Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Denver Defenseman Chris Butler

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Denver defenseman enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The No. 6 Pioneers face No. 10 Minnesota in a Friday-Sunday series November 2-4.

Chris Butler

Now in his junior year at the University of Denver, Chris Butler has established himself as one of the top defensemen in the WCHA.

So far this season, Butler has three points - all assists - in four games for the Pioneers. Denver is 3-1-0 and ranked No. 6 in the nation as of this writing.

As a freshman, Butler played in 35 of 39 games, and scored 22 points on seven goals and 15 assists, earning a spot on the All-WCHA Rookie Team and the Barry Sharp Memorial Award for Denver's Freshman of the Year. Butler led all WCHA freshman defenseman in league scoring and ranked seventh in WCHA overall freshman scoring and eighth in WCHA overall defenseman scoring

In his sophomore season, Butler played in 39 of 40 games and scored 27 points on 10 goals and 17 assists. He led all DU defensemen in points, goals, assists and power-play goals, and tied for second among WCHA defensemen in points (20) and goals (7) in league play. He also earned All-WCHA Academic Team honors, and was a recipient of Keith Magnuson Memorial Award for Denver's Best Defensive Player

A native of St. Louis, Butler is a business major at DU. A fourth-round selection of the Buffalo Sabres (96th overall) in 2005, Butler was a member of the U.S. Junior National Team that finished fourth at the 2006 IIHF World Junior Championships.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Chris won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, October 30th, 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: Good afternoon and welcome to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We have two great chats for this afternoon, so let's get going. We're joined now by University of Denver defenseman Chris Butler.
Chris Butler: Hey, everyone. Thanks for having me today. I look forward to answering any questions that you might have.

dg (Houston): Chris, thanks for taking our questions. Great start to the season against Maine & Notre Dame. Are you surprised at how well the defensemen have played in the first three weeks of the season considering all the new faces back there (Mullen, Ryder, Nutini)? What did you concentrate on in the offseason, knowing that you and Andy would be the only veteran players returning to the blueline?
Chris Butler: Thank you, the start to our season was definitely a good one. With a couple of new freshmen on the back end, I knew that I was going to be put into more of a mentor role. I think being older and explaining some of the things to our youngers guys helps me think about little details of the game, too. As far as the off-season, I just stuck to our strength coaches' work-outs and relaxed with friends and family and tried to stay healthy, knowing I was going to play a big part this year.

Todd (Littleton): Chris, a large freshman class which includes some blueliners, what are the biggest challenges thes young defenders face in transitioning their games to WCHA level hockey?
Chris Butler: I think the speed of the game, and the competitiveness that comes with every game in the WCHA. Our league is so deep that every night is going to be a battle, and helping them prepare for the grind of playing back-to-back nights against very tough opponents is important to their development.

Grant (Elk River, MN): Do you think that Peter Mannino will have trouble adjusting to become a full-time #1 goaltender now that the "fisch" is gone? Other schools are in very similar situations and it may be the key to having success in the WCHA this season.
Chris Butler: Knowing Pete and knowing how competitive he is, he wants to be in between the pipes every night. He really focused a lot this summer on his condtitioning knowing that he was going to be playing a vast majority of the games. So I do not see a problem with him being our go-to guy, and everyone in the locker room has complete confidence in both him and Marc Cheverie.

Gene (New York): Chris, Great start to the season. As one of the leaders on this fast and talented team, it seems like the several freshmen who have become regulars from the get go have fit in seemlessly. I know there wasn't a lot of full team practice time with the full coaching staff before you guys got into game action. How did you and the other upper classmen get them acclimated so quickly? Looking forward to a great weekend series in Minneapolis and I have high hopes that the team will be playing in the Pepsi Center in April. GO DU!!!!
Chris Butler: Early in the season is a fun and exciting time especially when half of your team is freshmen. As the upperclassmen, our job is to make sure that our younger guys are learning the ropes and what a privilege it is to be a Pioneer. As a team, early in the season we do everything together, whether that is eating meals or going to movies. We have to make sure that every guy knows that what he brings to the team is important.

Gus (Gunsdorflitzer, CO): Chris, So far this season the Pioneer power play has been a less than spectacular 3-37 (8.1%). What kinds of things does the team work on in practice to make the PP more effective. Does the coaching staff come up with new patterns or what exactly takes place?
Chris Butler: Every week, we look at how the opposing team is going to forcheck on the penalty kill, and then their in-zone penalty kill. We then do our best to simulate that in both 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 situations. Right now, I think we just need to simplify things a little and throw pucks on net and get some garbage goals to get things rolling again.

jim (buffalo): I heard you had a good time at the rookie camp in Buffalo this summer? How do think the chicken wings were? And how was the camp?
Chris Butler: Buffalo's camp went well this summer. It was a grueling seven days, but very informative and exciting to be taking place in an NHL prospect camp. Each day started with breakfast in the morning and then a presentation on health or fitness. We then worked out for about two hours, had lunch, and then practiced in the evenings for two hours. Unfortunately, I did not have too many wings during camp, but I have heard good things. As of now, though, those are not on the diet.

Pioneers 4: Chris, I got to see you play at Buffalo camp this summer, and I was very impressed. Do you feel your stickhandling has improved this year? and how was it playing with guys like Andrew Orpik, Nate Gerbe, and Tim Kennedy in camp this summer? hope all is well Chris
Chris Butler: Well, thank you for the compliments. I feel that my hands have gotten much better. Obviously, that was a big emphasis at our camp: just working on skills and improving on the basics. Those three guys are all great guys and unbelievable talents. Both Timmy and Nate are so smooth and skilled and Andy Orpik is just a punisher out there to go along with some great skills around the net. They're definitely fun to be around.

Kris Baker, Buffalo, NY: Chris, Thanks for taking the time today. Two questions: - You looked strong at the Sabres' Summer Prospects Camp. What advice/feedback did the Sabres staff give you before heading back to DU for your junior season? - Two and half months after your cooking accident, I must ask if your hand is completely healed. Hot oil is no joke. Please, for all Sabres fans, take a Home Ec elective before signing with Buffalo! We're excited about your development. There's always room for a complete package on the Sabres blueline.
Chris Butler: Thanks for the kind words and compliments. Luckily my hand is completely healed and has been for a couple of weeks, so it is a non-issue. I am in the process of trying to convince my grandma to come out to Denver and cook for me. As far as Buffalo goes, I had a meeting with the GM and some staff after camp, and they basically just told me to continue to work hard and have a good season.

John (Ohio): Chris, we know that Coach Gwozdecky is famous for saying things that you don't often hear from other coaches...is there anything particularly funny that sticks in your mind as a classic Gwoz story or saying?
Chris Butler: Well before I put my foot in my mouth let me just say that he is a great coach and teacher. But, a few weeks ago he was talking about how he can not read our minds and instead of saying, "We don't have ESP," he ended up saying, "We don't have ESPN," so we all got a good laugh out of that one. I just hope he doesn't bench me for this.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Chris this afternoon.
Chris Butler: Thanks again for the questions. I hope I answered them well. I appreciate the support of our fans, and GO DU!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for the first of our "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. We'll be back at the top of the hour with our Writers' Round Table.