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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 3 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Denver Head Coach George Gwozdecky enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Pioneers are ranked ninth in the USCHO/CSTV preseason rankings.

George Gwozdecky

Head coach George Gwozdecky begins his 13th season behind the bench for the seven-time NCAA National Champion Denver Pioneers. Since Gwozdecky's arrival on the DU campus in 1994, the Pioneers have solidified themselves as a perennial top-10 program. The Pioneers have captured two NCAA National Championships, three WCHA regular-season titles and two WCHA playoff titles during Gwozdecky's 12-year tenure.

The only coach in NCAA history to win a hockey national title as a player, assistant coach and head coach, Gwozdecky has compiled a 276-176-36 (.602) record with the Pioneers. Gwozdecky-coached teams have reached the NCAA Tournament (including the 1992-93 Miami team) in seven of the last 14 years, and he currently boasts a career 426-300-57 (.580) record in 20 seasons. Gwozdecky's coaching expertise led the Pioneers back to national prominence with back-to-back NCAA National Championships in 2004 and 2005.

Gwozdecky played wing for the University of Wisconsin's 1977 NCAA championship team, coached UW-River Falls to an NAIA title in 1983, and served as an assistant coach for Michigan State's 1986 team that won the NCAA crown.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: George won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 3rd, 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: Hello, everyone, this is Elliot Olshansky, your CSTV.com Rink Rat, and I'm happy to welcome you to Tuesday at the Rink! We're joined now by Denver head coach George Gwozdecky.
Coach Gwozdecky: Good afternoon, everybody. We're excited about the upcoming college hockey season.

dg (Houston): Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. It seemed like DU really struggled last season in even strength situations and with offensive depth. Do you agree and if so, who do you see stepping up for the Pioneers this season. Good luck this season.
Coach Gwozdecky: Last year's team had a number of reasons why we were inconsistent, and as a result, our season ended very abruptly. First and foremost, I believe, was the lingering hangover of two back-to-back national titles. In addition to those was our serious lack of depth, especially in our senior class, and it showed when we played, as in every game, we were relying on seven or eight players who played an awful lot. We feel that we've answered a few of those issues with our recruiting class that we've brought in this year. However, it's pretty tough to replace a Hobey Baker winner and two All-Americans, three guys who have been a pretty big factor in our recent success. But, we're excited about the year, and we're excited about the further development of players who may have played a supplemental role last year.

Gene (NYC): Coach, What are your expectations from this heralded freshmen class? In my mind it has to be one of the best ever to enter DU. GO DU!!!
Coach Gwozdecky: Assistant coach Steve Miller and ex-assistant Seth Appert have put together some great recruiting classes over the last few years, and this is no exception. Similiar to past years, this class will get a chance to play, and play a lot. Understanding, of course, they will go through their transition period, and go through the ups and downs that all freshmen do, but we feel this will benefit them, and as a result, we feel we'll be able to rely on them in the second half of the season. Until then, we will rely largely on a very good returning group of upperclassmen.

Sam B., Maplewood, MN: 1). Based on the number of players who have left the college ranks early over the past few years, do you feel that you are seeing the beginning of a new era in college hockey/WCHA where retaining a player for more than 2 years will be uncommon? b). How do other WCHA & Div.1 coaches feel about this?
Coach Gwozdecky: At this point, all of us are unsure whether this is going to be a reoccurring trend, or just a one-time thing. There's no question that it is something of a concern amongst all of the WCHA coaches, that our talented underclassmen have left school, for the most part, to be lured to play in the American Hockey League. We'll just have to reserve our judgment until we can put a few more years back-to-back to determine whether this trend continues, but I don't think any of us, particularly in the WCHA are comfortable with it, but it's the hockey world we live in, and we just have to continue to make any adjustments we need to based on what happens.

Dwayne (Lisbon): With an unusual amount of talented undergraduates leaving following last season, does it make the WCHA race more wide open or is there a favorite?
Coach Gwozdecky: Most of us feel that even though there have been a great deal of losses, there is a favorite. I think most of us feel that Minnesota continues to have tremendous talent coming into their program, and right now, they are the odds-on favorite. However, following closely behind are some very good teams, including Wisconsin, North Dakota, and I believe that one of the teams that will continue to receive more and more respect as the season goes along is Minnesota Duluth. They have a very strong returning group, and they are going to gain more and more respect nationally as the season goes on.

Dave (Michigan LP): Coach, many are saying that St. Cloud State and UMD may be the surprise teams in the WCHA this season, is there any other team or teams that might be a spoiler/surprise in the WCHA in your opinion? Thanks.
Coach Gwozdecky: I agree that St. Cloud and Duluth will gain great support across the country as the season goes on. In addition, I believe that there will be teams throughout the WCHA season that will, at times, surprise and move up as a result of it. I believe Michigan Tech and Mankato and Anchorage are teams that I think are definitely hungry to move up, and will definitely be a factor in what happens in this league race this year.

Peter W (Aurora CO): How did you feel about the new rules that were experimented with in the exhibition game against Calgary? Many fans were VERY annoyed with the PK ising rule.
Coach Gwozdecky: I don't think any of us really liked that rule. I believe the only experiment in that game that we approved of was the refereeing system, which was a two-referee, two-linesman system, similar to what the National Hockey League has been using over the last few years.

Donn (Fargo, ND): Do you think the officials in college hockey should call the game more like the NHL? Since so many college players are going to the NHL now? (PS. The video replay in the WCHA is a nice advancement in the college game.)
Coach Gwozdecky: I think the officials, over the course of the last few years, have called the game very tight, similar to what the National Hockey League went to last year for the first time. I believe, in many ways, college hockey and college hockey's rules had a major effect on the National Hockey League and the new NHL in improving their game over the course of last season.

Sam B., Maplewood, MN: Do you believe that the current hand pass rule in the defensive zone should be eliminated? b). What is the general consensus regarding this rule among your coaching colleagues in the WCHA?
Coach Gwozdecky: I think most of us feel it's a good rule.

sm (NYC): How about the upcoming Icebreaker? Kind of a homecoming?
Coach Gwozdecky: Yeah. Since we arrived in Denver 13 years ago, I've only been back to Oxford one time for an alumni weekend about 11 years ago. I'm looking forward, as my family is, to returning back to Oxford and seeing many friends and acquaintances, and also looking forward to seeing the new ice arena that is opening up this coming weekend. In addition, our team is eagerly awaiting an opportunity to play in the Ice Breaker Tournament, and compete against a terrific RedHawk hockey team on Friday night. This will be a great challenge for us.

Randy (Oxford, OH): This weekend you will be receiving a special award from Miami University. Tell us what it means to you to become a member of the celebrated Cradle of Coaches Association?
Coach Gwozdecky: When I heard of this honor, it was a surprise, and yet, a great honor. I was very fortunate to have the support of many good people during my five years at Miami, including people like Steve Cady, as well as some outstanding players with great character like their present head coach, Enrico Blasi, their assistant coach Chris Bergeron, recently-retired Philadelphia Flyer Brian Savage, Bobby Marshall, Joe Cook, Richard Shulmistra, and many other great players that believed in what we were trying to do at Miami, and since then have become proud RedHawk alumni.

Peter W (Aurora CO): How much of an effect does the return of Matt Laatsch as an assistant have on the team? And pardon my typo in my previous question.
Coach Gwozdecky: I think Matt's return is a terrific addition to our staff and to our program. He worked extremely hard to develop into a regular in our program and after accomplishing that, evolved into one of the best captains we have ever had here at Denver. I believe his assistance will provide our staff and our current group of leaders with the knowledge and direction that our team this year needs to have.

sm (NYC): Coach G...How do you see the Pioneers matching up in the always tough WCHA?
Coach Gwozdecky: Our team this year will have a completely different face. Offensively, we will rely on Ryan Dingle, who led our team in scoring last year. In addition, we will expect strong years from J.D. Corbin, Geoff Paukovich, Patrick Mullen, and a number of our freshman forwards. We have a good group and experience on our blueline, led by Adrian Veideman, Chris Butler, and Andrew Thomas. The most important position, and perhaps the two most important players on our team, will be Glenn Fisher and Peter Mannino, and I am confident that not only are they the best 1-2 combination in the country, but that their play will give us a chance in every game we play.
CSTV.com Moderator: That's all the time we have with Coach Gwozdecky this afternoon. I'd like to thank Coach Gwozdecky for taking the time to talk with us today.
Coach Gwozdecky: Thanks for the questions. We're looking forward to another exciting and rewarding hockey season.

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