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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 18 at 1:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe stops by the "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Billy will be taking all of your questions on the start of 2005-06 season.

Billy Jaffe

Billy Jaffe is a veteran of CCHA games, having played college hockey for Michigan, served as an on-ice official for the League, and having broadcast numerous CCHA games, including the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan and Michigan State. Billy has been a member of the Atlanta Thrashers broadcast team since the 2000-01 season.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: BIlly won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 18th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to another eidition of "Thuesday @ the Rink". We have two greats guests again today. Kicking things off is CSTV hockey analyst Billy Jaffe.
Billy Jaffe: It's great to be back talking college hockey! I am back in hockey heaven now that the NHL is running again and the college season is going.

doug (atlanta): i am a big fan of David Caruso's and I know that being in Atlanta you have gotten to know him quite well. do you think he has what it takes to lead OSU to the Frozen Four this season?
Billy Jaffe: Yes I do, Doug. I have gotten to know and skate with David numerous times and to see his development has been amazing. He has the perfect mindset to take his team far and knows that this year the expectations are there in Columbus. He has that ability to put pressure off to the side and not let many things get to him. I really like OSU this year and have them as a team to go very far myself.

Robert, Minneapolis: The balance across Division 1 hockey teams appears to be more apparent than ever before. In your opinion, is this a result of better coaching, a deeper pool of available players, or the fact that many of the historically stronger teams are experimenting with new line ups and personnel.
Billy Jaffe: I agree with you 100%, Robert. Parity is really evident this year in college (and NHL) hockey. I think the biggest reason is that there are so many available players now that are being recruited that want to play NOW and not wait for a chance at a so-called "name" school. They are willing to go to schools that in the past probably wouldn't be able to get them because the bright lights of a bigger school would sway opinion. A great example of this is David Backes at Minnesota State. He's an awesome player and is shining in Mankato.

John (Holt, Mi): I know you were impressed by Michigan's win over BC last weekend. Do you think our freshman can overcome the hype of being ranked #1 in the country and playing in a rivalry game this Saturday against MSU, enough to just keep playing with the confidence the've shown and take it to the Spartys? Thanks for taking my question Billy and GOBLUE!
Billy Jaffe: To borrow a phrase from my old coach Red Berenson (and I guarantee you he is using it this week!)..."Boys, you can't let the ceiling get too high or too low." Meaning, as a player you've got to keep an even keel attitude and understand that what's done is done and last week is over. The freshman at UM are great but it will be up to the upperclassmen there to make sure they are ready for MSU.

Craig - Duluth: With the NHL eliminating the obstruction call stating that it's confusing, why is it still a point of emphasis in the NCAA if it has been judged to be "confusing"?
Billy Jaffe: Good question, Craig. Probably need to ask the rules committee that one, but my guess is that they just wanted to make sure the coaches and players continue to understand that anything "obstructing" will be called a penalty. I do agree that things are much less confusing (and redundant) in the NHL now and I would think college will go that way soon.

Jon (Mankato): What are your expectations for Minnesota's freshmen this season
Billy Jaffe: I get to watch them live on Nov. 25 when Minnesota visits Michigan on CSTV and I can't wait for that game. Talk about getting to see the future of hockey! I expect the Minnesota freshmen to assimilate very quickly and well to the college game. Obviously Kessel is the most skilled guy, but to have mates like Stoa and Frazee there will also help tremendously. What I really like, though, is the balance at Minnesota and that the frosh won't have to do it all by themselves. Pretty darn nice to have Potulny and Irmen there to teach the young guys the way of the world in the WCHA.

Hugh (Detroit): Do you think that the new CBA rules will see more collegians jumping to the NHL like Montoya, Tambellini, Howard etc?
Billy Jaffe: In the short term, yes. For the future, I think it will slow down and guys will stay in school longer. Remember, the guys that came out this summer had to choose pretty quickly and we're talking about a lot of money. When the dust of the new CBA settles and revenues are understood more, I see more guys staying in school at least three years. What you might see also in the short term now is more guys going to juniors immediately than would have gone to college.

Joshua, Seattle: UAF made headlines in the first week - do you think an Alaska team can truly be competitive nationally with the travel required?
Billy Jaffe: It's definitely a disadvantage but it's also something those teams are used to and seem to handle pretty well. I think they can also use it to their advantage. They spend more time as a team together on the road and perhaps are able to bond and focus easier because of that. I like both programs and I also think it is important for them to do well as more and more youth are playing hockey at high levels in Alaska.
CSTV.com Moderator: Don't forget to join us at 2:00 Eastern today when we are joined by UAF Head Coach Tavis MacMillan. The Nanooks took three of four points in Minnesota this past weekend from the then-No. 1 Gophers.

Cory (Detroit): It seemed like all through the preseason, we were hearing that this is going to be a down year for Michigan, the team was too young, etc. Now they're No. 1 in the rankings. Where does the truth lie?
Billy Jaffe: Don't ever put it past the Wolverines to do the unexpected. In fact, the Yost faithful have often been disappointed in teams with huge expectations only to be thrilled beyond belief in years when youth and inexperience are what's there. It really is going to rely on how well the young defense (including goalie Billy Sauer) handle the pressures of CCHA play. This team will score for sure, but will have to work extra hard at keeping the puck out of the net. And, who knows...maybe they use the youth thing as a rallying cry and march all the way to the Frozen 4.

Pat (Colorado Springs): With the way it seemed NHL teams rushed to sign their top college prospects after the new CBA, are you surprised that Brett Sterling is still here in the Springs instead of in the Thrashers' system?
Billy Jaffe: No, not at all. The Thrashers are run by GM Don Waddell and he has a real good feel when it's the right time to take players out of school. Don was an All-American d-man at Northern Michigan, so he is also a big fan of college hockey and understands the importance of education both on and off the ice. Sterling is the type of player who will benefit from another year at CC and will be ready for some level of pro hockey next year.

Tim (Oxford, OH): So far this year, between Michigan over BC, Michigan State over North Dakota, and UAF over Minnesota, it seems like the CCHA is bouncing back after a down year last year. How many CCHA teams do you think can make the tournament this year?
Billy Jaffe: Tim, I would like to say four, but my gut tells me three will make it in this year. It's still very early in the season and lots can happen, but I see OSU and Michigan as being there and most likely Northern as the 3rd school.

David, New York City: Do you think Cornell has what it takes to dominate the ECACHL and make another run like 2002, maybe even winning the Frozen Four?
Billy Jaffe: Yes and Yes. Cornell has the "cornerstones" covered as I like to say. Goaltending, defense and leadership are all rock solid for the Big Red this season. Moulson is an outstanding forward and if Scott contributes like he did last year, they will score lots of goals. It's all about the system at Cornell and I believe that the "system" will take them very far this year.

Harvey (Columbus): What player are you most excited to see this year?

Justin (Marquette): Hey Billy - how about some names to watch for the Hobey?
Billy Jaffe: Most excited...Kessel, Brett Hemmingway, Jack Johnson, A Cogliano, TJ Oshie, and Potulny are all players I get to see in my first few games and (while I know all are frosh except for Hemmingway and Potulny) they have the potential to to major damage on the ice. Hobey...this is pretty tough right now, but I think McKee will be there again, along with Sterling and Hensick. But check with me again in a few weeks and I'm sure I'll have changed my mind. Just like an analyst!
CSTV.com Moderator: Billy has to run, so that is going to be all the time we have with him.
Billy Jaffe: I truly appreciate all of you taking the time to write in and ask questions. I can't wait to get up to Durham, NH for this Friday's game between NoDak and UNH and hope to talk with you again soon. Thanks!
CSTV.com Moderator: Don't forget to join us at the top of the hour when we are joined by Alaska Fairbanks coach Tavis MacMillan. See you there.

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