Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With The Writers' Round Table

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, October 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET, "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com, will host a Writers' Round Table featuring college hockey writers from across the country offering their take on issues and events all over college hockey.

The Writers' Round Table is a new recurring feature as part of "Tuesday @ the Rink." College hockey beat writers from across the country will join CSTV.com's Elliot Olshansky to discuss the weekend that was, the weekend ahead, and national issues in college hockey.

Confirmed for Tuesday's Writers Round Table are Antoine Pitts of the Ann Arbor News, Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette, CSTV's Dave Starman, and CSTV.com Rink Rat Elliot Olshansky, who will moderate the panel.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Our panel members won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 30th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for their arrival!
Elliot Olshansky: Good afternoon, and welcome to another Writers' Round Table as part of "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. I'm joined this afternoon by Antoine Pitts of the Ann Arbor News, Ken Schott of the Schenectady Gazette and CSTV's own Dave Starman.
Ken Schott: Hello to everyone out there. Hope everyone is feeling better than me! Got the orange juice and Halls cough drops working.
Antoine Pitts: Antoine Pitts from the Ann Arbor News here. I look forward to your questions.
Dave Starman: Hi all, Dave Starman here, analyst on CSTV's National Hockey Telecasts.
Elliot Olshansky: OK. Hail, hail, the gang's all here, let's dive right into the questions.

Chris (Waterford, MI): Antoine - Michigan is really young this year but they are really flying out of the gate. Optimism is running rampant in Ann Arbor from many of the fans I've talked to. Do you think they can hold it together and get to the Frozen Four or do you think they will fizzle out like last year's Gophers and show their youth down the stretch? I'm also interested in your opinion on my alma mater Michigan Tech and their mission to return to the NCAA Tourney this year. Thank you for fielding the question(s).
Elliot Olshansky: OK, let's divide this one up and start out with Michigan.
Dave Starman: On Michigan...way too early to judge them as a Frozen Four contender. Youth on a team is like acne...it doesn't get exposed until the growing process goes on a while.
Ken Schott: Not getting a chance to see many CCHA games, my opinion may not matter much, but when you have a veteran coach in Red Berenson, I don't think Michigan will fizzle.
Elliot Olshansky: I think the biggest question I have right now is whether the Billy Sauer I saw on Friday against BU is the real 2007-08 Billy Sauer. That makes a huge difference in my answer here.
Dave Starman: However, Michigan's work ethic is good, and they are solid at key positions. Porter is a pro in a college enviornment, dependable and consistent. Kolarik will provide scoring. Size on the wings in that building is key since there are no corners.
Antoine Pitts: It's still very early in the season to look that far ahead. I've seen Michigan teams in recent years get out of the gate strong and fizzle once they play Minnesota and Wisconsin at Thanksgiving.
Antoine Pitts: They've gotten off to a better start than I predicted they would, but it's hard to say whether the Wolverines are a Frozen Four-caliber team right now.
Antoine Pitts: Billy Sauer, I think you have to give him time to see what he does after this start. He's had good starts in his first two years only to have something go wrong in the second half.
Dave Starman: I like how they have shown up so far. They were as good if not better than their opponents in every game this seeason, and that includes two great teams and two good hard-working ones.
Ken Schott: Let's see how they look in January and February before you start worrying about the Frozen Four.
Elliot Olshansky: Ken brought up an interesting point, which I've been wondering about: obviously, there are some great veteran coaches in college hockey, but have all of them adjusted to the new era in the same way?
Elliot Olshansky: For example, is Red Berenson as good a coach in the current college hockey environment as he was in college hockey 10 years ago? Is Jack Parker? Jerry York has obviously made the transition very well in working with younger teams, but is there a different skill set as a coach that you need now than what you needed 10 years ago?
Ken Schott: Some coaches have adjusted. As you said, York has.
Antoine Pitts: I think you have to say they are. They've managed to maintain elite programs through different eras. Look at Coach York vs. Coach Comley in last year's final.
Ken Schott: But some of the coaches that are out of college hockey, Sauer and Woog, didn't adjust. I may be wrong, but that's just my opinion.
Dave Starman: The coaches are now teaching body position more so than they used to at the youth levels so players are coming in better prepared to defend. Remember that the head coach is one part of the staff, and in many cases the veterans have turned a lot of the teaching to their assistants so they can look bigger picture. At BC, Greg Brown and Mike Cavanaugh do a lot of teaching along with Jerry, same at BU with Mike Bavis and David Quinn. At Michigan, Billy Powers and Mel Pearson have been instrumental for years.
Dave Starman: When it comes to things like teaching individual tactics, that's generally more of an assistant thing from what I can see and from what my past ventures in that area have shown me.
Ken Schott: There are a lot of good, young coaches out there. Seth Appert has RPI going in the right direction. Nate Leaman has done a good job at Union. And, before him, Kevin Sneddon before he went to Vermont.
Dave Starman: Kevin and Nate I'd consider very good teachers. Nate has shown me a very good grip on hockey's little things, the game within the game. Kevin also demonstrates that quality, and he is a great coach when it comes to working with defensemen.
Elliot Olshansky: Of course, if you're talking younger coaches, I think you need to start with Dave Hakstol. Three years as a head coach, three Frozen Fours. And losing key guys each year. Parise, Bochenski, Zajac, Smaby, Greene, Spirko, Murray, Stafford, the other Parise...the list goes on.
Dave Starman: Dave has really grown in the three years I have known him. Remember, I watched him play in the IHL on a team that was a disaster that season (he was with Minnesota when I was with Atlanta).
Dave Starman: Dave lets the guys play, but makes sure they know the rules and that is 3rd man high, make sure you have backside pressure, and protect the defensive zone with good low coverage.
Ken Schott: The Classic IHL, not the reconstituted IHL, right? LOL
Antoine Pitts: Miami's Enrico Blasi has to be considered among the good younger coaches. He's got Miami in a position to regularly be in the NCAA Tournament now.
Elliot Olshansky: We'll certainly get to Rico shortly, but let's get back to the second part of that question...what's the feeling about Michigan Tech?
Dave Starman: Michigan Tech is well coached, disciplined, and has great goaltending. Jamie Russell has instilled a work ethic there, and the players go into tough games expecting to win.
Antoine Pitts: I'm expecting the Huskies to make a run at the GLI this year.
Dave Starman: Assistant Coach Chris Tok has won at every level..as a player at Wisconsin, internationally with Team USA, and a Clark Cup as an assistant in Waterloo (USHL). Teams get better when he's around.
Ken Schott: Jamie Russell has worked long and hard to make Michigan Tech a team to reckon with in the WCHA. That hard work is paying off.
Dave Starman: Michigan Tech has established an identity that they will be a hard two points, and that in itself will win games for them.
Antoine Pitts: You saw signs of the Huskies coming alive last year after two decades of nothing, and I think that has carried into this season.
Antoine Pitts: It's got to be a hard place to recruit to. Think of all the schools you pass on your way to get up to Michigan Tech.
Elliot Olshansky: I think people expected Michigan Tech to take a step backwards once the Denvers and CCs of the world recovered a bit. I saw a very good nucleus returning from a Final Five team, including one of the WCHA's better goaltenders in Michael-Lee Teslak. I think Jamie's got something there, and I would not be the least bit surprised to see the Huskies playing deep into March.
Ken Schott: Maybe I'll see them in the East Regional in Albany.
Elliot Olshansky: Antoine, that's a good point about the recruiting, but do you think there's something to be said for being the team on campus? I wonder that sometimes about the D-II and D-III schools like RPI and Union, Michigan Tech, CC, the North Country, Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud, the Alaska schools, etc.
Dave Starman: Big fish little pond can be great if you have the people with the right demeanor to handle it. Rico has created a really good culture in that dressing room where guys check egos at the door.
Ken Schott: Having covered Union now for 17 years, I have seen the school go from little support to full support.
Ken Schott: That has helped the program grow, despite what some of the message board posters think.
Antoine Pitts: I don't know how much being the No. 1 program on a small campus helps any more. In recent years, the top guys are going to the Minnesotas and BCs of the world.
Elliot Olshansky: At the same time, you do get an Andreas Nodl at St. Cloud or a Mason Raymond or Matt Niskanen at Minnesota Duluth. Look at some of the kids who have stepped right off of not-so-great WCHA teams into the NHL this season: Raymond, Niskanen, Steve Wagner.
Antoine Pitts: Yes, you do Elliot, but those guys need a good surrounding cast.
Dave Starman: Some players just fly under the radar in their region. You are telling me that Sean Bentivoglio couldn't play on most ECAC Hockey or Hockey East teams?
Elliot Olshansky: I thought that Bentivoglio-Cook-Reaney line was one of the better ones in the country last season.
Dave Starman: There are guys I have coached in junior that went to a smaller school because academically they'd have sunk on the big campus...that also has to get factored in here.

tim (cleveland): Miami vs North Dakota at a neutral site. Who do you think comes out the winner and by how much? Thanks.
Ken Schott: What month? Now or April?
Dave Starman: I'd take NoDak - 1.5.
Elliot Olshansky: With or without Nathan Davis? Is this the real Jean-Philippe Lamoureux? So many questions I'd have.
Ken Schott: I think I would take ND right now, but if Davis can regain his scoring touch when he comes back, I may change my mind.
Antoine Pitts: I'd have to take North Dakota. It's still hard to believe that with all of that talent up there, North Dakota hasn't won the national title recently.
Ken Schott: I can't wait to see Miami when they come to RPI for two games in December.
Ken Schott: I can't wait to see Miami when they come to RPI for two games in December.
Dave Starman: Lamoureux is pretty darn good.
Ken Schott: He can stop pucks in fog just as well on clear ice.
Dave Starman: They have a first unit that rivals Minnesota's two years ago, every one on the unit can score, they can all one-time it, and they are as mobile as an air battalion.
Antoine Pitts: I'm saying 5-2 North Dakota.
Elliot Olshansky: I'm saying one-goal instant classic. I like both of these teams. A lot. Hard-working, skilled, well-coached, great individual players like Davis, Jones, Oshie and Duncan, guys who play both ways...I really hope we get this game in March or April.
Ken Schott: 3-2 ND in four overtimes.
Dave Starman: Bina is a general out there, Miami doesn't have a 1-2 on defense that rivals Chorney and Bina, no disrespect to their players. Oshie is a game breaker, Duncan is great. They have grit, and they'll beat the hell out of you in the process because no one finishes hits like these guys....they remind me of the Calgary Flames in the late 80's early 90's...they just beat people up.
Elliot Olshansky: I don't know Dave, I think Ryan Jones, just for starters, can give some of the Sioux a run for their money in the finishing hits department.
Dave Starman: Yes, but how about the other 17 skaters? No one hits 1-18 like the Sioux do except maybe Wisconsin, and that's not really Wisco's identity yet this season.
Elliot Olshansky: Haven't seen the RedHawks. I'll see them when Ken does. I want to see this big kid, Vaive.
Ken Schott: If we're talking finishing hits, RPI could be a team no one once to play. They have some defensemen that can pound you. Peter Merth crushes people.
Dave Starman: I totally agree with Ken...RPI can bang. I like the way they play. Give them a full season to find their identity and they'll be a tough out in March. Real good goaltending!
Ken Schott: Freshman Bryan Brutlag had a classic hip check against Sacred Heart that had the fans at Houston Field House on their feet a couple of weeks ago.
Ken Schott: Another freshman, John Kennedy, had a nice hip check late in the game.
Elliot Olshansky: Yeah, where'd Lange play his junior again, Dave?
Dave Starman: I think Lange played at the 'Core...yes, he did...ha ha
Dave Starman: Did Brutlag hit Paul Ferarro?
Ken Schott: It was Wolansky.
Dave Starman: Too bad....
Elliot Olshansky: C'mon Dave, don't be mad at Ferraro because he's the only Apple Core guy who'll tell me stories about you.
Ken Schott: As Dave mentioned, the goaltending at RPI has been outstanding. Jordan Alford has yet to allow a goal in the three games he has played in the Capital Region this season.
Elliot Olshansky: OK, one more question to wrap this up...

Rob (Lake Bluff): When looking at the goalie situation for the Golden Gophers and who they have available, who would you feel comfortable putting in the net as your starting goalie?
Elliot Olshansky: I've never been a Jeff Frazee fan, but I'm slowly starting to come around. He was great at World Juniors back in January, and I liked his play at the Ice Breaker. At the same time, Kangas is getting rave reviews after his play against Ohio State.
Dave Starman: You have to play Frazee. I've seen him about ten times, and feel he can play with the big boys. This year there is no Briggs, so hopefully Jeff plays a lot and gets into a rhythym.
Dave Starman: However, when Frazee is off, oh my gosh, you could score shorthanded from 198 feet like Bina did last season.
Antoine Pitts: I liked what I saw of Frazee at the IceBreaker.
Antoine Pitts: I'd feel more comfortable with the veteran guy.
Dave Starman: In goal, upperclassmen generally need to carry the mail (Peter Manino notwithstanding) all the way home.
Elliot Olshansky: Even in the losses at Colorado College, going by the numbers, Frazee certainly wasn't all that bad. But all of that said, I think that if Minnesota is looking to win games on goaltending, there's a problem.
Antoine Pitts: At the other end of the ice, I don't think Minnesota has as much firepower as it has had in recent seasons and that's going to put more pressure on the goaltending.
Ken Schott: Jeff Lerg did OK as a sophomore at Michigan State last year.
Elliot Olshansky: Not to mention Ben Bishop at Maine.
Dave Starman: If Minny falls short, it will be a combo of things. They are young in key spots, very under the spotlight, and are just a real good team, not a great one. However, I'd pay to watch Okposo play 40 games...what a player.
Dave Starman: He's an "oak tree with arms" as Doug Woog described him....pretty accurate. And great hands!
Dave Starman: And good for him to stay in school. He's in a better situation now than if turned pro and actually played in the NHL.
Elliot Olshansky: Getting back to the original question, I think that Minnesota can bring Kangas along, give him more opportunities as he shows he can handle them, maybe work into a true rotation with Frazee, or better. BC certainly wasn't the worse for allowing Cory Schneider to win the starting job from Matti Kaltiainen as a freshman.
Dave Starman: One difference here is that Kaltianen at his best wasn't as good as Kangas is now. Wasn't tremendously impressed with Kaltianen.
Elliot Olshansky: I will forever be grateful, however, that he was in the net my junior year at Dartmouth, when the Big Green beat then-No. 1 BC in overtime.
Ken Schott: Shedding a tear over that?
Elliot Olshansky: I think we're done here.
Antoine Pitts: Good to have been with you today.
Ken Schott: Have fun Trick or Treating tomorrow night! I look forward to doing this again this season!
Dave Starman: Thanks for the questions everyone, and for being great fans of college hockey. Remember November 24th college hockey at Madison Square Garden, BU and Cornell on CSTV!
Elliot Olshansky: That'll do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats, presented by CSTV and USCHO. Be sure to come back next week, when we welcome Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson and Clarkson head coach George Roll.
Elliot Olshansky: Have a great week, everyone!