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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With Harvard Head Coach Ted Donato

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, December 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET, Harvard Head Coach Ted Donato enters the chatroom at "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Crimson face ECAC Hockey League rival Dartmouth on Saturday, December 16th on CSTV at 8 p.m. ET.

Ted Donato

Ted Donato, a former Harvard hockey captain who won an NCAA championship, played in the Olympics and enjoyed a 13-year NHL career, was introduced as the Robert D. Ziff Head Coach of Harvard men's ice hockey July 2, 2004. A 1991 graduate, Donato is just the sixth person to serve as Harvard's head coach since 1950. He is the eighth Harvard alum to serve as head coach at his alma mater. The appointment at Harvard is Donato's first coaching position.

As an undergraduate, Donato etched his name along the all-time greats in Harvard hockey history. He finished his career 11th on the Crimson's career scoring chart (50 goals, 94 assists, 144 points) and remains 12th in that category. He was named Most Valuable Player of the 1989 NCAA Frozen Four, where Harvard downed Minnesota, 4-3 in overtime, in the NCAA championship game.

Donato was selected by the Boston Bruins in the fifth round of the 1987 NHL Entry Draft (98th overall), and he signed with his hometown club in March 1992 following the Olympic Games. His 13-year professional career included stops in New York (with both the Rangers and Islanders), Los Angeles, Ottawa, Anaheim and St. Louis. He returned to the Bruins as a free agent in July 2003. He played in 796 games, in which he scored 150 goals with 197 assists for 347 points.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Ted won't be stopping by until 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 12th, 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 back to the second of our Tuesday @ the Rink chats, presented by CSTV.com and USCHO. We're joined now by Harvard head coach Ted Donato.
Coach Donato: Thanks to everybody following online. I'm always excited to talk about Harvard hockey and college hockey in general.

Jeff (Warwick): Coach, who is the biggest surprise team in the ECAC this year and what players have made it so for that team?
Coach Donato: I think there are a few surprise teams. The two teams that come to my mind right away would be Quinnipiac and Yale. I think both teams coming in were good teams, but both of them have gotten off to very good starts, and for a number of different reasons. Brandon Wong at Quinnipiac has been an immediate impact player, while at Yale, they've continued to get great goaltending and Sean Backman has also been very good early on. Obviously as a coach, I think both coaching staffs have done an excellent job also.

Carl (Needham, MA): Hi Coach, I expected the Harvard squad to give up some goals this season with a very young defense and inexperienced goaltending, What I didn't expect, however, was the offense to struggle so much. What are your thoughts as to why so few goals have been scored, particularly from the forwards?
Coach Donato: I think there are a number of reasons. One, we haven't been as dominant on our forecheck and in the offensive zone early on, I don't think we were willing to be factors in the tough areas in front of the net and around the net that you need to be to score goals. Our power play hasn't executed at the level that we feel it can, and that's been something that we want to work on. Offensively, from the defense on out, our execution needs to be a lot better, and we need to be able to use our speed in more ways to create scoring chances.

Nico from Nashua: Hi, Coach. Do you feel Harvard having fall semester exams in January puts your team at a disadvantage when it comes to playing the Beanpot and the latter half of your season in general?
Coach Donato: I think there's positives and negatives. Certainly, there is a competitive disadvantage with having our exams that late. However, I do believe the time off is in some way benefical both physically and mentally later in the season.

min (atlanta): Hi Coach Donato, 1. Are you surprised that the 1989 Harvard team remains the last ECAC team to win the NCAA title? 2. Do you think the Ivy League should increase its limit on the number of games? Thanks and happy holidays
Coach Donato: Yes, I am surprised. I thought the Cornell team of two years ago was a legitimate contender for a national championship. I also feel that the number of games is an interesting question. I don't feel it's an advantage or disadvantage necessarily between leagues that is the true difference-maker at this point. To me, right now, the season is drawn out pretty long in that it starts in October and ends in April, pretty much 80 percent of the school year for most schools.

Sarah from West Roxbury: Harvard has had European players in the not-too-distant past who have played at a high level, like Oliver Jonas and Michel Breistroff. Do you ever recruit players from Europe? Aren't there players over there that can help your program? Good luck this season!
Coach Donato: We are always looking for the best players, both in North America and overseas. I have a great appreciation for the skill level overseas, and would love, in the near future, to add some players with that background.

Chris, Burlington, Vermont: You and University of Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon go way back. How do you think he has done to reshape the Vermont hockey program? Judging by the times your Harvard team has played UVM under coach Sneddon would you say that they are a more physical team?
Coach Donato: I don't think so. We're 1-1-1 against them. I think Kevin has done a very good job at Vermont. His teams compete at a very high level. I have a great amount of respect for the way Kevin operates the Vermont program. I do not think that Vermont as a team is or has been any more physical than our Harvard program.

WM (Michigan): Hello Coach, Are you excited on the upcoming games at the GLI? What is your take on those games for your club? Thanks much!
Coach Donato: We're excited about being in the Great Lakes Invitational. The teams involved, obviously, give us a chance to gauge ourselves against some of the best talent in the country. We look forward to the opportunity to play well on a national stage.

Avan (Boston): Coach Donato, How much do you stress to your players about their conduct off the ice? I was wondering how strict you are with the rules after the unfortunate attack recently on 3 BU players. Thank you and good luck the rest of the season!
Coach Donato: We are constantly trying to educate our players in their activities both on and off the ice. Ultimately, we hope all our players make good decisions in all situations. I'm not blind to the fact that things happen, and as a coach you sometimes have very little control, and I only hope that our players look at some of these unfortunate instances when making future decisions.

Chris - Glastonbury, CT: How difficult is it to recruit at Harvard given the school's academic standards?
Coach Donato: I think that at times it can be difficult. However, I am very proud of the values which Harvard represents. We are always looking for kids willing to accept the great challenge of competing at the highest levels in both academics and athletics. We look for kids that are willing to compete at a level necessary to win championships and ultimately, these kids are rewarded with the value of a Harvard education for the rest of their lives.

John (Boston): Ted, No question this has been a difficult year - one where perhaps the record doesn't reflect the talent on paper. With that said, how have you learned from this adversity and how have you kept the kids positive and focused when the results to date have been so disappointing? Best of luck going forward!!
Coach Donato: While the results we've had so far have definitely been frustrating, I am by no means discouraged at the possibilities of this team for the rest of the season. The attitude and the atmosphere around the team are positive, and as a program, we feel that the results will follow.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all the time we have with Coach Donato this afternoon.
Coach Donato: Thanks for your questions. I hope the next time I'm on will be after a big turnaround.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for this week's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats. Remember that you can see Coach Donato and the Crimson take on No. 19 Dartmouth this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on CSTV.
CSTV.com Moderator: "Tuesday @ the Rink" will take a one-week hiatus next week, but will return on December 26 with Michigan Tech head coach Jamie Russell and a second guest to be named. Thanks, and see you "@ the Rink!"

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