Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Clarkson Head Coach George Roll

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Clarkson Head Coach George Roll pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Golden Knights face ECAC Hockey rivals Princeton and Quinnipiac, the latter game being a rematch of the 2007 ECAC Hockey title game, November 9-10.

George Roll

As the Clarkson University Hockey program enters its fifth season under head coach George Roll, the future looks very bright for the Golden Knights. With diligent work on the recruiting trail, Roll along with associate coach Greg Drechsel and assistant coach Jean-Francois Houle have brought in a talented group of players who captured the ECAC Hockey Championship and a No. 1 regional seed in the 2006-07 season.

In his first season as the Knights' head coach, Roll guided the Green and Gold to an 18-18-5 overall record in 2003-04, but the Knights stellar play in the postseason, where they skated in the ECACHL Tournament Championship game for the first time since 1999, defined the new coaching staff's debut at Clarkson. Last season, the Knights skated to their first winning campiagn in four years with an 18-17-3 overall record.

A former assistant coach at Clarkson, Roll came back to the University after a very successful tenure as the head coach at Oswego State. Roll completed his seven-year stint at Oswego when he guided the Great Lakers into the title game of the 2003 Division III National Championships. From 1988-1996, with Roll as an assistant coach, Clarkson complied a 176-82-26 overall record, claimed two ECAC Tournament titles and advanced to the Frozen Four in 1991. In seven years at Oswego State, Roll amassed a 119-74-16 overall record and guided the Lakers to two NCAA Tournament appearances. A native of the Chicago suburb of Blue Island, Illinois, Roll played four years at Bowling Green State University under former Clarkson head coach Jerry York and was a member of the Falcons' 1984 National Chmapionship team.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: George won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 6th, 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 "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're joined now by our second guest for today, Clarkson head coach George Roll.
Coach Roll: Hello everyone, I'm glad to be here and looking forward to answering your questions.

Joe (Rt. 11): In coach speak, everyone plays one shift at time...one game at a time, etc... but in reality Princeton was the only ECAC team you failed to beat last year... Seeing the Tigers creeping up on the National Rankings -- how are you helping the team not look past the "Q" and does the team have extra motivation to come away with a win at Hobey Baker Rink this weekend?
Coach Roll: Right now, our focus is on Quinnipiac. We know they're a quality opponent, since they return most of their team from last season. It's only a matter of time before they get things turned around in the right direction. As for Princeton, it's a new season, and certainly to go to into two of the toughest buildings in the league last weekend and sweep shows what kind of a job Guy Gadowsky is doing there. We know from the games that we saw them in, they're returning the bulk of their guys from last year, and it's not surprising to see their success. We knew they'd have a very good team this year.

David and Ann, Nicholvile, NY: Good afternoon, George, Are there any areas of Clarkson hockey in which you hope the Golden Knights could show improvement this weekend in their games against Quinnipiac and Princeton? Thank you and good luck to you and the team.
Coach Roll: We've been generating a lot of grade-A chances, especially this past weekend, and that's an area in which I'd like to see improvement, finishing on those chances. I think our defensive game was very solid, and has been for the most part through the early going, and I think our power play needs to improve. It is early in the season, so I'm pretty sure it will improve, but those are the two areas: finishing on our chances and getting the power play clicking at a higher rate.

Frank (Potsdam) NY: George, it has been exciting to watch the Knights so far this season. Being from Potsdam, I was wondering if the work mans like attitude and leadership that Matt Curley brought to the table is missed?
Coach Roll: Matt was certainly an extremely competitive and hard-working player for us, but our whole senior class is similar to Matt in the way they approach the game. They compete hard every day in practice, and obviously in games. When your upperclassmen provide that type of leadership, a lot of guys follow. I think that was the case with Matt last year, and certainly our seniors this year.

Walt (potsdam Ny): I heard you took a slap shot to the temple in practice last week, but still managed to guide the golden knights to a terrific weekend sweep of ivy league foes! How is your recovery coming, and how did you manage to have the determination to get back on the bench?
Coach Roll: It was scary. It's something that you worry about as a coach, and it caught me right below the temple. It was a little shaky for a couple of days, but I'll be wearing the helmet today in practice.

Dan (formerly of Potsdam): I've enjoyed watching current ECAC POTW Tim Marks develop in the second half of last season and into this young season. Clarkson has quite the history of developing power forwards into successful professional players. Do you think Tim will continue to progress and become a standout forward in the league?
Coach Roll: Tim made a commitment to himself and the program over the summer to work on his conditioning, and actually skated a lot with two of those power forwards, Craig Conroy and Chris Clark, and really made some huge strides in his conditioning levels, and the start he's had is a result of that commitment, because last year, he wasn't in the shape he is in this year. He worked out with Craig and Chris, and got a taste of what it takes to be committed. I think his fast start here is a result of his conditioning, and I do think he can continue to develop and grow as a very good player with the possibility of playing pro.

Trevor Edwards - Port Huron, MI: Coach Roll, Keep up the good work and congrats on last years showing! Your team and coaching staff is making all of us CU Alumni proud. My question is: Are you by chance looking to schedule a meeting with Michigan/Michigan State in the near future? This side of the country has no clue about Clarkson and the great history behind our hockey program. I would love to see them come take on these top end programs.
Coach Roll: I believe we may be going to Michigan State, but I don't know if it's been confirmed. It's difficult, because a lot of teams want their non-league games only at home, and some of the bigger programs have various commitments like the Great Lakes Invitational and the College Hockey Showcase, so I think there's pressure on them to play their remaining non-league games at home as much as they can. We would love the opportunity to play those teams on the road, but we'd also like the opportunity to get them back at Cheel.

Mike (albany): Coach the clarkson students have been big supporters of the team from its days at Walker. How do you rate the Bonesaw?
Coach Roll: It's been a really special atmosphere in here the last couple of years. The students have really gotten behind the team, and I think our record in our last 18 games at Cheel is 14-0-4. A lot of that is, in part, due to the support we've gotten from our pep band, the Bonesaw group, and the students in general. It's kind of what college athletics is all about, and it's been great to see.

Mike (Potsdam): How did coaching at the D-III level help you when you came back to Clarkson?
Coach Roll: I think it really prepared me to be patient. I went in there with the mindset that I wanted to get in, turn the program around and get back to Division I. I think after the third or fourth year, I realized that it was a very positive experience for me coaching at Oswego, and that I was content, and that there were only a few jobs where if the opportunity to get back to Division I was there, I would jump at it, and Clarkson was one of them. I think how that translated to coming into Clarkson was that I realized that it wasn't going to happen overnight. I realized that it was going to be a process, and with my assistants, J-F Houle and Greg Drechsel, that it would be a three or four-year process to get the program back on solid ground, and our administration was very patient in seeing that through.

Luke (Potsdam, NY): Brian Rufenach seems snakebitten for points, but a lot of the time he looks like the best player on the ice. Scott Freeman also seems to be snakebit. What can we expect as far as their roles on the team and them as improving players?
Coach Roll: We've been very pleased with all of our freshmen. With those two, the numbers they put up in juniors, sometimes you press when you're not putting up the points. That being said, both guys have made the transition very smoothly, and the points will come. They've contributed in other ways, and have been very solid at both ends of the ice. We have been very encouraged with their performance to date, and I think the mindset of our team for the last couple of years - and that comes from our leadership, both groups of seniors the last two years - is that the team's success is more important than individual successes, and if the team's winning, that's the bottom line.

Dan(potsdam): Shea Guthrie seems to be in some what of a slump this season. He has so much talent but sometimes it looks like he just tries to do to much. Do you think he should get back to the basics or stick to what hes doing?
Coach Roll: There's certainly been times when Shea does try to do too much. Friday night, I thought he tried to do too many individual things, and Saturday night it was the complete opposite. I thought he played his best game of the year against Dartmouth. It's certainly something we've worked on with him. Sometimes, when the points aren't coming, players with Shea's talent tend to try to do too much to get out of that, and sometimes it becomes counterproductive. When he uses his speed and his strength, as he did Saturday night, he can be a dominant player at our level.

Drew (New York City): With Leggio being a senior and two walk-ons as back up, do you see yourself trying to recruit a blue chip goalie for 2008?
Coach Roll: David was also a walk-on four years ago, and has developed into the goalie he is today, so certainly, we are in the process of bringing in a goalie for next year, but that's not to say that the two returning guys will not have the opportunity to compete for the No. 1 job.

Chad(massena): Dave Leggio seems to be having another great year. Tim Potter has seem some action this year as well. Do you think we will be seeing Tim playing again this year or did the start at Lake State change your mind about getting him some starts this year?
Coach Roll: Tim was solid at Lake State. It was a situation where we had some defensive breakdowns in front of him and left Tim in tough situations. The reason for the loss wasn't Tim's performance. Tim will get another opportunity this year. When, I can't say, but the team certainly has confidence in Tim's ability. Right now, though, David is clearly our No. 1.
Coach Roll: Tim was solid at Lake State. It was a situation where we had some defensive breakdowns in front of him and left Tim in tough situations. The reason for the loss wasn't Tim's performance. Tim will get another opportunity this year. When, I can't say, but the team certainly has confidence in Tim's ability. Right now, though, David is clearly our No. 1.

Dan (New Windsor, NY): With your 3 scoring lines that could easily step in as number one lines in most college programs, the 4th liners often get overlooked. The 4th liners have done yeoman's service so far this season with many different faces. How do you keep them up to play and stress their valuable contributions?
Coach Roll: Our philosophy has always been to give everyone the opportunity to play, especially early on, and once everyone's gotten that opportunity, to play what we feel is our best lineup. I think we're at that stage now. The way our fourth line played this past weekend - not only defensively, but they created a lot of nice offensive chances - it gets back to the philosophy that we talked about earlier. Nobody really worries about the individual accomplishments. Everybody in the locker room contributes, whether they're on our top three lines or on the fourth or fifth line.

Josh(canton): Since i am from Canton you probably know i root for St.Lawrence. We seem to be finding local talent and bringing them into our program. Do you think you and your staff will try to get some local talent to play at Clarkson?
Coach Roll: Obviously, if we feel that somebody's of that ability, we certainly will do that. Over the years, we've had a number of players from the North Country come in and make contributions, like Matt Curley.

Ken Vorce - Miami, Florida: What do you see having to happen in order for the ECAC to have its NCAA tournament bid status enhanced?
Coach Roll: Obviously, our performance outside the league, getting more wins, especially against the western conferences, would help, and we certainly have the opportunity to do that this year with games against St. Cloud and Colorado College, and BC and Maine.

Larry (Utica ny): Steve Zalewski has one of the best snap shots in colege hockey, and in the playoffs last season, the best moustahce. What does steve do to hone his skills?
Coach Roll: I think Steve is as complete a player as I've seen here in my 13 years being associated with Clarkson hockey. I would say he excels at both ends of the ice and he has had an excellent start to his senior season.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Roll this afternoon.
Coach Roll: I appreciate it. Thank you for the questions. I really enjoyed it, and thanks for submitting them.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for another week of "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. Be sure to check back for more info on next week's guests.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for another week of "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. Be sure to check back for more info on next week's guests.