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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Michigan State Forward Justin Abdelkader

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 14 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Michigan State forward Justin Abdelkader pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Spartans will play two of their next three games on CSTV, as they face Notre Dame on Friday, Nov. 17 at 8 p.m. ET, and Michigan on Tuesday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Justin Abdelkader

Justin Abdelkader made an excellent start at Michigan State as a freshman in 2005-06, and has picked up where he left off as a sophomore.

After posting 22 points (10g, 12a) in his first season as a Spartan and earning CCHA All-Rookie Honorable Mention distinction, Abdelkader has amassed eight points (3g, 5a) in the Spartans' first eight games of the 2006-07 campaign. He plays in all situations for the Spartans.

Among the highlights of Abdelkader's freshman campaign were a pair of game-winning goals (both against Alaska), one of the Spartans' two goals in their 2-1 CCHA Championship victory over Miami University, and an assist on classmate Tim Crowder's power-play goal in a 1-0 win over New Hampshire in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Before arriving in East Lansing, Abdelkader played for the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders of the USHL, where he tied the team record for goals with 27 in 2004-05, and added 25 assists to rank third on the team in scoring with 52 points. Prior to joining the Rough Riders, Abdelkader was Michigan's Mr. Hockey winner in 2004 as a junior in high school after tallying 80 points (37g, 43a) while leading Muskegon Mona Shores High School to the Michigan Division 2 State Final.

A native of Muskegon, Michigan, Abdelkader was a second-round selection (No. 42 overall) of the Detroit Red Wings in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He has participated in the last two USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camps in Lake Placid, N.Y.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Justin won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 14th, 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: Hello, and welcome to "Tuesday @ the Rink," presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. Our first guest for today is Michigan State forward Justin Abdelkader.
Justin Abdelkader: Hi, glad to be here, and looking forward to the chat today.

Robert, Plymouth, MN: Justin, congratulations on a great freshman season and a tremendous start already this year. Last year the Spartans were 1 goal from reaching the final four. Does this Michigan State team have what it takes to get to that level again in 2007?
Justin Abdelkader: It's early in the season right now to measure how good we can actually be - I think we're on the right track right now to becoming a very good team, like we were last year. Its a process all teams go through - we work to get better each game. This year, we have the experience of being in the NCAA Tournament under our belts, and that will help down the road.

Alex (Chicago): Hi Justin, with this weekend's games being a Top 5 matchup, is it different from how you envisioned this one when you looked at the schedule before the season, just in terms of how well Notre Dame is playing?
Justin Abdelkader: Not really - we knew that Notre Dame had a solid team last year. We won both games, but both were by only one goal. We knew that a lot of good freshmen were coming in this year to help their team. They have a great coach, and he seems to be taking that program towards an elite level. We know this weekend is going to be hard-fought battles and the team that works the hardest and plays the best will win.

Charlie (Detroit): Not that anything is easy in the CCHA, but what do you think the team needs to improve on from earlier games to do well during this big five-game stretch, with Notre Dame, Michigan, and the Showcase?
Justin Abdelkader: We've only played three road games this season, and we're 1-2 in those matchups. It's obvious that we've got some growing to do before we become a great team - we have to learn to win on the road in hostile environments consistently. When you look at our team, we have a majority of young players who maybe haven't experienced tough road matchups like this before. We need to take each game one by one - we cant look ahead to any of the games.

J.D. (East Lansing, MI): Hey Justin, Fellow Sophomore Spartan and Slapshots member here. My question is, what was the loudest arena you've played in while here at MSU? I know you've already visited some rather loud rinks at Michigan and Cornell. Thanks and Good Luck!
Justin Abdelkader: I may be a little biased, but the greatest and loudest crowd Ive played in front of while at MSU was our game here at Munn a couple of weeks ago against Michigan. The crowd was more than 7,000 people, and one of the largest in school history. When we stepped on the ice to start the game, we knew the crowd would be a big factor. They were energetic and stayed behind us throughout the game. We were down after the first period, but when we came out for the second, the crowd was even more energetic and sparked us - we had an awesome second period, scored four goals, and went on for a huge victory.

Larry from Minneapolis: The Spartans have another series of midweek games this year. How do you feel, as a player, about playing during the week, and then coming back to play on the weekend?
Justin Abdelkader: Personally, I like playing during the week - it makes the week go by fast. It splits up the week, instead of having four or five straight days of practice. It can be tough, if you've come off an emotionally, mentally, or physically-draining weekend series, then turn around and play on a Tuesday night. With how strong the CCHA is, you have to be ready to play each game, or there is a good chance you'll get beat.

Jean from Orono, MN: Hey Justin, Dean Spiros, a sportswriter for the Minneapolis Tribune, says the best any team from the CCHA would do is a 5th place finish in a regular season schedule against all WCHA teams. How would you respond to that comment?
Justin Abdelkader: We haven't played any WCHA teams yet this year, but we have two tough matchups next week against Minnesota and Wisconsin in the Showcase with Michigan. With its history and success in the NCAA Tournament, I can see why the WCHA has earned respect as a great conference. The CCHA had a good showing last year, sending four teams to the Tournament, and there hasn't been a dropoff in the level of play between the teams. I think there are some good WCHA/CCHA matchups this year that will show how similar these conferences are.

Eddie: What do you think of your linemates Tim Crowder and Tim Kennedy? Where would you be without them?
Justin Abdelkader: I figure that since I'm already carrying them in the classroom, I might as well carry them on the ice ... I'm kidding. They are two of the best players that I've ever played with. It seems like from the first game we played together, we just gelled. We all bring different attributes to the game, and complement each other really well. They are not just good linemates, they are also really good teammates and friends.

The Big "D" York PA: Justin, There's a rumor out that as a team, the recipe for a run for the Frozen Four consists of eating 280lbs of meat in 15 hours. If this is true, I've done the math and that seems to be just over 10lbs per person. If this is true, that would have to be a new "CCHA Team record". How is this Hunger, Drive and Desire going to play out from now until the Christmas break. My guess is that Spartans are ready to show the world what "Spartans Hockey" is all about with friday nights CSTV's Friday Night Hockey game of the week down in South Bend.
Justin Abdelkader: The meat was a good source of protein. It was a lot of good memories and a lot of good times, eating all of that meat. I just want to give a shout out to Big D in Pennsylvania - hopefully that meat will lead us to a successful season. Thanks for your continued support - we really appreciate it.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Justin this afternoon.
Justin Abdelkader: Thanks having me on the chat. I really enjoyed answering all of your questions. I might as well give a little shout out to my linemates Tim Crowder and Tim Kennedy, too, and also to my parents back home in Muskegon. Go Green, Go White, Go State!
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for our first chat this afternoon, but be sure to come back at the top of the hour, as we welcome Alaska-Anchorage head coach Dave Shyiak. Also, remember, you can see two of the Spartans' next three games on CSTV and online with CSTV Pay-Per-View: this Friday at 8 p.m. ET against Notre Dame, and one week from today at 7:30 p.m. ET against Michigan.

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