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Chat Live With Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky

Welcome to the CollegeSports.com moderated chat room!

On Monday, April 4th at 1:00 p.m. EST, Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky visits the Tuesday @ The Rink" chat room. The defending NCAA champions are back in the Frozen Four and play rival Colorado College on Thursday.

After a decade at the helm of the University of Denver hockey program, head coach George Gwozdecky's coaching expertise led the 2004 University of Denver men's hockey team to its first NCAA national championship since 1969.

For his accomplishments, Gwozdecky finished runnner-up for the 2004 Spencer Penrose Award for the National Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

Since Gwozdecky's arrival on the University of Denver campus in 1994, the Pioneers have solidified themselves as a perennial top-10 program.

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Gwozdecky Bio

The Pioneers have made five trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 years. He has coached nine seasons with 20 or more wins and five seasons with 25 or more wins. In his 10 seasons at Denver, Gwozdecky has brought the excitement back to one of college hockey's proudest programs.

As the only coach in NCAA history to win a hockey national title as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Gwozdecky has compiled a 223-152-31 (.586) record with the Pioneers.

While Coach Gwozdecky won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, April 4, his time will be tight, so feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!

CollegeSports.com Moderator: Welcome back to our special Monday edition of Tuesday @ The Rink. Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky will be joining us in just a few minutes.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Coach Gwozdecky has joined us and we are ready to begin.
Coach Gwozdecky: Hi, everyone. It is great to be here.

Caitlin (Plover, WI): I know that you've stuck with the whole rotating goaltender thing all season, and it would be Fisher's turn on Thursday, against CC... But I was wondering if you were going to change that and put Mannino in, since he has two shutouts against CC.

Matthew (Denver, CO): Hi George: Could you explain the process you went through to select Glenn Fisher as the starting goalie for DU's semi-final game against CC, especially given Peter Mannino's success against CC this year?
Coach Gwozdecky: Our team has shown this year that we have, as a group of skaters, been a little more challenged to come out and play a stronger game the first night of a series than the second game of a series. Having known that information early in the season, we opted to go with our more experienced goaltender on the first night with the feeling that it would be the tougher of the games. That is how we came up with our rotation. Both goaltenders became very comfortable and supportive of the rotation philosophy. Right now, the philosphy has been very successful for us. We have not made a final decision who will play in the game against CC. This time of year you can over-analyze your decisions sometimes. Why fix something that isn't broken.

dggoddard (Houston, TX): The team is so balanced statisticly. Is it difficult to know which line to throw out there in tight situations? Also how is the most improved player on the team this season?
Coach Gwozdecky: When analyzing our team and the game we are playing in, many times we will try to set up a matchup against our opponent that will give us an advantage. John Foster would have to be one of those guys who would have to be considered for that title, given his offensive contributions. Kevin Ulanski and Luke Fulghum also stand out.

Stokke (Colorado Springs): What's your take on the current state of the CC-DU rivalry? It used to be a lot more "heated" and "physical"...while today, it seems like the remarkable speed and skill of each team has dictated a more "respectful" or "careful" style of play.
Coach Gwozdecky: If you have watched the last few games DU and CC have played, it has been as "heated" a rivalry as I've ever been involved with. The last three games have been extremely physical, very emotional and at times, on the edge of dirty. In my mind, that is typical of any great rivalry. Perhaps, in days gone by, the rivalry was discussed more by the teams in the media, but that has not happened this year. There is more respect for the rivary off the ice and the teams have let it play out on the ice.

Jeff (Grand Junction): Which team on Thursday is the designated home team? How will this affect your game plan?
Coach Gwozdecky: As the number one seed, we are the home team and will have last change. It will give us a little bit of an opportunity to work the matchups that we would like. That is the advantage of being the higher seed.

JJ (St. Paul): Mr. Gwozdecky, you are known to be a well dressed coach, do you have any superstitions that play into your choice of suits or ties for big games such as the upcoming game against CC? It appears from last week's chat that Coach Lucia may have a lucky gopher tie hanging around and I was wondering if you have something similar?
Coach Gwozdecky: Ask my wife, she is my wardrobe consultant.

Matthew (Denver): How do you feel about the decision to place DU-CC as the early game during the frozen four?
Coach Gwozdecky: When we first learned about it, it was disappointing. But that quickly went by the wayside and the excitement of being back in the Frozen Four took over. If we had to play at Midnight, we would do so to be part of the Frozen Four.
Coach Gwozdecky: His elbow is in good shape. He has been skating the last few days. He will be ready to play against CC.

Matthew (Denver, CO): Hi George: What is the extent of Matt Laatsch's elbow injury? Will he be 100% for the game against CC?

Dan (Wilmington,DE): How did you get your start in coaching and what would you suggest someone to someone that didn't play college hockey do to make it to coaching college hockey?
Coach Gwozdecky: Due to the limitations that the NCAA puts on the number of coaches allowed per staff, it is very difficult for someone to get his foot in the door. My first opportunity was as a student assistant at Wisconsin with Bob Johnson while I finished my degree. I went on to my first actual coaching position at Wisconsin-River Falls, where I was a graduate assistant coach. My advice for anyone interested in the D-I level is to volunteer their time at the highest level they possibly can to gain experience. That level may be youth hockey. My other piece of advice would be to develop a network, where you can learn from other coaches, work summer hockey camps with these coaches and attend clinics and presentations throughout the year. Lastly, it is very beneficial for every coach to become a member of the American Hockey Coaches Association and attend the annual convention.

Jim (Boulder): I was wondering what the status is of the Gold Pan. Has the old one been found? Will a new one be made? In addition to the obvious source of pride that comes with hanging onto the Pan, was it relieving not to have to think about exactly what you would be handing over to CC if you'd lost?
Coach Gwozdecky: The Gold Pan has not been found. Both Scott Owens and I were in communication throughout the season and decided that a new trophy would be created once our seasons were complete. Scott and I both understood that there would not be an actual Gold pan that would be awarded to the winner of the series this year.

Dave (New York City): Do you feel that not having an NHL season this year has impacted the level of support for college hockey this year?
Coach Gwozdecky: In the few cities where college hockey and the NHL both exist, I believe college hockey has benefitted fromthe lockout. I can use us as an example. All of our games this past season were sold out.

Al (Boston): Do you think that the WCHA's superiority to the other conferences - based on the all-WCHA Frozen Four - has been overhyped, given how close most of the tournament games have been to this point?
Coach Gwozdecky: To a certian extent, it has been. In all of the major conference, there are some great teams. Yet, when you enter a single elimination format, like the NCAA Tournament, if you don't play your best game, your chances of advancing are slim. I would also add that throughout this season, the WCHA has consistently had the majority of its teams in the Top 10 of the national polls.

George (Mpls): CC and DU have played fairly evenly to date... how does your teams experience winnnig at last year's frozen 4 bode in terms of an 'advantage' over the Tigers?
Coach Gwozdecky: Having experiences last season's Frozen Four, one of the things that is very evident is that, in order to play your best, you must avoid playing the game before the puck actually drops. What I mean by that is that each student-athlete and each team must be able to enjoy the experience and have fun as they participate in the greatest Hockey Championship in the country.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: That is all the time Coach Gwozdecky has today.
Coach Gwozdecky: Thank you for all the great questions and for your support of Denver hockey.
CollegeSports.com Moderator: Don't forget to come back tomorrow, on our usual day, for a chat with BU Head Coach Jack Parker at 1:00PM Eastern. And, of course, join us Saturday night at 7:00 Eastern for our Championship Chat during the NCAA Championship Game, when we are joined by UMass-Lowell Head Coach Blaise MacDonald and CSTV's Dave Starman. See you tomorrow.

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