Inside College Hockey w/Michigan's Jeff Tambellini
Mike Eidelbes (1:30 PM)
Welcome to 'The Show' and thanks for joining Inside College Hockey on ESPN.com this afternoon! Hard to believe the 2004-05 season is underway. We'll be here every Thursday at this time for the rest of the year.
Mike Eidelbes (1:31 PM)
Joining us this afternoon is one of the standouts for the top ranked team in INCH's preseason poll, forward Jeff Tambellini from the University of Michigan.
Jeff Tambellini (1:31 PM)
Thanks for having me...I'm ready to answer your questions.
Dave (Arlington Heights, IL)
Jeff, How has Red been preparing you and the team for the "proper rules enforcement" that the NCAA has told everyone to expect this season -- especially in terms of clutch and grab? Thanks.
Jeff Tambellini (1:32 PM)
Coach has started off with a lot of video and talks about how he thinks the games will be called and how we should be able to react to different situations because of the rule changes.
Jeff Tambellini (1:33 PM)
I think it's a great addition to the game. Any time you can take out the clutching and grabbing, it's a positive. In the end, it'll really pay off for the game.
John (Dayton, OH)
Do you feel like this years theme is unfinished business or do you take the approach that every year brings new things? See you at the Lefty McFadden tournament! GO BLUE
Jeff Tambellini (1:34 PM)
I think it's a mix of both for us. Since there are so many players coming back from last season, we feel we have something to prove and could've been at the Frozen Four. But it's exciting to come back and get a new start. Everyone is refreshed and ready to get back at it.
Nick (Boca Raton, FL)
Hey Jeff, seeing how you guys are almost flawless at Yost, what do you think Michigan needs to do to eliminate road losses?
Jeff Tambellini (1:36 PM)
I don't know if it's a mix of not being prepared or not being able to win on the road. In college hockey, it's key to win on the road. It's the difference between a first place team and a fourth place team. We need to bear down and do the little things this year.
Baxter (Warren, MI)
Would anything less than an NCAA championship be a disappointment this season?
Jeff Tambellini (1:37 PM)
That's our main goal right now. Nothing else is really going to get into our way. Anything less is going to be a disappointment. This is the best team Michigan has had in the last couple of years. Our sights are set pretty high this season.
Jeff Tambellini (1:38 PM)
That's the reason guys come to Michigan...to play for a national title every year. They know the program's deep and they're always going to be in the running for it.
With Michigan voted as #1 in the INCH poll, is there more pressure for Michigan and you to win the NCAA Championships this year especially with most of the key players coming back to Michigan? Also, do you feel more pressure to step up this year as the numbers you posted last year were not up to par compared to your freshman year stats? Good luck and GO BLUE!
Jeff Tambellini (1:39 PM)
With us being No. 1, I don't think it creates extra pressure in the bad sense. We have a lot to prove. It's good the expectations are set high. Everyone is going to prepare much harder for every game because of them.
Jeff Tambellini (1:41 PM)
In regards to point production, I never try to put too much pressure on myself to produce. I'm excited to be a big part of this team and help us advance deep into the playoffs...and through April.
Jon (Atlanta, GA)
Jeff - was wondering about the effect of having your dad being a former NHLer ... how does speaking with your dad about your game help you? What are your favorite memories if any of your dad as a player?
Jeff Tambellini (1:43 PM)
Having my father in the business has been a great influence. He's been able to show me the business both on the ice and off the ice. The best memory was as a young kid, I was around the Vancouver Canucks and able to absorb the atmosphere around the team during their great days in the early '90s.
Jeff, which team are you looking forward to playing against the most?
Jeff Tambellini (1:45 PM)
Our team always gets excited for big out-of-conference games like Minnesota and Wisconsin. And of course our main rivals - like Michigan State - really bring out the best in all of us.
Jeff, are you afraid there won't be an NHL when you are finished with College?
Jeff Tambellini (1:46 PM)
I think by the time I'm done, hopefully they'll have the CBA figured out. I've got two years remaining at Michigan, but you never know in these days.
Mike (Northville, Michigan)
Jeff, How are the two freshman, Kevin Porter and Chad Kolarik fitting in with the team? What type of players are they and do you see them contributing right away? Thanks and good luck this season.
Jeff Tambellini (1:48 PM)
They're both going to be big influences on the team. Kevin is a great two-way player with a great shot. Chad is an offensively gifted player with great hands. They'll be important parts of the power play and will be great additions to all aspects of our team.
How do you feel about the tournament this weekend? Especially with the game against BU, knowing the history the 2 teams have.
Jeff Tambellini (1:50 PM)
We're always excited anytime we can start the season off with two big non-conference games. I think over the years, everyone recognizes the importance of non-conference games, especially in regards to our national ranking.
Jeff, who in the NHL do you pattern your game after, if any? Favorite player of all time? GO BLUE!!!
Jeff Tambellini (1:51 PM)
I try to pattern my game after guys like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg. They're offensively gifted, but they're known for their two-way skills as well and have shown great leadership abilities throughout their careers.
Steve (Aurora, CO)
How did you decide to go to Michigan? Why not junior hockey or another program? What other schools were you considering?
Jeff Tambellini (1:53 PM)
I made my decision based on what was the best choice for me as an 18- to 22-year-old player. The collegiate route was the best fit for me on and off the ice. The other schools I considered were Boston College, Boston U. and Michigan State.
Jeff, once the NHL is back underway ... are you a Kings fan or a Canucks fan?
Jeff Tambellini (1:55 PM)
I'm a bit of both. Signing with the Kings one day will change my views a bit, but until then I'm right in between.
Mike Eidelbes (1:56 PM)
In case you didn't know, Jeff's dad is assistant G.M. of the Vancouver Canucks. Jeff was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NHL Draft by Los Angeles.
Mike Eidelbes (1:56 PM)
We've got time for one more question.
Jeff (Macomb, MI)
Jeff: Did you seriously consider moving on to the pro game with the LA Kings over the summer and who will be the most improved player this year? See you in Columbus!
Jeff Tambellini (1:57 PM)
I thought coming back for my third year would be the best decision. I didn't have any thoughts of leaving. This is going to be a great team and I'm excited to hopefully be a part of a national championship season. In regards to who will be the most improved, I think defenseman Tim Cook will make a big jump this year. He'll bring some physical play and a lot of heart and character to the lineup.
Jeff Tambellini (1:58 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. I've got to get to practice, then it's off to Dayton for the Lefty McFadden Tournament.
Mike Eidelbes (1:59 PM)
Thanks, Jeff...and thanks to you for all your great questions. Make sure you join us next week for more Inside College Hockey chat on ESPN.com!