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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Colorado Head Coach Scott Owens

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, November 28 at 3:00 p.m. ET, Colorado College Head Coach Scott Owens enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com.

Scott Owens

Now in his eighth season as head coach at Colorado College, Scott Owens already has reserved a special niche in the annals of Tiger Hockey, having won more games than any of his 12 predecessors in the program's 67-year history.

His teams have averaged more than 25 victories per year since he accepted the position. The 31 triumphs in 2004-05 represents the program's second highest total ever. It's no mere coincidence that the Tigers have kept a firm foothold among college hockey's elite, while attendance figures at the Colorado Springs World Arena continue to rank among the nation's best.

A 1979 graduate with a bachelor's degree in business administration, Owens lettered for four seasons as a goaltender with the Tigers. He later spent four campaigns (1991-95) as a member of the Colorado College coaching staff, serving as recruiting coordinator and playing a key role in the program's revival in the mid '90s. He was promoted to associate head coach for the final two years of that stay. Before leaving to become head coach and general manager of the Des Moines Buccaneers in 1995, he had helped lead CC to its first of five consecutive appearances in the NCAA playoffs as well as two of three straight regular-season championships in the WCHA.

The 47-year-old Owens, who coached the South at '86 and '87 U.S. Olympic Festivals, also spent five years as a player, assistant coach and youth program coordinator for the Kempten Ice Hockey Club in Kempten, West Germany, after graduating from CC in 1979. He and his wife, Sally, were married on New Year's Eve, 2001. He has two step-sons, Evan and Sean, ages 21 and 18.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Scott won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, November 28th, 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 the second of our Tuesday @ the Rink chats. We're joined now by Colorado College head coach Scott Owens.
Coach Owens: It's nice to be with you this afternoon. I'm looking forward to answering some questions.

Bryan (Colorado Springs): CC has not beaten DU in 7 straight games. How is this year's squad prepared to bring the Gold Pan back to the World Arena?
Coach Owens: Well, there's no doubt that we've had problems with Denver the last few years. Hopefully, our hard work and our fans at the World Arena Friday night will help set the tone for us this year. Obviously, it's a new look for us, a new team, but we've been playing better of late.

Todd (Buena Vista, CO): Coach, it seems that during the last couple of seasons, DU's Peter Mannino has had uncanny success against the CC Tigers, especially in big games. Is there a mental aspect within the Tiger team that needs to change for CC to have success against this particular goalie?
Coach Owens: He has had success against us, and I don't think there's really a mental approach. We need to work harder in the goal-scoring areas to make his job more difficult, but both of their goalies are playing well right now, and we anticipate seeing both of them.

Tad Thrasher (Aurora): With your team being so young, how do you feel the team is progressing? Keep up the great work, and see ya at the game on Friday night.
Coach Owens: I think we're making some progress. We've won five of six league games, which is a good step in the right direction. We've still got a ways to go, especially defensively, but we're not displeased with our record at this point of the year.

Julie (Colorado Springs): In this morning's paper, we read about how our youth and inexperience if affecting us in losses (at Minnesota, North Dakota). We have 14 Fr and So players, North Dakota has 17 and Minnesota has 14. What's the difference? They also seem to be as young and inexperienced as we are and yet they appear to be playing "older". Is it recruiting? Is it caliber?
Coach Owens: I would agree that many of the teams in our league are playing freshmen and sophomores. It is a young league with so many players signing pro contracts. We're no exception. We do have youthfulness and inexperience at key positions. Many teams, with the exception of Minnesota, are experiencing inconsistent weekends of play (games, periods, periods of time within games), and that's been the case, particularly on the road on second nights in places like North Dakota and Minnesota. We hope to be stronger and more consistent the second half of the year as we gain experience.

Joe, Colorado Springs: What needs to happen defensively to improve the situation?
Coach Owens: I think we need to continue to improve upon our team defense, which includes many things: rush defense, playing tighter in our own end, and not turning the puck over. We've seen nice improvements in penalty killing, and we're seeing signs of improved defensive play. We need to keep working as team, we need to let three freshmen defensemen get older, and we need to get the forwards to help out more in our own end.
Coach Owens: I think it helps. However, I think it's primarily been recruiting coordinator Norm Bazin who has identified these goaltenders. We certainly have a type or style of goaltender that we think does well in our program, and hopefully, we'll have continued success in net in the future with Drew O'Connell and Richard Bachman.

Adam (Colorado Springs): Who is your biggest surprise in terms of positive consistent performance thus far in the season? Which freshman are you most imressed with?
Coach Owens: I think the biggest surprise in terms of consistent play is Scott McCulloch. Freshmen, obviously Billy Sweatt, and I've been equally impressed with all three of our freshman defensemen.

Jeff (Rochester): How is Scott Thauwald doing with the leg injury from last year? How will he help the CC Tigers make a run in the WCHA playoffs and possibly further?
Coach Owens: We've been very pleased with Scott. His knee is one hundred percent. It's taken him about ten games to get into the flow, having been out a year and a half. He's playing center for us, he may ultimately play wing. He's a very good penalty killer, the fourth or fifth leading scorer on the team, and a great team player.

Jonathan (Lafayette Hill, PA): Do you think the explosion of youth hockey in Colorado will result in more local kids playing for CC in the future? The Boston area D-1 colleges seem to have more local kids playing close to home. Good luck this weekend against Denver and the rest of the season!
Coach Owens: Absolutely. I think you're already starting to see it, both at CC and Denver, and to a certain extent, Air Force. We've got an incoming goalie from Denver. We've got three Colorado kids on our roster, and Denver has at least that many. There's been a good influx of midget hockey, and now it's a matter of continuing to track these guys and seeing how they continue to play and develop.

Todd (Buena Vista, CO): Us hockey fans in Colorado have enjoyed the "Gold Pan" series over the years. Rumor has it that you have designed a new Gold Pan Trophy since the old one disappeared after DU's success at the national level. Could you please describe to us what this new trophy will look like?
Coach Owens: It's true. There's a new Gold Pan that is being designed. It's being done by the Cripple Creek and Victor Mining Company, and it'll be completed by our March series, and it's going to be very nice. We'd prefer not to go into the details right now.

Susie, Colorado Springs: Drew O'Connell has shown great improvement from last season and seems to be developing into a stellar goalie. Would you ever consider rotating he and Zaba as the season progresses?
Coach Owens: I wouldn't rule it out, but Matt's our senior go-to guy, and we've been pleased with his play. However, Drew has performed well when given the chance, and will be counted on to continue to do that. We just need to see how the season plays out.

Todd (Buena Vista, CO): The initial predictions by the "experts" this year had CC being in a rebuilding mode. However, CC seems to have exceeded expectations with a fast start to this season. What would you say are the biggest reasons for this intitial success and what are the keys for that success to continue?
Coach Owens: I think one of the reasons that we're having success is that we're playing a good team game. We have many different poeple contributing from night to night. In order for us to continue this, we just need to stay on track, grow as a team, get better defensively, and focus on the last two months of the season, and being in postion (standings-wise) and tying to play good hockey.

Kevin McTernan: How does your coaching strategy change to accommodate such a different team makeup this year, both in terms of changed offensive strategy and in the lack of concentrated(at least on-ice) leadership by one or two players?
Coach Owens: I think our entire staff needs to be more patient, more hands-on, and not be afraid to make mistakes. There's certainly more teaching going on, and I think we're looking more down the road and not allowing ourselves to get distracted by short-term failures and short-term victories. It's more of a big-picture year.

Andrew (Plymouth, NH): What was your plan of attack against Dick Umile and his high powered offense? Which line was your main focus on shutting down?
Coach Owens: Our plan of attack on the Friday was to jump them offensively, seeing that they hadn't played any games yet, but the concussion to Prosser and the DQ to Ganon forced us to play shorthanded for over 50 minutes (defenseman-wise). Friday was a great game that we just came up short. We actually played quite well considering that it was four defensemen. Saturday, their high-powered forwards got on a roll, but they've done that to a few other good teams, too.

Paul,Chicago: How would you compare and contrast the Sweatt boys as players?
Coach Owens: First of all, one's a forward and one's a defenseman. Billy has phenomenal speed, and can make things happen because of it. Lee is a hard-nosed, competitive defenseman, but they're both great team players with a very high competitive level. It's a pleasure to have them playing together here at CC for the year.

Mark (St. Louis): Coach Owens How much video work do you do before playing an opponent as opposed to video work after playing an oppontent? Thanks
Coach Owens: We do a significant amount of video work in preparing for our opponents. Assistant coach Joe Bonnett does an exceptional job with the game prep. We'll spend 25 minutes as a team on Thursdays going through tendencies, and then on Mondays and Tuesdays we'll look for teaching clips from the past weekend.

Mike (Lakeville, MN): Hello Scott, I know it's early in the year, but based on what you've seen what are your expectations of your team for the year and who is the best team you have seen or faced to this point?
Coach Owens: Our expectations are to be competing for home ice in the WCHA, and that's a tough battle. Secondly, I want to be playing our best hockey in February and March, so we're trying to continue to work on the little aspects of our game to get better. For us, Minnesota was, heads and shoulders, the best team we've played and New Hampshire was very impressive. I also think North Dakota is going to have more success record-wise as they get healthy. Denver's always good, and we'll see them firsthand this weekend.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Owens this afternoon.
Coach Owens: Thanks for your interest and your good questions.
CSTV.com Moderator: That'll do it for today's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Keep checking back for more info on next week's guests.

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