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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko.

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 7 at 2:00 ET, St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.

Bob Motzko

Bob Motzko is in his second season as head coach with the Huskies in 2006-07. The 2006 WCHA Coach of the Year, Motzko guided the Huskies to a 22-16-4 overall record and a 13-13-2 WCHA record in 2005-06. SCSU ranked 14th in the final national college polls in 2005-06, and the Huskies also advanced to the title game of the 2006 WCHA Final Five - marking SCSU's first trip to the Final Five since 2001-02.

A former SCSU hockey player and graduate of St. Cloud State, Motzko served as a men's hockey assistant coach at the University of Minnesota since 2001. He was part of two NCAA Division I national championship teams in 2002 and 2003, and helped the Gophers win WCHA playoff crowns in 2003 and 2004. His four recruiting classes at Minnesota were considered among the best in the nation, and Motzko helped produce one Hobey Baker Award winner, three first team All-Americans, two second team All-Americans and many All-WCHA honorees at Minnesota.

A 1987 graduate of St. Cloud State University, Motzko was a two-year varsity letterwinner for the SCSU hockey team from 1984-86. Motzko began his coaching career in 1986-87 as an assistant coach for the legendary Herb Brooks at SCSU - and also worked with former SCSU head coach Craig Dahl.

Motzko went on to serve as general manager and head coach of the USHL's North Iowa Huskies from 1987 through 1991. In 1989, Motzko led the North Iowa squad to a United State Junior A national championship and was named that year's USHL Coach of the Year.

In 1991, Motzko was named associate head coach at Miami University (Ohio), where he helped lead the RedHawks to a Central Collegiate Hockey Association title and an NCAA tournament berth in 1992-93. He served for one season as an associate head coach at the University of Denver from 1993-94, before returning to Miami University in 1994.

Motzko was named general manager and head coach of the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede in 1998. He led the Stampede to a 77-31-6 record in the team's first two seasons in the USHL, and in 2000, Motzko was named the USHL General Manager of the Year. At Sioux Falls, 26 players moved on to college programs around the United States including SCSU standouts Mike Doyle, Joe Jensen and Dave Iannazzo.

In over 19 years of coaching hockey, Motzko has worked with many of the top coaches in the game including Brooks, Dahl, Don Lucia (Minnesota), Mark Mazzoleni (Harvard and Green Bay-USHL), George Gwozdecky (Denver) and Frank Serratore (Air Force).

A native of Austin, Minn., Motzko and his wife Shelley are the parents of three children. They currently reside in St. Cloud, Minn.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Bob won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 7th, 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 "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're joined now by St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko.
Bob Motzko: Hi, we appreciate all the great interest in our great game, and I look forward to helping out in any way possible.

David (Minnetonka): How hard has it been to have Denver, North Dakota and Minnesota for three of your first four WCHA series? What has your team taken away from those early games with DU and UND?
Bob Motzko: From a scheduling standpoint, in our league, it doesn't matter what your schedule is, it's always hard. However, with the fact that we had no non-conference games to start the season, we missed the opportunity to have a bit of a warm up. We've had to use our first six games as a bit of experiment. We've juggled our lineup - I think we've had a different lineup for all six games. The schedule was made before I got hired, and we just had to adapt.

Tim - Shakopee: Do you feel the Huskies need to play a physical game against the Gophers to be successful? Also it seems the Huskies can not afford to take bad penalities ( like the one Nate Raduns took on Sat in No Dakota- slashing penalty away from the play. That gave North Dakota a chance to go on the power play and they tied the score. That undiscplined penalty cost St Cloud the win. Surely the Gophers will capitalize on the man advance ? Do you agree?
Bob Motzko: The first thing you have to do against Minnesota is be exceedingly smart. You have to stay out of the box. You can't give them the man advantage. The second thing you have to do is, to the best of your ability, try to skate with them. You have to apply pressure in all three zones, and you have to take your opportunities to attack them. That's much easier said than done.

Rob (Lake Bluff, Illinois): What is it going to be like playing your old squad the gophers since you are now the head coach of the huskies?
Bob Motzko: We had the opportunity to do it three times last year, so I think those original emotions are gone a little bit. This'll be the first time back in Mariucci Arena, which will be special, but more importantly, we have two classes that have never played in Mariucci, so it'll be a first for about half of our team to go into their building.

Andy (St. Paul): what will it take for Saint Cloud to have a chance at winning the WCHA this year?
Bob Motzko: To be honest, winning the regular-season title is something that we don't even look at at this point. I think our main focus right now would continue to be trying to put ourselves in a position for home ice. The WCHA is just too difficult to start to think about that in the early months of a season. I think you truly start to think about championships come February, if you're in that position. Our league puts a great importance on how we're playing at the end of the year, and that will continue to be one of our goals.

Joe (St. Cloud): Can you comment on the play of Ryan Lasch, and what impact he has had on your roster this season?
Bob Motzko: Ryan is a tremendous offensively gifted player. He shows us that on a daily basis, even in practice. Every day in practice, he shows a tenacity and a willingness to score goals. He's been able, in just six games, to have an impact as a freshman in scoring.
CSTV.com Moderator: Alright, we have a couple of similar ones, involving a couple of Huskies...

Bob (Sauk Rapids): Have you ever thought about putting a big guy on your first line with Gordon or Nodl? (like Raduns or Kronick)

Joe (St. Cloud): Have you thought about putting Dan Kronick or Nate Raduns in front of the net on the first power play?
Bob Motzko: After six games, by no means is our power play set. We continue to look for the right combination for a successful power play. I do consider Nate Dey - who has been on our No. 1 power play - a big player at 6'3", and currently, our power play has been a little night-and-day. We were 4-7 on Friday against Mankato, and I consider that excellent, and you wouldn't think we need to change that. Then, the next night, you go 0-for-10, it leaves your head shaking a little bit. So, we will continue to search for the right fit.

John Commerce Twp, MI: Bob, what is the best way for the rest of the WCHA to compete against the traditional powers in the WCHA. (UND, Minnesota, Wisconsin) Denver and CC have been getting it done lately. What can the other programs do to make the league standings differ at the top.
Bob Motzko: The first thing you have to look at if you're building a program is your recruiting. Any program that wants to try to climb to the elite status needs to be finding elite players. I believe, in the last six years, eight WCHA teams have made the NCAA tournament, so many teams in our league have shown the ability to compete with the "traditional powers."

Ed (Minneapolis): How special is it to have the two college programs that Herb Brooks coached meeting each other the weekend before he gets inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame?
Bob Motzko: I think most important is how special it is that Herb Brooks is being recognized and inducted into the Hall of Fame. I had the opportunity to work for Herb. He was very inspirational in the early stages of my career, and our country has not known many better hockey people ever.

St. Paul: Coach - What has been your most gratifying event/moment since becoming head hockey coach at SCSU?
Bob Motzko: It was awful special for our team last year when we beat Colorado College in the first round of the playoffs. I think we had only had one player that had made it to our league championship on that roster, so that was a great experience for all our players, their families, and our fans to get back to the Xcel Energy Center for the Final Five.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Motzko today.
Bob Motzko: I sure appreciate the opportunity to answer some questions. We're looking forward to some more great college hockey.
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 CSTV hockey analyst Billy Jaffe. Also, for all you St. Cloud fans, keep an eye on the Rink Rat blog this weekend at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat, as I will be blogging live from Friday's game between Minnesota and St. Cloud at Mariucci Arena. See you at the top of the hour!

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