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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With USCHO's Todd D. Milewski

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET, USCHO WCHA Correspondent Todd D. Milewski stops by "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Todd will be taking all of your questions, as well as previewing the Denver-North Dakota National Championship rematch coming up Friday, October 28 on CSTV.

Todd D. Milewski

Todd D. Milewski is in his eighth season as the WCHA Correspondent for USCHO.com, where he follows the goings-on of the league that has produced the last four NCAA champions. His weekly columns give insight into the inner workings of the league and its teams.

Todd is also the Wisconsin hockey beat writer for The Capital Times in Madison, Wis. He previously covered the St. Norbert hockey team and Division III hockey for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Todd won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 25th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Hello and welcome to another edition of "Tuesday @ the Rink". We've got a great doubleheader for everyone today. Kicking things off is USCHO's WCHA Correspondent Todd D. Milewski.
Todd D. Milewski: It's great to be here to look ahead to another big weekend in the WCHA.

Joe from La Crosse: Todd - great work covering the WCHA. As a die-hard Badger fan, I have to say that I am a little disappointed with the Badgers nonconference openers vs. St. Lawrence. I am impressed that some schools in the WCHA go and schedule tough early games - sometimes on the road. Why don't the Badgers do more of this to get a taste of a NCAA tourney-type game, or is this a function of schedules being set "way in advance"? Thanks, and keep up the great work.
Todd D. Milewski: Thanks for the kind words, Joe. One of the big issues in how teams schedule non-conference games is getting them at home and not having to make return trips. A lot of the bigger schools will look toward that to get more home games (and bring in more revenue). That's why you won't see big school against big school a lot early in the season, although that would be nice, wouldn't it?

Joe (Colorado Springs): What will an undrafted player like Marty Sertich do next year? I am a junior at CC and have had the privilege of watching him the past 3 years. I know Marty is not the biggest guy out there, but he sure seems to make up for it in other ways. Is somebody going to give guys like Marty and Gabe Gauthier a chance next year?
Todd D. Milewski: I'd be surprised if Marty Sertich wasn't signed a few days after CC's season ends. He'll get a look in an NHL camp next year. The NHL always looks for size, but they won't ignore talent like that. Same goes for Gauthier.

Jerry (Colorado Springs): Todd, Do you really think that Colorado College deserves it #3 ranking in the poll? They seemed to struggle a bit against Notre Dame and Air Force this weekend.
Todd D. Milewski: That's the nature of the polls. Most of the voters only see the results, which showed CC getting the job done and getting wins. It's always tough to rank teams this early in the season, but I put CC high because, all in all, I think they're doing pretty well.

D. Smith - SW Michigan: Will Michigan Tech ever turn the corner this year? Is their major troubles just purely discipline on the ice (i.e. taking stupid penalties and not being able to score on the PP) or something bigger that I am missing? I know they are young, but many of the new kids seem to be outplaying and out-hustling quite a few of their older teammates with exceptions.
Todd D. Milewski: It seems like it's the same question with Michigan Tech every year. And every year, someone like me says they're close. I'm not so sure anymore. There are good players there, but they need good things to happen soon to get some confidence in the program. Of course, that's just an outsider's perspective. I suspect you'd get different answers from inside the Huskies' locker room.

Colorado Springs: Todd - Thanks for the many years of excellent WCHA coverage. You may well have a better perspective than the rest of us so please explain how Cornell can be ranked second in the polls when they have not skated yet? Isn't it similiar to the New Yorker magazine view of the country??
Todd D. Milewski: First things first: The voters on the poll are balanced across the country, so there's no funny stuff happening there. People see Cornell as a solid contender this year, with good reason. I would have been more surprised if it had been ranked first without having played a game.

Mankato: Do you think Minnesota State will be stronger this year then in the past?
Todd D. Milewski: If I had to forecast, I would say they'll be better than last year. But they have a long way to go to get there, especially on defense and in goal. Those are two key areas where they simply must improve -- a lot. Will they get back to the team they had three or four years ago that went to the NCAAs? That's a stretch.

Jesus (Grand Forks): Todd, what do you think about this weekend series between ND and Denver. Do you think it will get nasty because of the Bina incident from last year? I think Paukovich is lucky that Matt Greene is not back.
Todd D. Milewski: I hope it doesn't come to that because these are two good teams that should be playing for bigger things than revenge or anything like that. Then again, it's hard to forget so I wouldn't rule out some nastiness.

Carleton Britt, Austin, TX: How can small Div I public institutions hope to compete with the large schools which offer facilities like The Ralph? It seems like the chasm between the haves and have nots has grown in the last 20 years. Do you ever see the NCAA establishing a Div II?
Todd D. Milewski: I seriously doubt the NCAA would go back to a seperate Division II, or even that any of the schools would be interested at playing at that level. It's getting tougher to recruit at small schools because of the competition, so staying up with the rest of the league is indeed more difficult. That's one perception that's true, but I'm not sure what the solution is.

Sean (Fayetteville, AR): Robbie Earle has been long heralded for his exceptional offensive skills, yet he has been overlooked for teams headed for international competitions. Do other coaches see him as too much of a free spirit for a disciplined style of play and are the Badgers suffering from that type of game so far this season or is it just a case of finding the right line combinations to get the most from all the elements?
Todd D. Milewski: I've been surprised that he hasn't been chosen to play internationally, especially with his NTDP background. I suspect he's been the last one left off, and it's probably because of his reputation (slightly undeserved, in my opinion) of being offense-only. As far as the Badgers, I'd give the offense a little time to work itself out.

David (Minnetonka, MN): With the start that Bemidji State has gotten off to, some people are asking if the Beavers could move to the WCHA, where their women's team already plays. Do you see that as a realistic possibility? What about if the CHA should fold (which seems to be a constant subject of speculation these days)?
Todd D. Milewski: I know that the WCHA is quite happy at 10 teams right now, so I wouldn't expect anything. Although wouldn't it be nice if they were included in that DQ Cup between the Minnesota schools? They'd be doing OK in that.

Greg (Edina, MN): What is going on with Duluth? Not to insult the level of their competition - Bemidji and Vermont are both good teams - but an 0-4 start is just plain unacceptable? What's going on at the DECC?
Todd D. Milewski: You've got to remember how young that team is. That was the biggest question about the team -- how the young players would develop. They'll take some time, but UMD could be good in the second half if the freshmen take steps. The Dogs need to find a go-to goaltender, too.

Kenny (Middleton, WI): Todd, it seems like the eastern and central teams have scored some big victories over the WCHA teams. Obviously, it's very early to start thinking about Pairwise Rankings, but is the WCHA in trouble already as far as seedings when March comes around?
Todd D. Milewski: It's tough to predict that right now because we won't see the Pairwise for a long time. I suspect the losses will be worse for the WCHA's collective ego than for the rankings by the time they matter.

Jill (Oshkosh, WI): Hi Todd. What do you think about the Badgers' defense? Seems to me there have been more defensive breakdowns this year than I would've expected. Thanks!
Todd D. Milewski: Jill, could you write my story for me this week? Seriously, though, the coaches have said there's no lack of confidence on the defense, so the mistakes they've made don't seem to be connected to each other. I think it's still a young group that looked really good last year and has a lot of pressure to do better this year. But Brian Elliott's solid play in goal has helped.

Steve (Fargo, N.D.): Following up on the question about Denver and the Sioux this weekend, it seems like the NCAA title game went well enough as far as avoiding "nastiness." Do you think playing at the Ralph will make that much of a difference?
Todd D. Milewski: I'd like to hear the reception Paukovich gets if he gets announced in the arena for a goal or penalty. I'd speculate that fans might carry that grudge longer than players. I may be wrong, though. We'll see.

Tim (nyc): What's with the attitude people from the west seem to have about Cornell? Does no one take them seriously because they are an eastern team, or because they are in ivy league team? I'd like to remind them that an ivy team won the national championship in '89, and this year's cornell team, like several in the past few years, can hang with anyone in the west.
Todd D. Milewski: You'll get no argument from me. Midwestern folks like to look at their region first and then see who else is out there. That's probably what you're seeing.

Mark (Talkeetna, AK): Fairbanks took three points from Minnesota. Anchorage split with Fairbanks. Think we can read anything into that, given that the Seawolves gave the Gophers problems last year, too?
Todd D. Milewski: I don't think I'd read anything into it. When it comes down to it in this league, Anchorage could probably beat Minnesota under the right circumstances even if it hadn't beaten Fairbanks.

George (St. Paul, MN): It doesn't seem like RIT is off to too bad a start in their first D-I season with wins over Air Force and Canisius. Haivng covered D-III hockey in Green Bay, do you think that there are any D-III teams in the west that could make a similar jump to D-I (possibly as the coveted sixth team for the CHA)?
Todd D. Milewski: I've been thinking about that. It's hard to see anyone making the jump given the disadvantages (no scholarships being one of them). St. Norbert studied it a while back and decided they'd be at a competitive disadvantage. It would take a school dedicated enough to its hockey program to make it happen.

Glen (Lino Lakes, MN): Covering Wisconsin and having written in Green Bay, how excited are you about the Frozen Tundra game in February?
Todd D. Milewski: I'm pretty sure I'm going to need a new winter coat. Just heard the up-to-date ticket sales this morning -- around 25,000 sold and 17,000 remaining. It should be a great event and I'm really looking forward to it from a standpoint of it being a great event for college hockey. It'll be nice to see some old friends, too.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Todd this afternoon.
Todd D. Milewski: Thanks for all the questions, everybody, and have fun watching games this weekend!
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us for the second half of today's doubleheader, when we are joined at the top of the hour by Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. See you at 2:00 Eastern.

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