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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Miami University Head Coach Enrico Blasi

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET, Miami University Head Coach Enrico Blasi pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The RedHawks are currently No. 12 in the USCHO/CSTV Division I Rankings.

Enrico Blasi

A 1994 graduate of Miami University, Enrico Blasi took over the reins at his alma mater in 1999 as the youngest head coach in Division I college hockey. With two CCHA Coach of the Year awards and one trip to the NCAA Tournament under his belt in just six seasons, Blasi's ideals of family and togetherness are paying big dividends in Oxford. With 104 victories heading into this season, Blasi needs 18 more to surpass Steve Cady as Miami's all-time winningest hockey mentor.

The first Miami hockey alumnus to return to his alma mater as the head coach, Blasi came to Miami after working four years - three as an assistant and one as a graduate assistant - under former Miami mentor George Gwozdecky, who is now the head coach at the University of Denver.

As a player at Miami from 1990-1994, Blasi was a vital cog in the Red and White's run to their first CCHA title in 1992-93. As the captain of the 1993-94 squad, he finished third on the team in scoring with 28 points on 13 goals and 15 assists. His 123 career points are tied for 14th on Miami's all-time scoring list.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Enrico won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 15th, 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 another edition of "Tuesday @ The Rink". We have a great pair of guests this afternoon. Starting things off today is Miami University Head Coach Enrico Blasi.
Coach Blasi: Hi everyone, great to have you with us!

Fred (Waterloo): How important has Andy Greene been to your fast start. What impact has he had on your young goalies?
Coach Blasi: Andy is our leader on and off the ice and everyone looks to him to provide the leadership and experience that you expect from a senior and a captain.

Mario (St. Paul): Can you talk about your goalie play and how you see the duties being handled through the season?
Coach Blasi: We are very confident in both young goalies and both are playing extremely well. They compete in practice and they are the best of friends off the ice, which makes splitting time easy for both of them to handle and helps both of them improve everyday. At this point we are continuing with our plan to split the minutes.

Karl '99: No goals for Matt Christie and a 6-2 start. Did you think you can be that successful without him scoring?
Coach Blasi: Obviously, we need Matt to find the back of the net. However, he has been getting chances and as long as he is getting chances, we are confident he will get his fair share of goals.

Alex (Hamilton, OH): How do you approach recruiting against conference opponents with a bigger national profile like Michigan and Ohio State?
Coach Blasi: We feel we have a lot to offer, academically, socially and athletically. With our new building on the horizon we feel we can compete with any school in the nation for top recruits.

Brett (Miamisburg, OH): It seems like last year was a down year for the CCHA. How much responsibility you feel you have to represent the conference, in addition to your own institution?
Coach Blasi: I think it is the responsibility of all the teams in our conference to do well. First and foremost, we are concerned about our in-conference games, and we worry about the national implications of that later.
Coach Blasi: I think Ohio State is a very good hockey team, as evidenced by their defeat of Colorado College. I don't think people should underestimate the strength of our conference from top to bottom. It is a very tough league to play in night in and night out.

Mark (Talkeetna, AK): What's it like coaching against Tavis Macmillan, having competed against him on the ice when you were both in school?
Coach Blasi: Tavis was a great hockey player at UAF and he has done a great job recruiting top players to UAF and providing a positive experience for their student-athletes.

Brian (White Oak, OH): Coach, does being a Miami alum put any extra pressure on you to succeed as the RedHawks' coach?
Coach Blasi: It doesn't put any more pressure on us as a staff, than we do ourselves. We want our program to be as successful as it can and our alums are a big part of our past, present and future.

Rob(Lake Forest): what is the pressure like becoming the youngest coach in D1 history?
Coach Blasi: The pressure comes from everyone waiting for you to fail, but it is really about the student-athletes and providing them with every possible opportunity to be successful on and off the ice.

Brent (cleveland): I love the fact that you have four defensemen on the penalty kill. How well has that been working for you and what are the pros and cons of doing it?
Coach Blasi: Its been working fairly well for us. We have done a great job of limiting scoring chances and our two seniors (Matt Davis and Stephen Dennis), who moved from defense to forward this season, deserve a lot of the credit.

Joe (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.): Coach, after playing LSSU last weekend, what do you think has changed on that team with the changeover from Coach Anzalone to Coach Roque?
Coach Blasi: The team played hard for 120 minutes and didn't give us a chance to catch our breath. They played confident, made the most of their chances, and it looked like they had a lot of fun out there.

Amy: What do you think about the "new" Notre Dame Jackson is pulling together?
Coach Blasi: We've only seen them on tape, but we will find out first hand this weekend. We think they are skilled up front and have a couple of offensive defensemen that we will need to be aware of. Their goaltending can beat anyone on any night and we are looking forward to a challenge this weekend.

Tyler (Toronto): Coach Good players can be found anywhere. Can you give me your thoughts on the difference between the types of players or general level of play in the NAHL, USHL, OPJHL, and BCJHL.
Coach Blasi: Since there are good players everywhere, we recruit all of those leagues. Its a matter of our needs from year to year, but there are quality kids available in all four leagues.
Coach Blasi: It hasn't been difficult at all. Our players are extremely professional and respect what we are trying to accomplish as a group. Its all about TEAM in our room.

Nick (Oxford): Being a younger coach (although perhaps not so much so as when you started), has it been hard to establish the proper coach-player relationship?

Dan Graham: Coach Blasi, When you unlaced your skates for the last time your senior year did you wish you had one more season as a RedHawk? What is your advice to young players coming in to the colleges that might benefit in that regard from one more year in the USHL or perhaps NAHL?
Coach Blasi: When one door closes, another opens. I loved my time in a Miami uniform, but realized there were other opportunities in front of me. Coach Gwozdecky gave me a chance to continue in college hockey and I am forever grateful. As far as spending another year in juniors, every player is different. It depends on the situation they are coming from and where they are headed.

Jim (Denver): Since you have both played for and coached under George Gwozdecky how much of his philosophy/approach have you incorporated into your coaching style?
Coach Blasi: I would have to say that 90 percent of what I know about hockey came from Coach Gwozdecky. I learned how to play at a high level from him and he also showed me the ropes as far as coaching goes. Ultimately, the most important thing is about relating to the student-athletes and being yourself.

Tom (Richmond, OH): Last week, you had a hot start and then dropped off...how much does that come up as you try to keep your team on track this season?
Coach Blasi: We played well the entire weekend. We had a few miscues on Saturday night but the effort was there for the entire 120 minutes. We certainly had our chances to score, but its always tough to sweep in someone else's building. Our focus as a team is to improve each day and we can't worry about the past or future. We have two big games this weekend to prepare for and that is where our focus lies right now.

Tim (cleveland): How can you explain the balance of your scoring attack this year? It seems that your scoring power is not soley based on 4 or so guys as it has in the past.
Coach Blasi: I think the fact that our scoring is so balanced makes it very difficult for teams to prepare and focus on individuals. We are very confident in all four lines and our defense really adds another dimension to our offense.
Coach Blasi: I wouldn't be in this situation without those guys who made the program what it is today. The one guy who deserves all the credit for keeping the program where it is is Steve Cady (currently our Sr. Assoc. AD). He started the program and continues to be our biggest supporter.

Randy (Oxford): Can you talk about what impact the new arena will have on the program, and the community?
Coach Blasi: It is a state-of-the-art building that the Miami and Oxford communities will be able to enjoy for years to come. It will no doubt help us in recruiting and help us get this program where we want it to be.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Blasi this afternoon.
Coach Blasi: Thanks for all the questions. I enjoyed it. Hope to see you at "The Goggin".
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour for the second half of today's doubleheader, when we are joined by ECAC Commissioner Steve Hagwell. See you at 2:00 Eastern.

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