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Tuesday @ The Rink

CHAT LIVE With CSTV Hockey Analysts Billy Jaffe, Dave Starman and Adam Wodon

Welcome to the CSTV.com moderated chat room!

On Tuesday, December 20 at 1:00 p.m. ET, CSTV Hockey Analysts Billy Jaffe, Dave Starman and Adam Wodon all visit "Tuesday @ The Rink", presented by CSTV.com and USCHO.com to take your questions as the 2005-06 season nears the midway point.

Dave Starman

Dave Starman

Adam Wodon

Billy Jaffe is a veteran of CCHA games, having played college hockey for Michigan, served as an on-ice official for the League, and having broadcast numerous CCHA games, including the 2001 Cold War game between Michigan and Michigan State. Billy has been a member of the Atlanta Thrashers broadcast team since the 2000-01 season.

Dave Starman brings a unique coaching perspective to CSTV's coverage of college hockey. As a coach in both the professional and junior ranks, Starman can see behind the surface of the play and identify what makes teams and players tick. He brings insight into the mindset of both coaches and players and provides context and analysis to the actions on the ice.

Adam Wodon has been covering college since 1988, and has since been the play-by-play broadcaster for Princeton and Cornell, and in professional hockey. He worked at USCHO.com for nine years, and since 2003 has been an analyst for College Sports Television's regular college hockey coverage. In addition to more than a dozen years in the radio and newspaper business, he has also worked for ESPN, including work on the 2004 Frozen Four game broadcasts.

** GET YOUR QUESTIONS IN NOW!!: Billy, Dave and Adam won't be stopping by until 1:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, December 20th, but feel free to submit your questions now and we'll save them for his arrival!
CSTV.com Moderator: Welcome to a special three-headed chat to kick off today's "Tuesday @ The Rink". We are currently joined by CSTV hockey analysts Dave Starman and Adam Wodon. Billy Jaffe is running late this afternoon, but will be joining us shortly.
Dave Starman: Les salutations à tous nos lecteurs, et merci pour joindre nous. Hi everyone, Happy Holidays!
Adam Wodon: Happy Holidays hockey fans

Dale (Providence): Is Providence for real under Tim Army, or will they be exposed in the second half by two games each with BC, Maine and Vermont, not to mention all three games with UNH?
Dave Starman: Depth is the key. Lack of it kills any frontrunner in the second half. That is the key question for PC.
Adam Wodon: I certainly think they have a renewed enthusiasm and passion, and of course the players have taken a liking to his more open system. But that will only carry them so far. Clearly the jury is still out, but the key will be the long run, and the recruiting efforts.
Dave Starman: Army keeps them in them in the thick of this because he'll match with with those other teams. However, the players ultimately decide this.

Jon (Burlington): Which of the holiday tournaments are you most interested in?
Adam Wodon: Well, Jon, call me a suck up, if you will, but I am looking forward to the Sheraton tournament up your way - with Clarkson, Vermont, Dartmouth and Bemidji State. Four good teams all with a lot to prove.
Dave Starman: The Great Lakes Invitational...CC-Michigan is a heavyweight battle.
Adam Wodon: Clearly the best tournament this year is the Great Lakes Invitational, with Michigan-CC kicking things off, and Michigan Tech and MSU there too. The Florida tournament is always good - though a notch below past years. Cornell, Maine, Duluth and Northeastern.

Ken (Lansing): Michigan State seems to be underperforming again after a good start. I don't want to join the mob calling for Rick Comley's head, but I'm wondering what's going on here.
Adam Wodon: They had injuries, but did worse when everyone started coming back. They also had a tough schedule, but played worse against lesser teams. I'll let Dave handle the rest.
Dave Starman: Leave Rick's head alone!!! Awful schedule, bad injuries, and he has had to weed out some bad apples. Rick can coach, as can his staff. Goaltending has been just north of awful.

Ed (Canton): What kind of response/attention do you think the Clarkson-St. Lawrence game will get in Ottawa?
Dave Starman: The city should be riveted despite how well the Senators are playing.
Adam Wodon: That game is a great idea. It's prime recruiting territory for those teams, first of all. Perhaps with Clarkson alum Todd White no longer playing in Ottawa, it won't be so huge...but then again, Canton and Potsdam are only 1 hour from Ottawa, and they are expected to bring up tons of people.

Rob (Boston): Guys, what's the one team in the first half of the season that's most made you sit up and say, "Gee, didn't see THAT one coming?"
Adam Wodon: Hmmm. Well, I'd have said Harvard, and still do, despite Friday's setback to Dartmouth. The other one has to be Lake Superior State. They haven't crushed big teams or anything, but they have some quality wins, and have basically just been consistent (despite that sweep to Ohio State where coach Roque went off the deep end on the refs).
Dave Starman: I'll give you two.....one is Bemidji State, who has been in the Top 20 for parts of the season. The other is Lake Superior, who were 5-5-2 heading into the weekend and playing well. If Jakaitis stays hot, this could be the sleeper in the CCHA.

Tom (Bow, N.H.): UNH has one of the best lines in the country with Micflikier-Winnik-Hemingway, but came up scoreless recently against both Harvard and Merrimack. What do you think is going on?
Dave Starman: I've seen it way too many times, when the well goes dry, it really goes dry. Those guys can score, but one game or two games with no goals and they start doubting what comes naturally and then start pressing and then stop scoring.
Dave Starman: When you get keyed on every game, goals get tough to come by, and end of the semester, the intensity can drop a bit.
Adam Wodon: Problem is, they're a one-line team right now. Shut them down, and no one else is doing a thing. Other teams ain't dumb. Thing is, those other lines should be better. Once they are, it will open things up for the big three again.

Owen, Wilmette IL: Usually I am watching or attending CCHA games, but I watched several WCHA games on TV last weekend and was stunned by how much looser the officiating seemed in the WCHA games than what I have observed in the CCHA. Are you guys noticing a perceptible difference in the tightness of calling obstruction, interference, etc., among the leagues?
Adam Wodon: Absolutely. The CCHA is tightest, that's for sure. Because commissioner Tom Anastos was the spearhead behind the decision, he has made sure he keeps on top of his refs. The ECAC, HEA, CHA, Atlantic Hockey are pretty much right there, too.
Dave Starman: Noticing???? You bet, and it is a discussion point on every CSTV broadcast. The WCHA calls games much looser, yet there a significant number of checking from behind calls, and I think that has a lot to do with the Paukovich-Bina incident.
Adam Wodon: WCHA home office pretty much has no interest in getting on its officials to crack down.
Dave Starman: The CCHA calls it very tight, and I think a little too tight. I'm behind the philosophy that Tom Anastos has put forward to get the clutching out of the game. However, in actuality, these slight infractions are killing the game.
Dave Starman: I never thought I'd say this, but if its away from the play, put the whistle away.

Richard (New York): Dave, what's your favorite game that you've called this year?
Adam Wodon: Has Dave called games?
Dave Starman: Believe it or not, I really enjoyed the Northern-Western game last Sunday because I hadn't seen those teams, and the coaches were great to chat with. For excitement, I'd have to say the Minnesota-Denver game was pretty intense, and so was BC-UNH. Hey Wodon, leave studio yet???
Adam Wodon: Yeah - I saw Princeton-Harvard. That was, as you say, "riveting".

Harry (Columbus): Ohio State is back in the rankings this week. With as bad as things have seemed with this team, their record really isn't bad, even if it is beneath the high expectations at the start of the season. What is the truth as to how far the Buckeyes can go?
Dave Starman: I'll let you know after broadcasting four of their games on CSTV in January and early February. However, I'm told they look both beatable and unbeatable depending which teams shows up. I haven't seen them yet except for the BGSU game, and that was October.
Adam Wodon: Ohio State already thinks I pick on them too much .... but thing is, I'd love to see them do well. Problem is, until they can string together some big wins -- particularly in the NCAAs -- it's hard to really believe.
Dave Starman: Wodon, is there any team outside of Cornell that still likes you?
Adam Wodon: Well, I've been ripping them plenty this year -- so I'd say no.

Jordan (Ithaca): Looks like we could see a real logjam in the ECACHL in the second half. Harvard's outperformed expectations after the graduation losses, but Dartmouth put a hurting on them Friday. The North Country teams seem to be back, Colgate is still strong, and Cornell has been getting the job done, though it hasn't been pretty. How do you see all this shaking out in the second half?
CSTV.com Moderator: For those waiting for Billy Jaffe, we are still hoping to get him in the chat room before we are finished. He is running late from Thrashers practice.
Adam Wodon: Put em in a blender, chop em up, and spit em out ... Who knows. I'll tell you what, though - I really like Colgate and St. Lawrence. And I don't just mean ECACs -- I mean NCAAs. Cornell will be right there. Harvard is playing a bit over its head, but you never know - if the offense starts clicking again, look out. And Clarkson is picking up steam again. Dartmouth is an enigma, but VERY dangerous. In other words ... I've got no clue.
Dave Starman: Adam with no clue, now we have a good chat! Biggest understatement since Nixon said "I'm not a crook." Ha ha. With this type of parity, goaltending and special teams wins the conference. That could be Cornell. Harvard worries me, too thin.
Adam Wodon: How many pucks did you take to the head in your day? Oh wait, that would've required some actual playing time.

Matt (Boson): Maine has been up and down this year, how do you think things will play out in the second half of the season for them and the rest of hockey east?
Dave Starman: I like Maine, because they have depth, and they think offensive. I know defense wins championships, but they are so excited to play a high tempo game that they'll be tough down the stretch because of their enthusaism and energy. Goaltending has been up and down because of inexperience, and I'd hate to see Bishop have to outplay Schneider, or Regan in the playoffs. Maine is solid.
Adam Wodon: Before the year started, I really thought Maine was going to be much better than people thought. They've won some big games, and lost a couple to good teams. They seem in good shape. If they win the Florida tournament, it will put them in very good NCAA position. The scoring is much improved this year, and the goaltending hasn't fallen much.
Adam Wodon: As far as Hockey East, BC, UNH, Maine should run the table, BU is a threat

Bruce (Hartford): Who do you think has done the best coaching job of the first half?
Adam Wodon: Dave Poulin. He got out while he still had his hair, and is having fun in the studio with us.
Dave Starman: Don Lucia. Gophers have a kindergarten class of players in terms of youth and maturity, and still have stayed alive. Off ice problems are mounting, but so far he has kept this afloat. With all that is going on, if they stay close to the top, he's the coach of the year.

Jake (Erie, PA): No team looks that dominant in Hockey East, Bemidji and Mercyhurst look pretty good - as opposed to pretty good for the CHA and Atlantic - could we see a first-round upset in the NCAAs this year?
Adam Wodon: Well, it was closer than ever last year, and still it didn't happen in any bracket. This might sound stupid (quiet Dave) but it depends on who the No. 1 seeds wind up being. Some would be more ripe for the picking than others. Some teams could surprise during the season, be a No. 1 seed, and then be riped to get picked.
Dave Starman: If anyone pulls an upset, its Bemidji, and it might not be such an upset. They have an older team, more maturity, and play in a conference where travel is tough (ever try to get to Huntsville from Bemidji)? Bemidji came within a hair of knocking out Denver last season, and they know it.

Ron (Boston): Without putting you on the spot to pick specific teams for the Frozen Four, will we be hearing all this business about WCHA dominance again come March? How justified is it in the first place?
Adam Wodon: It's very justified, and yes, we'll be hearing about it. Three WCHA teams are in the Top 5 of KRACH (the best objective ratings system that exists in the universe) - and North Dakota is No. 7. Plus with Denver lurking at No. 15, does anyone really think they won't be somewhere up top by the end?
Dave Starman: Denver is real good. Minnesota is a very tough out if they get any goatending, Wisconsin is solid through four lines, and six D. Can Elliot stay fresh whereas Bruckler wore down under the weight of all that playing time. NoDak is pretty darn good. So if the WCHA has four again, no surprise.
Adam Wodon: I'd love for things to be more spread out around the country - but we all have to face facts: the WCHA is killing people on recruiting.
Dave Starman: Michigan has a ton of talent and a lot to prove, BC is always a threat as is UNH, and call me crazy, but Maine will be there in Milwaukee.
CSTV.com Moderator: That is all our time with Dave and Adam - unfortunately, we were never able to add Billy into the mix.
Adam Wodon: Enjoy the holidays everyone. Dave, try to keep the food intake to a minimum this year. Need to keep limber for those shot blocking displays.
Dave Starman: To my comrade in arms, Adam Wodon, I'll see you in studio January 27, try to be prepared, and on time. To Matt McConnell, my pxp partner, your Minnesota State sweatshirt is in the mail. Have a great holiday.
CSTV.com Moderator: Join us at the top of the hour, when our guest will be North Dakota forward Drew Stafford.

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