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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analyst Billy Jaffe stops by the "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. Billy will be taking all of your college hockey questions.

Billy Jaffe

Billy Jaffe is a veteran of CCHA games, having played college hockey for Michigan, served as an on-ice official for the League, and having broadcast numerous CCHA games, including the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan and Michigan State. Billy is in his first year providing commentary for New York Islanders broadcasts, after being a member of the Atlanta Thrashers broadcast team since the 2000-01 season.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: BIlly won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 7th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to the second of today's CSTV.com "Tuesday @ the Rink chats." We're joined now by CSTV hockey analyst Billy Jaffe.
Billy Jaffe: Hi. It's great to be back online with all of you.
Billy Jaffe: Always fun to talk hockey.

David (Saline, MI): So far, who that you have seen in college hockey has the best pro potential?
Billy Jaffe: Jack Johnson still has the best potential of anybody I have watched this year. His skating alone makes him an NHL candidate. Others that I have seen include Matt Hunwick, Jonathan Toews, Brian Boyle and Kyle Okposo. Now granted, they are all high picks by NHL teams but they have developed well and should move on to higher levels easily.
CSTV.com Moderator: Speaking of people who have moved on to higher levels...

wayne (Boulder, CO): Do you think Matt Carle's impressive play this season can continue throughout his rookie year?
Billy Jaffe: Absolutely...Matt Carle has that something "extra" that makes him a special player. I did a Sharks/Isles game earlier this year, and he was easily one of the best players on the ice all night. His coach, Ron Wilson, says he sees the ice better than most NHL players that have been in league a long time and is in postiion to make things happen all the time. Also, lets not forget that he has an awesome supporting cast in San Jose that will help him keep it going this year.

Paul (Boston): Do you think there will be as many early departures to the NHL after this college hockey season as there were last year? What do you think of players leaving early for the pros?
Billy Jaffe: While I do think playing college hockey and geting an education is extremely important, I do feel it should be up to the individual player to decide his future. if he wants to go pro, then that is his choice. However, I also feel that many players are being misled by "advisors" (read:agents) who make players and parents (also guilty a lot of thinking unrealistic things about their sons potential) because some just want to see the money. Now, with all that said, I dont think there will be as many departures this year, as many of the more NHL-ready players left prior to this year. However, I do expect a few big names to leave before Fall 2007. Guys like Jack Johnson, Brian Lee, Jonathan Toews, Cory Schneider and Kyle Okposo will attract lots of interest from their NHL teams.

Larry (Portland, ME): How much does an NHL team's philosophy on the "college vs. major junior" issue change based on whether or not key management figures played college hockey. For example, should we expect the Islanders to be more college-oriented with Maine grad Garth Snow as GM?
Billy Jaffe: Good question. Usually GM's from college do favor college players, but not to the point of just taking them for their team. They will often give college players more of a look and will often have a good idea of a player's ability due to relationships they fostered with college coaches. But regardless, the best GM's will simply find a way to get the best players on the team no matter where they are from. A few examples of teams that have college-playing GM's and have used a good amount of college players are the New Jersey Devils with Lou Lamoriello and Atlanta with Don Waddell.

Evan (Des Moines,IA): do you see any differences between college players and Major junior players that make it to the NHL?
Billy Jaffe: There are a few differences early on in a player's career between the two. College players tradittionally come out a few years older and might often be more ready physically for the NHL game. In addition, mentally a college player is more mature and has experienced a few more "life experinces." On the other hand, junior players seem to have less lulls in their games, as they have played 60-75 games most years in junior hockey. They are more used to the NHL style and pick up on systems quicker. Also, the NHL "new rules" are being called more consistently in Canadian juniors now so that could help with the adjustment as well.

Drew (Hartford): As a former official yourself, and someone who covers games at both the college and NHL levels, what do you think are the most important elements of the way hockey officiating in general has evolved over the past couple of seasons?
Billy Jaffe: It is interesting to me how much the officiating has evolved in hockey the last 10 years or so. What was once a job that was truly a labor of love (read: not much pay at all!) has become a very well-paying and - in turn - well-scrutinized occupation. I really like the way refs are educated now. There are seminars, camps, tests, etc., that keep the guys sharp. However, one element that I am not overly thrilled with is how leagues have tried taking the human element out of officiating the last few years. It is my belief that the refs who communicate with the players the best are also the ones who get the most respect on the ice. Having so much black and white actaully can create more gray area than desired.

Josh Ithaca N.Y: Do you think Cornell has a chance to go far in the NCAA this year?With such a young team and not such a hard sched do you think thats ging to hurt them come tourny time.
Billy Jaffe: I do think Cornell has a chance to make it to the NCAAs, but after that I am not sure. I am looking forward to watching them play this Friday and then will have a better idea/opinion on that part of your question. Now, with regard to their weaker schedule, I do feel that could hinder them come tourney time. I have always believed teams should schedule at least 60% of their non-conference games against as formidable an opponent as possible, and anything less than that is negative. I always recall Denny Crum (former head basketball coach at Louisville) scheduling his teams first 5-8 games against high caliber teams and he didnt really care if they won or lost. He knew what playing those teams meant and how it helps prepare young players for what to expect at the end of the year. To me, that is more important than winning lots of games to make a record look good.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Billy this afternoon.
Billy Jaffe: Thanks for your great questions and for spending some time talking hockey with me. I look forward to doing this again soon. I hope you all have a fun hockey season and always remember to stop by and say hi at the rink!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for today's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Be sure to keep checking back for more info on next week's guests. Also, to hear more from Billy, tune in this Friday when Billy will be providing analysis from the studio as Harvard meets Cornell.

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