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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Maine Head Coach Tim Whitehead

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Thursday, March 30 at 11:00 a.m. ET, Maine Head Coach Tim Whitehead enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Black Bears are one of the participants in this season's Frozen Four.

Bob Gaudet

Head Coach Tim Whitehead is finishing his fifth season at the helm of the University of Maine men's ice hockey program. Under his tutelage, the Black Bears have advanced to the NCAA Tournament all five seasons and reached the NCAA National Championship game twice.

At Maine, Whitehead has a 131-53-24 record and a career record of 207-148-35 in his ten years as a head coach. Whitehead returned to Maine for the 2001-02 season to serve as an assistant coach under head coach Shawn Walsh. When Walsh passed away on September 24, 2001, Whitehead was named interim coach. Following the season, Whitehead was introduced as the third head coach in Maine history on April 8, 2002. In his first year with the Black Bears, Whitehead led the team to a record of 26-11-7, and finished as the NCAA finalists.

Whitehead came to Maine after serving as head coach of UMass-Lowell for five seasons where he compiled a record of 76-93-11. Prior to running the UMass-Lowell program, Whitehead spent five years as an assistant with the River Hawks under former Maine assistant Bruce Crowder. Previously, Whitehead served as an assistant at Maine in 1990-91 with Shawn Walsh. He spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Middlebury College, and played two seasons of professional hockey in Europe prior to that. Whitehead graduated from Hamilton College in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in government, and earned his master's degree in education from the University of Maine in 1991.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Tim won't be stopping by until 11:00 a.m. EST on Thursday, March 30th, 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 to a special Thursday edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". With the NCAA Frozen Four starting a week from today, we will be joined by two of the four coaches taking part. Starting things off today is Maine Head Coach Tim Whitehead.
Coach Whitehead: Hi, everyone. I am very happy to be here and am ready to take your questions.

Dan (Holliston): Coach: How do the WCHA and Hockey East seem to dominate the post season year after year? In the kast 5 years (incl 2006), the FF has 10 WCHA, 7 HEA, 2 CCHA and 1 ECAC. The last non-WCHA/HEA winner was Michigan in '98. How?
Coach Whitehead: That may be the trend recently, but you can't really count out the other leagues. The margin of victory in this year's tournament has been very slim. This is something that is seems a bit cyclical, so I wouldn't read too much into it.

BA(Bangor): I heard that Brian Elliott was a 10 foot man beast that showers in vodka. How can the Bears have any hope with him in goal?
Coach Whitehead: With any great goaltender, you've got to get to the net and get opportunities. That is very difficult against Wisconsin - they play great team defense and have an outstanding goalie behind them. That is going to be very challenging for us.

Vinny - Swampscott: Have you noticed any similarities with your Frozen Four team vs. the 2002 & 2004 team? Any major differences you notice?
Coach Whitehead: All of those teams had very strong and determined senior classes. I sensed a very good focus from those seniors and a determination to do something special. Certainly, there are some subtle differences each year, but the common denominator is the strong senior class.

DW (Orono): Would you like to see the elimination of the week and half layoff between the end of the Regionals and the Frozen Four?
Coach Whitehead: I like the layoff. It keeps us away from the basketball Final Fours and allows friends and families to get a seven day advance airline ticket. It also gives the NCAA and the host city a chance to build enthusiasm towards the Frozen Four.

Tony (Kansas City): Tim, Congrats on making the Frozen Four! How do feel your team will react to the overwhelming presence of Wisconsin fans in Milwaukee? Do your players feed off of a challenge like that?
Coach Whitehead: We've been in this situation before - this is the fifth straight year that we've played an NCAA opponent in their home state. We know what to expect. This is the type of challenge that we enjoy. When you go into the NCAA Tournament, you hope to play in front of a sellout crowd in a great atmosphere. You are guaranteed that when you play a team in their home state.

Wilmington, NC: Does the lack of respect your program and players get ever get to you? I mean seriously, we both know that Chris Collins in not half the player that Moore is.....well wait, he is exactly half the player Mooore is. As in Greg plays defense. There can't be more than one or two players I would rather have on my team in terms of talent, character, and all around work ethic. GO MAINE!
Coach Whitehead: As a team, we need to earn our respect. No one is going to give anything to us. With regards to Collins and Moore, they are both tremendous players. Chris Collins, with the season he and his team have had, deserves every accolade he has received.

DB (Orono): We all know that Coach Standbrook has meant a lot to the program long during the Walsh era of the program. What has he meant to you in terms of your initial transition, and even now, 5 years in?
Coach Whitehead: Grant Standbrook has been the heart and soul of our team for many years. I'm sure Wisconsin fans remember him from his years with the Badgers. Grant is a great coach and a great person, and a big reason why our program has been so successful.

Spiros Polemis (Stockton Springs, Maine): Hello, Tim. What are your methods to keep the boys at the proper emotional level as the game approaches? And how important, or unimportant, is emotion in game preparation, as opposed to , say, studying opponents' tendencies, etc? See you in Milwaukee . . .
Coach Whitehead: There are a lot of factors that go into playing your best. Getting the players at the right emotional level and preparing for your opponent are two of the most important.

Daniel (Boston): Congrats on th FF. How does coaching staff prepare for other teams if you make the final. Imagine most of the preparaton is for the first match?
Coach Whitehead: Our primary focus is on preparing our team for Wisconsin. Having said that, we will prepare for Boston College and North Dakota in the event we are fortunate to advance. In this particular case, having seen BC several times, most of our energy for potential Finals opponents can be spent on North Dakota.

Fred , Bangor: Tim, Is this the year your team breaks through and wins its third National Championship? :)
Coach Whitehead: We'll have to wait and see - that's why we play the games. This will be a very tough challenge for us and we are very excited to go after this opportunity.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Whitehead this morning.
Coach Whitehead: Thanks for having me on. I really appreciate it and had a great time.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour - Noon Eastern - when we are joined by North Dakota coach Dave Hakstol. See you there.

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