Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Michigan Head Coach Red Berenson

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Michigan head coach Red Berenson pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The No. 10 Wolverines open their season against Boston College in the Ice Breaker tournament on Friday, October 12.

Red Berenson

A proven winner at the collegiate and professional levels as both a player and coach, Gordon "Red" Berenson is in his 24th season as head coach of the University of Michigan ice hockey program.

Since taking over a struggling program in 1984, Berenson has kept the Wolverines in the upper echelon of college ice hockey. He directed Michigan to the 1996 and 1998 NCAA National Championships -- the eighth and ninth in school history -- and has put together a 438-150-46 (.727) record over the last 15 seasons that stands as the winningest mark in NCAA Division I ice hockey during that time.

Under Berenson, the Wolverines have reached the NCAA Frozen Four nine times in the last 16 years: back-to-back appearances in 1992 and 1993; four consecutive appearances in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998; and three consecutive showings between 2001-03. They qualified for the NCAA Tournament in each of the last 17 seasons, marking the longest streak ever in college hockey.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Coach Berenson won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 9, 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, and welcome to another great season of Tuesday @ the Rink, brought to you by CSTV.com and USCHO! We have two great chats today so let's get started. We're joined now by Michigan head coach Red Berenson.
Coach Berenson: Welcome to all those college hockey fans around the country. I'm sure you're anticipating an interesting season again, as we all are.

Andy (Baltimore, MD): The Wolverine ice program could make a big statement this weekend with a win over Boston College and a potential match up against Minnesota to win the Ice Breaker Invitational. How will you prepare your team for this big opening weekend challenge and how much emphasis will be put on this weekend's invitational regarding the season as a whole? Good luck this season Coach, GO BLUE!
Coach Berenson: Good question. Our team will be excited to play in a game that counts, as will Boston College, but it will be a huge measuring stick to see where our young team is compared to the veteran squad of Boston College. The tournament is very important to us, even though we understand we're the youngest and the underdog team of the tournament, but we're also cautiously optimistic.

John (A - squared): The start to this season for Michigan has to be potentially one of the biggest one or 2 games to start a season in quite a while. How are the freshman handling it and do you and your coaching staff have anything special you do to help them become acclimated to big time college hockey? Good luck this weekend and bring home a couple of W's. Thanks for your time.
Coach Berenson: The young players have been terrific, and I can tell you the coaching staff has coached more and done more teaching in the past couple of weeks than we have in recent years, but the true test will be when we get up against teams like Boston College. We're excited, we've worked hard, we're prepared and then we'll see what happens.

Steve (Boston): Coach, you play both BC and BU this month...when are we going to see you out here in Boston?
Coach Berenson: That definitely is in on the table. I can't tell you if it's been confirmed or not, but Mel Pearson, who does our scheduling, is having conversations with the coaches in Hockey East.

James (Iowa): With the loss of Hensick how is your hockey team going to put numbers up on the offense side of things especially on the power play?
Coach Berenson: Every year, you have a new scoring leader, and I'm anticipating that Kevin Porter, who is the country's highest returning scorer, will generate a lot of offense for our team, and that our freshmen will score by committee. But we will definitely miss T.J. Hensick as well as Andrew Cogliano.

Joseph (Detroit): Does Andrew Cogliano making Edmonton's opening night roster make his early signing easier to handle?
Coach Berenson: Definitely. If Andrew can stick with Edmonton and proves that he's ready to play every night in the NHL, then I'm not here to hold him back from living that dream. I just hope he finds a way to finish school. He scored his first goal last night in Detroit.

Chip, Portland,Me: Hi Red, First as a MAine fan let em wixh you good luck in defeating the hated BC Eagles. My question for you is many people see this as a down year for Michigan. What do think is your biggest weakness at this point?
Coach Berenson: Welcome to the Maine Black Bear fan. We'll do our best to upset Boston College for you. Our biggest weakness will be our inexperience, because we're dressing at least 10 young freshmen every night, most of whom are 1989 birthdates. It won't be talent, it won't be enthusiasm, but inexperience could be the issue.

jeff boldt, St. Paul, mn.: Mr. Berenson: Congrats on your fine coaching career at Michigan and I have always enjoyed watching your teams play. While the growth and exposure of college hockey has been great, what do you feel is the solution for players that are leaving early for the pro ranks? This not only hurts many college programs, but many players too. thanks for your time.
Coach Berenson: Thanks for the insightful question. I think the NHL has to revisit their philosophy on signing players early. Some people think it's driven by the new collective bargaining agreement that allows a player to become a free agent if he's not signed by August 15 after his graduation date, and I think as time wears on, we might see a slowing of this process, considering that more than half of the players that sign early end up playing in the minors and would be better served finishing their college careers and getting their degrees.

Sam (Southfield, MI): Do you think this is the year that Billy Sauer becomes a top college goalie?
Coach Berenson: I really hope so, because Billy Sauer in January and February was as good as any goalie in the country. We need him to play that way the entire season. Remember, he's only 19 and he's a junior here at Michigan. He's got a lot of experience, and he should be ready to put it together for an entire season this year.

Dean (Romulus, Mich.): Coach, how tough is it to see the state of Michigan lose one of its D-I programs in Wayne State?
Coach Berenson: It's disappointing, but the Wayne State program never seemed to get on its feet from its inception. The lack of having its own hockey facility was an issue, and therefore having a fan base and an identity didn't seem to happen. It's disappointing, but that's where it is. Michigan still is a thriving Division I hockey state. Wayne State was an emerging hockey program that never emerged.

Dave (Livonia): Do you think the CCHA is in a stronger position this year because of MSU winning the national championship?
Coach Berenson: I think the CCHA added some credibility since no team in the CCHA had won the tournament since 1998 until last year, and our NCAA record has been lacking. It definitely was good for bragging rights in the CCHA. Even though people in the league feel the league is stronger than ever, we hadn't proven it at the NCAA level in recent years until last year.

Ed (Ann Arbor): How has Chris Summers stepped up to the added responsibility with Johnson and Hunwick gone?
Coach Berenson: Chris Summers looks terrific on defense. Remember, he finished the year as a forward, but is back on defense and looks great, as does Mark Mitera, who's our only junior on defense. Although we have four freshmen on defense, our leadership on defense with Summers and Mitera should be solid.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Berenson this afternoon.
Coach Berenson: Thanks to the people who sent in questions.
CSTV.com Moderator: Be sure to join us again at the top of the hour, as we chat with the CSTV announce team of Matt McConnell and Dave Starman.