Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With New Hampshire Head Coach Dick Umile

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, December 11 at 1:00 ET, New Hampshire Head Coach Dick Umile pays a visit to "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com. The Wildcats face rival Maine on Sunday, December 16.

Dick Umile

Dick Umile, a five-time Hockey East Coach of the Year, enters his 18th season as the head coach of the UNH Wildcats and after signing a long-term contract extension in the summer of 2000, Umile will close out his coaching career at his alma mater.

Umile has transformed UNH hockey into one of the top programs in all of Division I hockey, guiding the Wildcats to four Frozen Four appearances, 13  NCAA tournament appearances and 17 Hockey East championship tournament showings in his 17-year career in Durham.

In addition, Umile has posted 15 20-victory campaigns over the span of 17 seasons, including a current streak of 11 20-win seasons. Umile is now the winningest coach in the history of UNH hockey with 399 career victories. He surpassed legendary coach Charlie Holt on February 16, 2005 in a 6-1 victory at Merrimack at Thom Lawler Arena in North Andover, Mass. Coach Umile ranks third among active NCAA coaches with a .651 winning percentage and on the active victories list his 399 victories ranks ninth among NCAA coaches. He has been named Coach of the Year a total of nine times in his career, including New England honors three times. Umile's five Hockey East Coach of the Year Awards is an all-time league best.

Last season, Umile helped the `Cats to the team's sixth Hockey East regular-season title and their sixth straight NCAA Tournament apperance with a 26-11-2 overall record and a 18-7-2 mark in conference play.

After graduating from UNH in 1972, Umile began his coaching career in the Massachusetts public school system in Wakefield and Melrose. He served as the head hockey coach at Watertown (Mass.) High School for 10 seasons and scouted for the St. Louis Blues in New England for two years. Guiding Watertown to two Middlesex League titles, he was also named the Boston Globe Division I Coach of the Year in 1984. Umile debuted in the collegiate coaching ranks at Providence College, where he coached for two seasons under former Friar mentor Mike McShane (UNH `71).

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Dick won't be stopping by until 3:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, October 17th, 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: Good afternoon, and welcome to "Tuesday @ the Rink" on CSTV.com, presented by CSTV and USCHO. We have two great chats lined up for today, so let's get started. We're joined now by New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile.
Dick Umile: I just want to welcome everybody and wish everybody Happy Holidays. It's great to be here to chat with everyone.

Matt (Boston, MA): Hey Coach Umile, what do you think about the parity that exists in Hockey East and two other than usual teams being up in the rankings with you guys at 9,10, and 11; that being UMass and Norhteastern. In addition, have you yet to see anything that shows that one of these teams will pull away from the pack?
Dick Umile: We've played against Northeastern three times this season, and they were all good games, very competitive. We only played UMass once, at their place this past weekend, and there's no doubt they along with Northeasten are two teams that have proven in the first half that they're going to be competing for home ice. I don't think it's a surprise, personally. I thought those two teams, along with Providence were going to be three teams to get in that top bracket. There's no question that those teams had a lot coming back and were three teams that were going to be competing for that top bracket. Northeastern has done a great job. Greg Cronin has done a terrific job. Brad Thiessen, their goaltender, played very well last season. He proved in the second half of last season that he was going to be a goaltender we'd all have to contend with. UMass, after losing Jonathan Quick - that was a big loss for them - but obviously their goaltender, Paul Dainton, is playing very well for them and has filled that spot very well. They're a solid team with good goaltending. Obviously, they're going to be competing for the top bracket, no question. It's only the first half, and not everyone's played the same number of games, but they're two teams, along with Providence, that are right there. I think the most important thing with this league is that everybody's competing for it. It's wide open at this point.

Jeff (Boston): Coach, with the current non-conventional standings in Hockey East, when will the critics stop saying that things will fix themselves by seasons end, and just realize that the two Boston schools just aren't as good as they're supposed to be this year, and that Northeastern really is this good this year?
Dick Umile: I think Boston University and Boston College are two very good teams. That hasn't gone away. I think what's happened is the schools that we talked about are right there competing along with those schools. It's still early, and it's not like BC and BU are out of it. They're two very good teams. If you look at the standings, one or two wins turns the whole thing around.

James (Farmington): Talk about the impact James vanRiemsdyk has had as a freshman and how the team will adjust without him over the next few games.
Dick Umile: Obviously, he's played extremely well for us. He's an extremely talented player. We're going to miss him for the next five games. Someone's got to step in and fill his spot. We're excited for him that he's representing the U.S. in the World Junior Championship, and we wish him and the U.S. team nothing but the best.

George(Durham,NH): Coach, can you explain your thought process in all the line shuffling that's been going on? Thanks and good luck against Maine!
Dick Umile: We're still trying to find out who we are. We've tried some different line combinations. Weh ave five or six freshmen that we play every night, and we're just trying to find the right combinations and the right chemistry. Some of the combinations have played together before, and there are some changes we're still trying with some of the other line combinations. We're hoping to find the right chemistry. Right now, obviously, we have to make some changes with James leaving for five games.

Justin (Durham): Coach, how do you feel about the matchup with Maine this coming weekend, especially after losing the last two games?
Dick Umile: I think everything gets thrown out when UNH and Maine play. You can forget what happened last week, or last month. This is UNH and Maine and we've always had fabulous games. This'll be no different. It'll always be very competitive. It'll all be determined on the ice on Sunday afternoon.

terry tucker: Powerplay seems to be struggling, noticed that you went with a 4 forward 1 defensemen approach in a game this year which seemed to create some more chances. Any chance we'll see more of that in man advantage or 4 on 4 situations in upcoming games?
Dick Umile: It's possible. Again, we haven't done a great job with our power play. We can't do anything but improve with our power play. There's always possibility of going with four forwards and a defenseman. We've tried that. Still, we're trying to find the right combination on our power play, as well as 5-on-5.

Ken (Concord): Coach, what do you see as the biggest challenge to this year's team in terms of finding success, and ultimately a National Championship, in this tumultuous college hockey world.
Dick Umile: We're worried about our next game first. Consistency in our game is the biggest thing we're working on right now. From a complete 60-minute game to developing confidence in our game, game-by-game, getting in a comfort zone.

Jake (Colorado Springs): How big was it for you to get Colorado College early and sweep them, given the way they've taken off since?
Dick Umile: Obviously, it could be huge at the end of the season, but that's why you play teams like Colorado College in your non-league schedule, to have an opportunity to play them, and have a weekend like that.

steve (Boston): How do you think the Olympic ice sheet affects your team's game, and what kind of preparation is required for playing teams on smaller sheets?
Dick Umile: We like the large sheet. It's great for development, but we do enjoy when we play at small rinks. Things happen quicker in a smaller rink, but we like that. During the season, on occasion, we'll go practice in Rochester or Exeter, but we're used to playing practices on a big sheet and going and playing games on a smaller rink. It's OK with us.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all we have with Coach Umile this afternoon.
Dick Umile: It's great to chat with you. Great questions. Hopefully, we can continue to improve.
CSTV.com Moderator: That will do it for the first of our CSTV.com "Tuesday @ the Rink" chats this afternoon, presented by CSTV and USCHO. We'll be back at the top of the hour with RPI head coach Seth Appert.