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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Providence Head Coach Tim Army

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 31 at 3:00 ET, Providence Head Coach Tim Army pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.

Tim Army

Following a successful first campaign at the helm of the Providence College men's hockey program, Tim Army enters his second season with the Friars. Army returned to his alma mater to take over the reigns of the PC hockey program on June 17, 2005. A 1985 graduate of the College and an East Providence native, Army became the 11th coach in the history of the program. He is the first PC alumnus to coach the team since his former coach Lou Lamoriello guided the Friars (1968-83). He also is the first former HOCKEY EAST player to be a head coach in the league.

In his first season, Army revitalized and brought plenty of excitement to the program. He led the team to a 17-16-3 overall record, including a 14-10-3 mark in Hockey East action. The 17 wins was the most by a Friar squad since 2002-03. In addition, the Friars, who were picked to finish eighth in the preseason coaches poll, recorded 14 conference victories and surprised many as they finished fifth in the league. The 14 HOCKEY EAST wins was one shy of tying a school record.

Prior to his position at PC, Army, who has an extensive coaching background, spent three seasons as the head coach of the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League. He posted a 99-89-32-20 mark in 240 games with the Pirates. In his second season at Portland (2003-04), Army guided the Pirates to a record of 32-27-13-8 for 85 points as the team qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Portland defeated the Providence Bruins in a first round series, marking the franchise's first playoff series victory in six years. That season, Army's team set numerous records, including highest penalty killing percentage (89.5%), fewest goals against in one season (160) and most shutouts in a season (17), which also tied the AHL mark.

Before his stint at Portland, Army spent nine seasons as an assistant coach in the NHL for two different teams. He worked for four seasons as an assistant for Friar great Ron Wilson with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (1993-97) and five years under Wilson with the Washington Capitals (1997-02). While in Anaheim, Army was part of the 1996-97 team that earned the franchise's first ever playoff berth and advanced to the second round, where the Mighty Ducks fell to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions Detroit Red Wings. That season, Anaheim's team featured Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya, one of the best scoring tandems in league history, as they finished second and third, respectively, in the league in scoring. In the first year with the Capitals, Army helped lead the squad to the 1998 Stanley Cup Finals, the team's only appearance in the finals.

In addition to the NHL and AHL, Army has worked with USA Hockey. In 1994 and 1996, Army was assistant coach for the U.S. National Team. The 1996 U.S. National Team captured the bronze medal at the World Championships in Vienna, Austria. Most recently, he served as an assistant with the U.S. World Cup Team in 2004. Army also was the head coach for the U.S. Under 18 Team at the 1995 and 1996 Pacific Cup.

Army began his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Friars in 1987. He spent six seasons as an assistant at PC under Mike McShane, helping to lead the Friars to more than 20 wins in four of the six seasons. The Friars also posted a 116-87-18 overall record in that span, including appearances in the 1989 and 1991 NCAA Tournaments. During that time, Army helped coach and recruit Friar All-Americans Rick Bennett (second team - 1989), Rob Gaudreau (second team - 1992) and Chad Quenneville (second team - 1994 and 1995) as well as NHL players Chris Therien, Hal Gill and Craig Darby.

Army is one of the top players in Friar history. He ranks first all-time in games played (151), sixth in points (179), 11th in goals (71) and tied for fourth in assists (108). He was a member of the winningest class in Friar hockey history. He helped the squad post a 97-50-8 mark over four seasons, including the top single-season record ever at Providence in 1983 (33-10-0). The Friars won 20 or more games in each of his four seasons as a player and reached the Frozen Four twice (1983 and 1985). In 1985, he served as the team captain and helped guide the Friars to the inaugural HOCKEY EAST title with a 2-1 double overtime win over Boston College. He also led Providence to the NCAA title game where PC was defeated by Rensselaer (2-1). In his senior season, Army led HOCKEY EAST in scoring, registering 74 points (27 goals, 47 assists). In recognition of his efforts, he was named First Team All-America and earned the Walter Brown Award as the top American born player in New England. He also was a Hobey Baker Finalist in 1985. Army also excelled in the classroom. He graduated with honors (political science) and was an academic All-American. During his high school years at East Providence, Army was a two-time First Team All-State Selection in hockey and was named to the All-Division Second Team in baseball. He also was named the Rhode Island Scholar Athlete of the Year during his senior year in 1981. That spring he was selected in the seventh round of that NHL Draft by the Colorado Rockies, which then became the New Jersey Devils. After graduating from Providence, Army played professional hockey for the Maine Mariners of the AHL (1985-86), Peliitat of the Finish Div. 1 League (1986-87) and Fribourg of the Swiss Elite League.

Army and his wife, Sue, a former PC track and cross country star, have two sons, Derek (15) and Travis (13).

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Tim won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 31st, 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 to the second of our "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. We're joined now by Providence head coach Tim Army.
Tim Army: Hello everyone, I'll be listening.

Gordon from Boston: Will you be wearing a Halloween costume behind the bench tonight and, if so, what will it be?
Tim Army: No, I will not be wearing a Halloween costume, but if I was, maybe I would go as Scotty Bowman, that might help turn our team around. Or maybe I'd go as Punch Imlach, with that hat he wore.

Scott (Boston): 1. Shots have been down in the past 4 games (27.25) compared to 33. 6 last season. To what do you attribute the difference and is it something you're trying to address with the team? 2. Despite the lack of results in recent games, what positives do you see in the team's play in the early part of the season? What are you trying to build on/work on during practice that will translate to wins on the scoreboard? 3. What is the biggest difference between this year's squad and last year's Friars? 4. Attendance (overall and student-wise) seems to have dropped off to start the season. Any thoughts on how to boost that figure?
CSTV.com Moderator: Let's do these one at a time.
Tim Army: Certainly something we're addressing, and some credit to the teams that we've played against. We've played some very good teams. I think the biggest diference is that our power play has been inconsistent, and we haven't gotten enough shots on the power play. I think that would make up the difference with the shots - except against Merrimack - being below 30 shots in all the games we've played.
CSTV.com Moderator: Moving on to the next part.
Tim Army: I think we've limited shots against. Overall, we have been fairly stingy with shots against. We've only given up more than 25 shots against twice, and in one of those games, against Bowling Green (most shots we've given up all season),we gave up 13 to their power play - and they have a good power play - so in essence, we only gave up 15 shots 5-on-5. With that situation, early, we were plagued with some glaring mistakes. Some of the shots we gave up left the goalies to fend for themselves. What we're trying to do is insulate our defense a little bit better, get more help from our forwards, and I think we were better against Merrimack and UMass-Lowell, not giving up the opportunities we'd given up to Clarkson, Bowling Green and Notre Dame. What we're working on, critical errors, our special teams and penalty kill are improving - the penalty kill was much better last weeknd - and our power play has to be better. IT has to be an element that allows us to get more things done offensively. I think we improved last weekend, when we had a power play goal in each game.
Tim Army: It's a good question. I think last year, our older core of players, our juniors and seniors, were the guys that drove the engine. They were the guys that created the tempo for our team. I think early this year, some of our upperclassmen, guys who we've depended on, have struggled, and haven't directed the team the way our older guys did last year.
CSTV.com Moderator: And about the attendance...
Tim Army: Win some games, and at times you can almost play too many home games. That's how we started, with two every weekend the first two weekends, and five in a row at home. I think once we get into our Hockey East schedule, it spreads the games out more, and gets more of our student body to come. Also, you've got to win some games, have success, and that makes people want to come watch your team play.

Chris (Attleboro): Do you have any pregame/ingame superstitions?
Tim Army: I like to play ping-pong the afternoon of a game. I like to go on the ice with the guys who aren't dressing. Usually, my assistants run the practice for the guys who aren't playing, but I like to go out there and play with the puck. I jump into some of the drills to my 43-year old liking, and then I go play ping-pong after we skate. I feel a little disrupted if I don't get to do that.

RJ (Scarsdale, NY): Coach - Have you noticed any change in recruiting now, since your days as an assisant at PC. Good luck the rest of the season!!
Tim Army: I guess the biggest thing I've noticed is that there are more teams involved. There were not as many teams 13 years ago. There's just a lot of teams out there looking at the best kids, because those are the kids that can improve your program. That's the biggest thing I see, is that there are more programs involved than there were the last time I was doing this.

Brian (Columbus): Did you say anything to your team before the Notre Dame game to prepare the older guys for seeing Paul Pooley again?
Tim Army: No, not at all. I think that was just part of sports, so I didn't think there was anything needed to be said. I'm sure guys got a chance to say hi to them, as well they should, and it's just part of sports. It is a way of life at the pro level, and you just get used to coaches and players moving from team to team, that's just part of the environment.

Rob (Boston): What are you expecting from Boston College tonight, coming off what had to be an emotional series at Wisconsin?
Tim Army: It's two great wins for them. Whatever the circumstances, going to Wisconsin and sweeping is a monumental task. In order to do that, you have to be a very good team, which is what Boston College is. It had to be more emoitional because of the national final. We always expect the best from BC. What makes them so dangerous is their speed and skill level. They're a team that can create offense out of nothing, and it poses a problem for every team.

Peter (North Providence): Do you think that getting hit so hard coming out of the gate as you were against Clarkson set your team back to start the season, beyond losing that game itself?
Tim Army: It probably affected our psyche a little bit, but it's still early in the season. We need to progress and get better each and every day. We've tried to refocus our team on taking care of the little details over the course of a game.

Tom (Pawtucket): How important do you think the renovations to Schneider Arena will be in building this program into one that will join BC, BU, UNH and Maine as elite teams in Hockey East?
Tim Army: It makes Schneider Arena look as though it belongs at Providence College. It's a wonderful rink, the perfect rink for our campus, but it wasn't consistent with our college. It didn't look like it belonged becasue of the colors. The renovations give it a Providence College feel. There's other things we want to do to upgrade the facility, and that just allows people to have a different perception of Schneider Arena.

Nick (Providence): How much does having played for Providence yourself help you relate to your players and guide the team?
Tim Army: Because I went thtough it as a student athlete, you just have that first-hand experience yourself to recognize the daily challenges for a student athlete at Providence College.

Jimmy (Providence): How about donning an army helmet for the fans?
Tim Army: I would do that if someone gave me a helmet. I would do it. Last week, I wore my sunglasses into the locker room for the Bowling Green game. Last week when I walked into the locker room with my sunglasses, the guys laughed, but I don't know if they quite knew where I was going with it, so I said, "If it's good enough for Tony LaRussa, it's good enough for me." If donning an Army hat could focus our team on the things we needed to do to be successful then I would definitely do that.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Army this afternoon. He has a game to coach, and some ping-pong to play!
Tim Army: Thanks. We certainly appreciate everyone's support of college hockey.
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Be sure to check back for more info on next week's chats, and Providence fans should keep an eye on the Rink Rat blog this Friday night, with live updates after each period of the Providence-UMass game.

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