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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analyst Adam Wodon

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, March 21 at 1:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analyst Adam Wodon stops by "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Adam will be fielding all of your questions on college hockey and the upcoming NCAA Tournament.

Adam Wodon

Adam Wodon has been covering college since 1988, and has since been the play-by-play broadcaster for Princeton and Cornell. He worked at USCHO.com for nine years, and since 2003 has been an analyst for College Sports Television's regular college hockey coverage. In addition to more than a dozen years in the radio and newspaper business, he has also worked for ESPN, including work on the 2004 Frozen Four game broadcasts.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Adam won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on March 21st, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to "Tuesday @ The Rink". It is a busy time in college hockey, with the NCAA Tournament starting in just three days. Here to take a look at the brackets, as only he can, is CSTV hockey analyst Adam Wodon.
Adam Wodon: Hey, everyone. It's great to be back, as always. I'm ready to talk hockey and the brackets with everyone.

Sam (Plymouth, MN): Regardless of how the Gophers did at the Final Five last weekend, would they have been in the Grand Forks regional because the committee wanted Wisconsin in Green Bay to draw attendance?
Adam Wodon: That's a good question that I'm not sure we'll ever get an answer to. The question was posed to the committee before hand, and it gave vague answers about reserving the right to protect the top seed. So, there's no way of knowing, but my guess is that the committee would've kept it the way it was anyway.

Tony (Philadelphia): Does Michigan State have enough to win it all this year?
Adam Wodon: I think they don't quite have the firepower of Minnesota and North Dakota, but they are playing very well as a team right now, and certainly have enough good players to make it interesting. Their goaltender is a freshman, but is playing very well, so that's obviously important. They're playing tough, too, and everything will be on the small ice the rest of the way.

Vinod (New York): As a person that is very familiar with the Big Red, what do you feel their prospects are for capturing a national championship within the next few years? Have they attained all that they can with the 2003 / 2005 runs as long as they play within the current system? As a Big Red fan, I am searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for your thoughts.
Adam Wodon: I'd hate to say it's impossible for them to do it, but the 2003 team was a very special team, and getting back to that level is very, very difficult for Cornell to accomplish. They had a great balance of skill, toughness, smarts, leadership and goaltending that they are going to need to achieve it. Players like Doug Murray, Stephen Baby and Mark McRae don't come around all that often. I think Cornell is recruiting a lot more skill than ever before, but Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. are always going to recruit more of it -- so it would take something extra ... and that's what this group -- as good as it is -- doesn't have that the 2003 group did. Whether the new recruits turn into that, we'll see. But the crop over the next two years has as much talent as Cornell has ever brought in. Can they get a Hobey-caliber goalie again? That remains to be seen, too.

Jeff (Lakeville, MN): I realize it's hard to argue there was any subjectivity put into the NCAA seedings, since it's obvious the committee just went straight by the numbers according to the PairWise. Having said that, do you think that the committee was pleased that the seedings worked out the way they did, with the four WCHA teams in just two regionals, and the four Hockey East teams also in just two regionals? Do you think the committee was happy with the outcome, and that a Frozen Four like last year will not happen again this year?
Adam Wodon: I don't know whether the committee cared one way or the other. There are probably many people in hockey who are happy it came out that way, so that there wasn't a repeat of last year. Of course, then it's only artificial. The only way to prove there's more balance this year would be to have a WCHA team in each regional, and make someone knock them off. So, I think it's good for hockey to have balance, but I also don't want it to be artificially created. In this case, it's just the way the numbers worked out.

Jon (Marquette, MI): When is the NCAA going to have a play-in game for the 16th spot? To have an automatic spot reserved for the CHA champion and the ACHA champion in the field of 16 when both leagues champions PWR are no where near the cut point for the rest of the teams competing for a spots. To have the two-time defending champs Denver sitting at home because Holy Cross beat Bentley 5 times this year seems wrong.
Adam Wodon: Well, sorry, that will never change. If it weren't for Holy Cross and Bemidji, the tournament would still be 12 teams, and Denver wouldn't get in anyway. No one at Denver is complaining. They had their chance to qualify, and didn't. That's the way the NCAA works in all sports -- automatic bids to any conference that qualifies.

Owen, Wilmette IL: Hi Adam - Despite all the intricacies of the PairWise, I note that (with 3-2-1 bonus) the top 13 NCAA seeds are the top 13 RPIs in exact order. Only UNO (RPI #15) sneaking in ahead of Dartmouth (RPI #14) breaks this lineup. So does anything besides RPI really matter? Also, I am no Dartmouth fan, but a team that wins the regular season title in one of the "big 4" leagues ought to be in the NCAA Tournament.
Adam Wodon: Well, I like Dartmouth, and respect their program, but it can be argued that the ECAC is not as "big 4" as the other "big 4" so therefore, the first place team there doesn't automatically deserve a spot. As for the RPI ... it's true that the RPI and Pairwise match up pretty closely most of the time. The other stuff certainly matters, but it usually only matters a few spots here or there. This year, I guess it was more on than usual. Originally, those other criteria were only supposed to be used as tiebreakers in head-to-head comparisons when the RPIs of the two teams were close.

RedPep (Grand Forks, ND): Adam, With the UND Fighting Sioux winning the WCHA Final 5 and the Minnesota Gophers taking fourth in this tourney, who has the upper hand going into the west regionals this weekend in Grand Forks?
Adam Wodon: I always say, I hate predictions, but when forced, I've picked North Dakota to win it all -- which probably means they won't. So take that for what it's worth. I do think that playing at home, and having the better goaltender, will give North Dakota enough of an edge to "upset" Minnesota. But it's obviously going to be pretty close.

steve(kingston): I am a little worried as a badger fan about our first round matchup against bemidji st. This was a team that last year took eventual champion denver to overtime in the first round, so they have ncaa experience and they also swept 2 wcha teams earlier in the year. the badgers should have an advantage by playing in green bay but what do you think of the chance of the beavers pulling the upset against the badgers.
Adam Wodon: I think there's a chance. Of course, I would've said that last year, they didn't have a chance - but then they showed that they did. I don't think this year's BSU team is as strong as that one, but then again, they played well when it mattered, and, like you said, have confidence and experience on their side. This matchup can work in their favor, since Wisconsin usually doesn't roll up scores on opponents.

Mac (Minneapolis): Going in to the tournament, is there any team(s) who have gotten hot as of late that you wouldn't want to play?
Adam Wodon: Well, we already mentioned North Dakota. Other than that, I'll point to Harvard and Boston University. Sure, they have to prove it against bigger opposition - especially Harvard - but I think the way those teams are playing will translate to whatever opponent they face. They are both on a roll right now.

Minneapolis: Why wasn't Bemidji left in Grand Forks, 100 miles away, to play Minnesota and Holy Cross to Green Bay where they can actually get to easier than to Grand Forks. I realize they are #16 but the gates receipts will be significantly reduced this way. It doesn't matter which team plays which for the sake of the outcome. Neither qualifies by pairwise anyway. Come on selection! You've used gates before, you should have used it on this one.
Adam Wodon: I seriously doubt, actually, that attendance will be a problem in Grand Forks just because Bemidji isn't there. You could probably fill the building twice with the Sioux fans that will show up. So, the committee went by the numbers. I don't think attendance was a consideration at all - and it shouldn't be, unless it has to be. There are other compelling reasons sometimes for swapping teams around - and I believe the committee should not be so beholden to the rankings when common sense dictates otherwise. But in this case, there was no real reason to switch them, and so Wisconsin lined up against the lowest ranked Pairwise team.

Jim (Boston): Adam, you've long been pigeonholed as an anti-Harvard guy. Most of us know it's not true, but why not take this chance to clear the air and sing the Crimson's praises? Lord knows they deserve it right now.
Adam Wodon: Well, I'm glad you don't believe it's true. People who pigeon-holed me that way just weren't paying attention. Most of that stems from some public "questionings" of Mark Mazzoleni, and because I did radio for Cornell. Thing is, I have enormous respect for the Harvard program, and as an old ECAC loyalist, root like heck for them in the NCAAs all the time (and annoy Cornell people in the process :-) ). So, I've picked Harvard to make the Frozen Four here. Maybe that will make Michigan State fans get up in arms now, who knows :-) ... But it's just a hunch. Ted Donato has done a spectacular job coaching that team. It's obvious every time they step on the ice. They win one-on-one battles now. They do the little things that close out games against top teams.

Freddy (Ann Arbor): BU #1 team in the last poll, isn't that a bit of a stretch? I don't think they have much of a chance to get to the frozen four. I don't understand the BU Love. Do you agree with me?
Adam Wodon: I don't think they should be No. 1 - but I do think they can make the Frozen Four. There are two teams in their region who have never won an NCAA game - and the other team is Boston College, who they've beaten four straight times.

Mike (Quincy, MA): Let's assume BU and BC get past the first round. Don't you think it will be awful tough for BU to get past BC 5 straight times?
Adam Wodon: Yes, it will be. But I'm not sure one game has anything to do with the next, especially when they are separated by other games. I just think beating BC is always tough - as we saw this past weekend. If Chris Collins is 100 percent, and John Curry doesn't stand on his head in OT, then things would've been different.

jon (oxford, Ohio): hey do think Miami has the talent to be able to come out of the NE region and advance to the frozen four even though they are placed in boston
Adam Wodon: I think Miami has a very good chance to come out of there. They went into a hostile Joe Louis Arena, and almost defeated Michigan State. Worcester won't be as hostile against Miami as that was. There will be plenty of BU fans there rooting for Miami on Friday - and then vice versa the next day :-). Miami has a lot of talent, and they never seem to quit. The goaltending has held up all year, too. And for all the accolades Andy Greene gets, I still think he's underrated.

Shad Schmidt, Alexandria, (MN): How do you see the Hobey Baker race right now?
Adam Wodon: Ryan Potulny. Case closed.

stjerno (grand forks): So Who do you like to win it all?
Adam Wodon: Since you're from Grand Forks, I should say Wisconsin just to annoy you. But I've been saying North Dakota for the past three days, why stop now?
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Adam this afternoon.
Adam Wodon: Everyone have fun this weekend ... and try to be nice to your fellow fans. See you in Milwaukee.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour for the second half of today's "Tuesday @ The Rink" doubleheader, when we will be joined by Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl. The room is open now for your questions for Coach Pearl. See you at 2:00 Eastern.

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