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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Holy Cross Head Coach Paul Pearl

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, March 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Holy Cross Head Coach Paul Pearl enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Crusaders take on Minnesota Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Jerry York

Crusaders' Head Coach Paul Pearl wraps up his 11th year at the helm of the Holy Cross ice hockey program. He is just the fifth head coach in the 36-year history of ice hockey at Holy Cross.

Pearl has forged a 180-147-31 record at Holy Cross and has been the man behind the bench for many of the most successful seasons in Holy Cross history. Under his tutelage, the Crusaders had made ten post-season appearances in eleven years, including their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2003-04 season.

A 1989 graduate of Holy Cross, Pearl served as an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut from 1992-94. While at Connecticut, Pearl helped lead the Huskies to a pair of ECAC Tournament appearances. Pearl also served as assistant coach at Brown University and directed the ice hockey program at the Portsmouth Abbey School in Portsmouth, R.I. for two seasons. As a four-year letterwinner for the Crusaders, he played in 125 games as a defenseman, tallying 14 goals and 63 assists. Pearl led Holy Cross with 25 assists as a senior captain on the 1988-89 squad.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Paul won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 21st, 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: Welcome back to "Tuesday @ The Rink". We are now joined by Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl.
Coach Pearl: Hi, everyone. I'm very happy to be here and am ready to answer your questions.

James: Coach: What did you learn from your last tournament appearance and how do you think it will help this time around?
Coach Pearl: As a program, I think we learned that, in order to compete at this level, you need to block out everything around you and treat things no differently than any other game.

Tim (Hartford): Coach Pearl, Congratulations on another great year of Holy Cross Hockey. Having the opportunity to play in a regional with three of the most storied programs in college hockey history must be very exciting for your players. Tell us what this means to you and your players as you continue to build a successful hockey program at Holy Cross.
Coach Pearl: Getting on the stage with these three programs is very significant for us. We want to be considered as a good Division I hockey team, so having the opportunity to compete against these programs is a big boost for Holy Cross hockey.

Steve (Watertown): As a Bentley College Alum and fan, I sadly watched you take down my team this weekend. Your seniors get a lot of credit, and they deserve it. However, I was extremely impressed with your junior class on Saturday. Can you tell me what they have meant to your program?
Coach Pearl: Our junior class is small but extremely talented. They are a very large part of our program. John Landry is a first team All-Star in our league and is one of the better offensive defenseman in the East. Bubba Sixsmith, any other year, is also an All-Star in our league. He had a heck of a season. Sean Nappo is a grinder on one of our top lines and does a little bit of everything for us. Tanner Fogarty is one of our better penalty killers and Rob Godfrey was the Defensive Player of the Year in Atlantic Hockey this season. There is anthoer junior, Frank O'Grady, who is out with a leg injury. So, we think this is a very significant class. And congratulations to Bentley on a great season.

Kyle (Minneapolis): How do you describe your team's style of play (or your system)? Do you anticipate changing anything in your gameplan for Friday?
Coach Pearl: A big mistake would be to try and change a lot, but we certainly will make some adjustments to try to combat the Gophers' speed. We plan to stick with our usual systems, though, and like any other game, will have to do a real good job of taking care of the puck. Turnovers can kill you against a team like Minnesota.

D.J. Lucy (Boston): Coach Peahl, what is the most difficult part about taking a new program and building it into a national force. Do you miss coaching baseball, you really taught me a lot on the field.
Coach Pearl: I certainly don't know that we are moving towards being a national power, but we appreciate the compliment. For us, we need to continue to attract top students who happen to be real good hockey players. There are a lot of other really good academic schools that play ice hockey, namely the Ivies. So for us to attract the type of players necessary to compete at a high level, my assistant coaches need to continue, as they have done so well, to identify high level student-athletes.

Tim Whalen (Worcester): What important lessens, in life and in sports, did you learn from Jack Whalen, your former coach and mentor?
Coach Pearl: Jack Whalen was one of the most influential people I've ever met in my life. Probably the most important thing he taught me was to really care about your players, not just as players, but as people.

Jack(Minneapolis): Do you think the fact that all the Sioux fans that are at the rink will be rooting for you will help you? Kind of give you a little bit of a home-ice advantage, so to speak?
Coach Pearl: I don't know about home ice advantage, but I certainly appreciate all of the fans in North Dakota who may root for us. Two years ago, even when we played North Dakota, we got a nice hand after the game. I thought they were really nice, first class fans.

Chris (Shrewsbury): Do you find it insulting at all that some analysts were talking about how your team could help itself by losing to Bentley in the Atlantic Hockey finals?
Coach Pearl: I'm hard to insult, so no. They were just analyzing what was going on. It was a statistical anomaly, but it certainly was interesting, that's for sure.

Paul (Worcester): How disappointing is it to be sent out west when you have a regional right there in Worcester?
Coach Pearl: We are not disappointed at all. The committee got it right and went by the seedings - 2 plays 15, so that is that. We would have loved to have played in Worcester, of course, but knew it wasn't really a possibility. We are really looking forward to going to Grand Forks and think it is going to be great.

Jim (Boston): What will it take for Holy Cross to continue to compete at the high level it has over the past few years? Is that a realistic expectation given the academic standards at the College?
Coach Pearl: I think it is. There are a lot of hockey players out there that are smart kids. It is a challenge to find them, but that is our job. Holy Cross is a great place. So once we identify those kids, we think we can show them that this is a place they would like to be.

Scott (Worcester MA): Does or will your pregame speach change becuase of the fact you are an underdog? Best of luck!
Coach Pearl: We aren't big on pregame speeches - they usually last about ten seconds. So I can't really see much changing there.

Rick (Cambridge): Looking back to your arrival at HC in 1995 when you made a promise to your first team to win championships for the school, how does it feel to now have captured 3 in the last 7 seasons?
Coach Pearl: It is obviously a point of pride for the program. A lot of kids have put in a lot of work here, not just the kids on the current team. It is great to have them consider themselves a part of it. We had around forty or fifty alums at the game Saturday night, which is just a great feeling.

James (Wellesley): Congratulations on another great season. Do you feel having a number of players who experienced your last trip to the NCAA's will help your team avoid the "wow, we made it-what a great rink-I have seen these guys on TV"" factor? Good luck in Grand Forks!
Coach Pearl: Yes, but in fairness, I don't think we had that two years ago, either.

Jim (Boston): Do you resent Kyle from Minneapolis trying to get you to disclose your game plan to a national audience?
Coach Pearl: No, I don't...Nice try.

Tony - Worcester, MA: Hi Paul- the guys and I often sit around Herbies Restaurant and debate over the who is the best team in Holy Cross history. Our top 3 are the '99 championship team, the '04 championship team that put together a very difficult matchup for North Dakota in the NCAA's, or this years team who will face off against Minnesota. Surely you must have a favorite?
Coach Pearl: Nope. I've thoroughly enjoyed coaching all eleven teams I've had here. Each team had its own unique characteristics that made them all successful.

Dan (Minneapolis): What's the vibe like on campus right now? Is it a "hockey school?"
Coach Pearl: The vibe is great. The people here on campus were fantastic all weekend. Anyone who was here knows what a great environment it was during the games. The student body and everyone else is really behind us. I think we would like to be known as an academic school with a good hockey team, and this weekend gives us a chance to say that.
CSTV.com Moderator: Coach has to get ready for practice, so that is all the time we have with him this afternoon.
Coach Pearl: I had a great time. Thanks for all of your support for Holy Cross hockey.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us again next week for "Tuesday @ The Rink". We'll have two guests for you - check back to find out who they are. See you next week.

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