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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Yale Head Coach Keith Allain

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 24 at 3:00 ET, Yale University head coach Keith Allain pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.

Keith Allain

Keith Allain '80, a former Bulldog goalie who coached in the NHL and in the Olympics, was named the 11th head coach of the 111-year-old Yale men's ice hockey program on April 15, 2006.

Allain, the new Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach of Yale Men's Hockey, is the second Yale graduate to take the position and the first since Holcomb York '17 led the Bulldogs from 1930 to 1938 (Lawrence M. Noble '27 coached the Elis from 1928 to 1930).

Allain, who was the starting goalie on four Bulldog squads and recorded the second-most (31) wins for a Yale netminder, ranks third at the school with 2,337 career saves. He owns four of the top 10 Yale single-game save totals, including 55 stops in a 7-3 loss at Minnesota on Dec. 28, 1978.

Allain, who has been the goalie coach for the St. Louis Blues since 1998, served as assistant coach for the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team in Italy last February. He also assisted with the 2005 and 2006 U.S. National Team at the world championships.

Under Allain's guidance, St. Louis netminders gave up the fewest goals in the NHL in 1999-2000, claiming the William M. Jennings Trophy. That season the Blues captured the President's Trophy for the best regular-season record in the league. His professional coaching experience includes serving as a scout for the NHL's Nashville Predators in 1997-98 and a four-year (1993-97) stint as an assistant coach for the Washington Capitals, where he helped Jim Carey win the 1996 Vezina Trophy.

His extensive international coaching career includes serving as an assistant coach for the United States team that captured the championship of the inaugural World Cup of Hockey in 1996 (with current Yale goalie coach Mike Richter in the net) while registering a 6-1-0 overall mark. He returned to the World Cup of Hockey with the U.S. in 2004 as goaltending coach.

The new Bulldog mentor was also an assistant coach for the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Team (current Harvard head coach Ted Donato skated for him), which placed fourth in Albertville, France with a 5-2-1 record. His involvement with USA Hockey includes guiding the U.S. as head coach at the 2001 and 2002 IIHF World Junior Championships.

Allain replaces his original mentor, Tim Taylor, who was head coach of the Bulldogs for the last 30 years and whose first team included the new Eli mentor (there were two interim head coaches, including Yale graduate Dan Poliziani, while Taylor was working with Olympic teams). Taylor hired Allain to be his assistant from 1982 to 1985 before the prized pupil left the collegiate game to coach and scout in Sweden.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Keith won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 24th, 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 back to CSTV.com's Tuesday @ the Rink. We're joined now by new Yale head coach Keith Allain.
Keith Allain: Hi, I'm looking forward to the start of our season, and excited about being back at Yale.

Drew, New Haven: What do you need to change to be able to get Yale to compete for an ECAC title year in and year out? How about a little scouting report on your incoming freshman? Thanks
Keith Allain: The only way to be successful in any sport is to have top quality players thoughout your lineup, and we need to do a better job of making sure that those are the players we have in our lineup at Yale. We're excited about this freshman class, with a number of quality hockey players. Mark Arcobello and Sean Backman are two Connecticut kids who have great speed and some offensive flair. Chris Cahill is from Andover Academy and he's another really good skater. Greg Beller is a New York Rangers draftee who missed all of last season with injury, but has great potential. On defense, we have Ryan Donald from Calgary and Tommy Dignard, another smart, skilled defenseman from Andover Academy, and then lastly, we have a goaltender named Billy Blase, who played in the B.C. Junior Hockey League last year.

Bill (New Milford, CT): Coach, what do you expect from the team that you inherited? Strong on offense (M. Karwoski et al) or defense (A. Richards et al) or do you see mistakes with a rather young group? Thank you.
Keith Allain: It's hard to determine at this point in the season what I expect in terms of wins and losses. One thing I'm sure of is that we're going to get beter each and every game as the season goes on, and that we'll be tough to beat at the end of the year. I'm looking forward to Alec building on his last year in goal where he had a strong freshman campaign.

NAB, Portsmouth, NH: Could you talk a little bit about replacing a hockey legend like Tim Taylor and facing him on the opposing bench this weekend at New Hampshire?
Keith Allain: I've got a personal relationship with Coach taylor that is filled with great respect for him, for what he did for me as a player and as a young coach. Everything we do here at Yale will be done in order to honor his memory. Having said that, I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that we beat him on Saturday.

Dan (New York): How can a former Capitals' colleague and Harvard alum bring himself to root for Yale? Is this one bridge too far in support of a friend? -- Dan Kaufman
Keith Allain: First of all, there are no bridges too far in support of a friend. Hopefully, we'll play the type of hockey here at Yale that will capture him as a fan.

Rich (New York): Having worked with goalies adjusting to smaller equipment last year in the NHL, how do you think the transition will go this year in college hockey? Do you think it will be any different than the pro transition?
Keith Allain: I think it'll be quite similar. I think you'll see goaltenders slowly move away from the purely blocking style and more toward a hybrid style of play.

Ed (Boston): Four of the Ivies now have alumni as head coaches, along with many other schools like BU, BC, Providence, North Dakota, Miami and Alaska. What is it about college hockey that brings so many men back to their alma maters?
Keith Allain: I think that when you go to a place, certainly like Yale, you grow to love it. You want to come back and contribute to the tradition of your school. It becomes more than just a job. There's passion involved.

Art (Lake Placid): I saw you up here working the Evaluation Camp this summer. Will you be accompanying the U.S. team for the World Junior Championships as well?
Keith Allain: No, I will not be doing that, although I will jump at any opportunity that USA Hockey gives me to contribute to their program.

Adam (New Haven): Yale has continued to draw good crowds even though the team on the ice has disappointed in recent years. Why do you think this is, and do think that that loyalty will help you as you look to improve the program?
Keith Allain: I think the fan support here in New Haven, both in the college and the community is fantastic. Despite losing over the last couple of years, Yale has played an entertaining style of hockey, and the players have worked very hard. Absolutely, that fan support is important to what we're trying to build here.

Rob (Lake Bluff, Illinois): Do you think that your team has the potential to be a top twenty five team this year? How will you be able to get your team to that level of play?
Keith Allain: I don't know where we fit in this year. As I mentioned in a previous question, I do expect us to get beter as the season goes along. To me, there are two ways to get your team into that elite group. One is to recruit elite athletes, and the other is to aid in their development while you have them in your program, and that's what we're going to try to do here at Yale.

Chris (Scarsdale): Having been a goalie coach yourself, is there any challenge involved in having another goalie coach working under you in Mike Richter?
Keith Allain: None whatsoever. Mike and I have had a realtionship that goes back to when he was a teenager at goalie school. There's a lot of respect. I think our goalies here at Yale will benefit from having both of us on staff.

Jack (Madison): Coach, good luck this year. It can be tough to implement a new system without recruits you have brought in personally. Are you still in touch with Tim Taylor? What do you think of him volunteering at UNH? Good luck again!!
Keith Allain: First of all, it's never easy trying to implement a new system, but I think our athletes are pretty bright here at Yale, so this is a good place to do that. I keep in close contact with Coach Taylor - in fact, I had coffee with him yesterday morning. I think it's a home run for UNH to have added him to their staff. He has a lot to contribute to hockey in general and to any organization that is wise enough to bring him on board.

Roger (Dallas): What specific steps do you propose to break Cornell and Harvard's stranglehold on the Ivy championship?
Keith Allain: Harvard and Cornell have done a great job over the years, and certainly, it's our goal to supplant them sometime in the future at the top of the Ivy League. I think success begets success, and that we've got to start beating those teams on the ice, and then we'll beat them in the recruiting game, but it's a process.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Allain this afternoon.
Keith Allain: I really appreciate your interest in college hockey, and specifically, Yale hockey, and our goal here at Yale is to build a program of student-athletes that you'll be proud to cheer for both on and off the ice.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. Keep checking back to CSTV.com for more on next week's chats.

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