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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With RPI Head Coach Seth Appert

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 21st at 3:00 p.m. ET, Rensselaer Head Coach Seth Appert enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Engineers will host college hockey's oldest holiday tournament, the 56th annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament, on Thanksgiving weekend, with Colgate, Niagara and Ohio State as the other participants.

Seth Appert

Seth Appert is in his first season as the head coach of the men's ice hockey program and becomes the 12th head men's hockey coach in Rensselaer's storied hockey history.

Prior to joining Rensselaer, Appert spent nine seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Denver, where he was responsible for recruiting, on-ice coaching, video breakdown, and game analysis work. He also played a big role in the development of Denver's goaltenders. A collegiate netminder at Ferris State University, Appert individually coached one All-American, two All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) honorees, two WCHA Playoff Most Valuable Players, and two Frozen Four Most Outstanding Players at Denver. Three of his goaltenders were draft picks of the National Hockey League, including one Hobey Baker Award finalist. Two of those netminders played in the NHL last season.

A four-year letterwinner at Ferris State from 1992-96, Appert and his wife, Jill, have one child, a daughter, Addison.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Seth won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 21st, 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 the second of today's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats, presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're joined now by RPI head coach Seth Appert.
Seth Appert: Thank you for having me on, and I appreciate all of our fans at RPI and college hockey fans for writing in.

Fred (VT): Coming into the season I was excited, but still expected a traditional "rebuilding season". The strong start made me believe that this team really could make waves in the ECACHL. I want to know what is your higher priority, winning or teaching the skills and systems that will define this team for years to com? Thanks!
Seth Appert: Great question. We believe we can do both. Winning is important, but more important is the process of learning how to win and developing the consistency with our habits and skills to be successful this season and for years to come.

Scottie J: Being 9 games into the Campagin what parts of the Game plan does the Engineers need to continue to develop As the Schedule progress toward League play?
Seth Appert: We are pleased with our offensive development to this point in the season, but we still need to become a better transition team. We want to play an up tempo style and to be effective within that style we need to improve our defensive gaps and backchecking habits to quickly convert them into offensive opportunities.

AJ (Troy, NY): Seth, You've had quite a bit of time in the area now, so what do you think of the Capital District and the RPI faithful?
Seth Appert: I am really enjoying my time in this area. It is a beautiful area of the country and we appreciate the warm reception we have received from the RPI community and the Capital District.

Pete NYC: Seth: The team is off to a great start and the fanbase is more than enthused. Can you speak about the atmosphere of the Field House vs. what you had at Denver.
Seth Appert: The atmosphere in the Field House is one of the best I have seen in all of college hockey. Denver has an outstanding new facility and a very good fan base but our crowd can really energize our team with their intensity and noise.

Ed (Troy, NY): Last week's first home loss against Sacred Heart was a bit disappointing. How do you feel our prospects are coming into the tournament this coming weekend? How is the team's confidence holding up just coming out of the loss?
Seth Appert: The loss was a disappointment. Sacred Heart is a very good team and we played 53 minutes of very good hockey but we need to continue to develop our understanding of how quickly games can turn if we lose our intensity or focus. This weekend will provide a very difficult challenge. Niagara is the top team in its conference right now and has a good shot at being an NCAA tournament team this year. They have a very good PP and one of the top offensive lines in the country.

Jonathan from Toronto: Hey Coach Appert Firstly, I want to commend you on a great job so far this season. I am a big juniour hockey fan from Toronto, and have watched both Seth Klerer and Oren Eizenman. What have you thought of their play together, and what would you like to see out of both of them as the season progresses?
Seth Appert: Thank you. Seth and Oren have both played well to this point in the season. They are not on the same line currently but do play on the PP together. We expected this type of play out of Oren but Seth has been a very pleasant surprise to this point in the season. They are both intelligent offensive players who make their teammates better. We expect them to continue to be some of the best players on our team and in our league.

Aaron (Troy): In the past, RPI seemed to play to the level of its competition. The ECAC has definetly evened out this year, so there are no free wins, how are you preparing the players to go out and play hard and win the games you know you should win?
Seth Appert: I don't know if there are any games we know we should win. College hockey is very competitive with our league being a good example of that. We prepare our players not based upon winning but based on preparation and daily habits to give ourselves the best opportunity to have success night in and out.

Troy, NY: Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Coach Appert. It is my understanding that it was your decision to ban the Puckman mascot from RPI hockey games. If this is true, please explain your reasoning behind this decision. Also, if you are not the individual who made this decision, who made the decision and why was it made?
Seth Appert: Puckman is not banned from our games and I did not make any decisions on that topic. Puckman's costume was damaged at the end of last year and a new one is on order but has been delayed. Puckman will probably not be used as prominently on the ice or jerseys but we will still wear the shoulder patch and the Puckman Mascot will be back very soon.

Ed (Troy, NY): There has been quite a debate on campus about whether or not the Red Army (student club) is helping or hurting RPI hockey by standing during games. Do you have any thoughts on this issue?
Seth Appert: First off, we appreciate the support and enthusiasm of the Red Army and all of our fans. The Red Army has been very helpful, not only at games, but also at helping promote our games across our campus. I do believe that they either have reached or are trying to reach some type of compromise on the standing at the games. We enjoy the support of our great fans and hope that you can all find some middle ground to continue to cheer your team on while not arguing with each other.

Walter (Troy,NY): Great start,forget the record were in every game.I recently read were you are going to do a lot of recruiting from the U-18 development team and USHL league,will we see those players filtering in next year('07-"08) or is that class still from the old regime.Keep up the great work!!!!!
Seth Appert: Thank you. Our staff, and especially assistant coaches Shawn Kurulak and Jim Montgomery are hard at work assembling a first rate recruiting class. We are looking in the USHL, U-18 as well as many other junior and prep school leagues throughout the US and Canada to find the best student athletes to fit our program at RPI. We think that our fans will be excited about the type of product that we put on the ice at the Houston Field House.

Garrison, St. Louis: Coach Appert, you have a knack for recruiting talented kids who are under the radar and getting them to their potential. When recruiting, do you consider personality types as much as you do talent, and how much do you try and envision how a recruit might fit in with some existing line or player (that may be missing something)?
Seth Appert: We do consider and look hard at personality types when recruiting. We want talented student athletes but also the right type of young men that will fit in our family atmosphere at RPI. The better we know them the easier it is to coach them and motivate them once on campus. We will envision how a player will fit in with our team style and philosophy of how we play. We do not look as much into how they may fit with players that are already in our program.

Edmond J., from Bloomington, Indiana: Coach I wanted to know what you look for when recruiting a goalie? Glenn Fisher couldn't have been a blue chip, could he? And yet look at him now.
Seth Appert: When I was at Denver, we were able to make some good early calls on Berkhoel, Fisher and Mannino. Steve Miller, the recruiting coordinator at Denver, had a lot to do with that. When looking at goalies the first thing that grabs my attention is athletic ability. You need to be athletic within the position you play. The second thing is presence in net. I want our goalie to be a calming influence on his team through his confidence and his play. The last thing is competitiveness. You need to be a very strong internal competitor to be a great goalie. I am very happy to see how well Glenn Fisher is playing right now at Denver.

Frank (NJ): I'm sure you're asked about it a lot, but you've got two great goalies on the team. What is your plan, keep the rotation, ride the hot netminder, solid #1? Go Red!
Seth Appert: We will constantly evaluate our goaltending position like we do with all of our positions on the team. We are not set on the rotation but it has worked pretty well to this point. We believe that Jordan and Mathias are two of the top goalies in the ECAC if not the country and we feel good with either going out and winning games.

Tom (Schenectady): Kirk McDonald appears to be back at full strength after his battle with cancer. Is Kirk satisfied with his on ice performance at this point of the season?
Seth Appert: It is a great story and we are thrilled to have Kirk healthy and back where he belongs, on the ice at the Field House. Kirk is the type of young man that isn't easily satisfied with his performance. He is demanding of himself and works hard at his game. He has played well but I think you can see in the last few games that his mind is clicking closer to the way he wants it to. We all need to remember that he had not played a game in 1 1/2 years. That is a long time mentally as well as physically.

Craig (Albany): Seth - Would getting RPI into the NCAAs go above and beyond your expectations for your first year? Because we're excited that it might happen!
Seth Appert: We are not really concerning ourselves with expectations or where we may be in March. We are trying to focus on the details of our game and the daily habits needed to give ourselves an opportunity for success. All we are concerning ourselves with right now is getting a little better each day and preparing to play Niagara on Friday night.
Seth Appert: We are not really concerning ourselves with expectations or where we may be in March. We are trying to focus on the details of our game and the daily habits needed to give ourselves an opportunity for success. All we are concerning ourselves with right now is getting a little better each day and preparing to play Niagara on Friday night.
Seth Appert: We are not really concerning ourselves with expectations or where we may be in March. We are trying to focus on the details of our game and the daily habits needed to give ourselves an opportunity for success. All we are concerning ourselves with right now is getting a little better each day and preparing to play Niagara on Friday night.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Appert this afternoon.
Seth Appert: Thank you to all the college hockey fans for the great questions and remember to bring non-perishable items again this weekend as we continue our effort to help the Unity House of Troy.
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Be sure to check back for info on next week, when we'll have Colorado College coach Scott Owens and a second guest to be announced. Also, for you RPI fans who won't be at the Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament this weekend, keep an eye on the Rink Rat blog at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat, as I'll be blogging live from Friday's games. Have a good one!

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