting the chemistry together. Also, remember that Brian Gionta didn't win the Hobey in any of his years at the Heights, and while I love watching Gerbe play, he's no Brian Gionta. That said, if he can have the kind of season that Chris Collins had last year - and I think he could - he's got a bit more of the pedigree to be a contender than Collins had.
Troy Ward: Nathan is extremely exciting. He's certainly going to be high on everyone's watch list.
Ken Schott: Great stats this season. But he has to cut down on his penalty minutes. With six game-winners, he is a clutch player.
Elliot Olshansky: OK, guys, let's do one more and call it a day.

Kent Lovell - Ashley ND: Could you rank in your opinion the top three Hobey finalists. Thanks
Elliot Olshansky: Well, I put my top five on the Rink Rat blog every week, but my top three this week are Eric Ehn, John Curry and T.J. Hensick. Somehow, though, I think Ehn will be overlooked, and David Brown will get that third spot, but if I were picking, that's how I would go.
Ken Schott: For me, it's Brown, Hensick and Curry.
Troy Ward: David Brown, T.J. Hensick, Eric Ehn
Elliot Olshansky: OK, I think that's all we have time for today...that was quite the fun time, huh?
Adam Wodon: Great being back on the CSTV chat, and hope to see everyone at the tournaments.
Troy Ward: Fans, thanks for all the questions, and like you, we'll sit back and see what happens.
Ken Schott: Thanks for the questions. I enjoyed the chat. I look forward to next weekend's ECACHL championship in Albany. This is the best time of the year.
Elliot Olshansky: Indeed it is...and that will do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats, presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. Check back for more info on next week's guests, and have a great week.