Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, March 6 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Michigan head coach Red Berenson pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The No. 10 Wolverines face Northern Michigan this weekend in a CCHA quarterfinal series.

Red Berenson

A proven winner at the collegiate and professional levels as both a player and coach, Gordon "Red" Berenson is in his 23rd season as head coach of the University of Michigan ice hockey program.

Since taking over a struggling program in 1984, Berenson has kept the Wolverines in the upper echelon of college ice hockey. He directed Michigan to the 1996 and 1998 NCAA National Championships -- the eighth and ninth in school history -- and has put together a 444-145-48 (.735) record over the last 15 seasons that stands as the winningest mark in NCAA Division I ice hockey during that time.

Under Berenson, the Wolverines have reached the NCAA Frozen Four nine times in the last 15 years: back-to-back appearances in 1992 and 1993; four consecutive appearances in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998; and three consecutive showings between 2001-03. They qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 16 seasons, marking the longest streak ever in college hockey.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Coach Berenson won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 6th, 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 CSTV.com's "Tuesday @ the Rink." Please hang on just a moment, as we're waiting to be joined by Michigan head coach Red Berenson.
CSTV.com Moderator: We're now joined by Michigan head coach Red Berenson.
Coach Berenson: Hi. I appreciate everyone's interest in college hockey and Michigan hockey in particular so have fun.

Chris (Marquette): Coach Berenson- First off you have been a class act for many years at Michigan and I every year I look forward to the NMU vs UM games. This weekend you are clearly the favorite; with Northeren comming off a big series at Ohio State what must Michigan do to advance to the Joe?
Coach Berenson: Well, obviously, we've had two weeks off, so we're going to need to get caught up to the playoff tempo. Northern has the advantage because they played last week, and they have the momentum and the playoff intensity already under their belts, and we have to get caught up to that.

Chad (Toledo): Coach Berenson, This team has struggled at times this year with consistency. How have you addressed the team in regard to the defensive lapses and inconsistent play that has plagued the team down the stretch? What is the mindset of the team heading into the CCHA Tournament? Are we ready to make a deep run in the playoffs and NCAA Tournament? Go Blue!!!
Coach Berenson: We hope so. We have addressed our defensive inconsistencies, and are a work in progress. We think we're ready for the playoffs, and we'll find out this weekend.

David (Ann Arbor): Do you have any comment on WMU and OSU losing to the 10th and 11th seeds at home last weekend? Maybe in terms of parity in the CCHA? Is home rink advantage not all that it is said to be?
CSTV.com Moderator: I think you answered your own question. It's a big parity statement, and when half the teams go on the road and win, it shows you that home ice doesn't have much of an advantage, if any.

Tony (Dearborn): As a UM student season ticket holder, how do you think the student section motivates the team, and are there times you really wish we weren't there? Good luck against NMU.
Coach Berenson: I think they motivate us every game by their presence and their enthusiasm and by their involvement in the game, and there's never a time when I wish they were not there.

Anna (Ann Arbor): Are you doing anything special to keep the team focused now that it's playoffs? Do you think the bye week has any negative effects?
Coach Berenson: We think we've had a pretty good week off. I think the upcoming playoff series will get our team's focus easily enough, and we'll find out if the bye week was an advantage or not.

John (Boston): If Hensick, Johnson, and Porter were all seniors who would win the Hobey?
Coach Berenson: Well, we had that situation with Brian Wiseman, Steve Shields, and David Oliver. They were all Hobey finalists, and they were all Michigan seniors, and any one of them could have won it, but they split the votes and another player won it. To answer the question, that would be a tough call. A lot of people would go with Jack Johnson for his skill and physicality as a defenseman, and a lot of people would pick T.J. Hensick because of his showmanship and performance. Kevin Porter, night after night, is the quiet scorer and the quiet performer, so take your pick.

Tony (Dearborn): Do you like the current method used to determine which teams will go to the NCAA? OR you you find some flaws in the system?
Coach Berenson: Good question. The RPI is not a perfect system, and even though it's been tweaked several times, it's still inconsistent. We don't have the time here to elaborate on that, but needless to say, we have to live with the system they're using until they change it. Also, the bottom line is still to win as many games as you can to be a deserving participant.

Jarrett (Columbus): Coach, big fan of yours and what you have done for the program. What are your thoughts on the transition of Chris Summers from defense to offense, and what happened defensively the second night in Columbus? Thanks for your time and Go Blue!
Coach Berenson: Summers has made a nice adjustment. He did play forward quite a bit last season with the Development Program, and we think he can play equally as well on defense or at forward. In Columbus, it was a game where we had the lead and should've played better without the puck, and we had about four of what I would call "unearned" goals against, and you can't win with that.

Mark (Alaska): I remember a few years back when Mike Cammalleri, left your program early to play for the LA Kings and it was reported that you wouldnt speak to him at the time. Have you since spoke? And with his success at the pro level do you think he and other players that left the progam early have made the right choice?
Coach Berenson: I've maintained all along there's no rush to get to the pros, but each individual has to make his own decision. In Cammalleri's case, it was a double whammy. I didn't like the way it came down, in addition to the fact that Mike Komisarek left within a week of Cammalleri. Mike Cammalleri and I are friends, and I expect he'll be on our campus this Thursday to say, "Hi," since the L.A. Kings are at Detroit on Friday. As for whether he and others made the right choice, I would say, for the most part, again, it's not a rush. Most of those players had to play a year or two in the AHL, and I'd rather see them graduate and take their chances at the pro level with a degree.

John (Portland): How come so many freshman are entering at 20+ years old? Other sports are not doing this.
Coach Berenson: That's an interesting comment, because our All-Rookie team in our league features two 22-year olds, one 21-year old, a 20-year old and two 19-year olds. I think in some cases, players needed an extra year or two of development before they were ready for Division I. In contrast to that, T.J. Hensick is a senior who just turned 21 years old in December.

Dale (Marquette): Coach Berenson, What is your oppion on fighing in college hockey? Do you think thier is any room for it in the game? Why or why not? Many of us find it strange that players can fight in junior and then are forced to wear full cages again untill they reach the pro level.
Coach Berenson: I guess it doesn't matter what I think. The rules are not going to change in college regarding fighting and/or full face masks. It's been discussed many times by the coaches, but there will be no changes.

George Q. (San Jose): I still remember you scoring 6 goals for the St. Louis Blues against Philly Fliers with Dougie Favell in goal in 1968. Unbelievable they way you appeared to outgun the Fliers single-handed. With your long list of career successes, does that evening stand out in your memory? I sat watching it all alone on black & white TV in our den after coming home from work. My wife couldn't figure out why I was yelling at the TV so often! It's still tops on my list of hockey achievements I've witnessed.
Coach Berenson: It's a memorable game because the media people bring it up every couple of years. As a coach, I think more about what I'm doing now, more than what I did as a player. I guess when you bring it up now, it's worth discussing, because it was unusual.

Tim (Marquette): Hope your nervous this weekend Coach; while i love UM hockey this weekend coach Kyle's Wildcats come to town; while they have had a poor year to thier standards they are starting to play some good hockey at just the right time. Can you stop them?
Coach Berenson: I agree with the question. Their team is playing the best hockey of their season, and I think this is going to be a hard-fought series with every game being a close game. We expect a tough series.
CSTV.com Moderator: That's all the time we have with Coach Berenson this afternoon.
Coach Berenson: Thank you for the interesting and knowledgable questions. That's the one thing about college hockey fans: they're really passionate about the sport, they're knowledgable, and obviously very creative. It's a love affair with the sport we all care about. Thanks for the questions, and enjoy the playoffs.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for the first of this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. We'll be back at the top of the hour with members of our Hobey Baker Watch panel.