Chat: Inside College Hockey
Chambers covers the defending champion Denver Pioneers and the WCHA for the Post. Denver leads a group of four WCHA teams into the Frozen Four in Columbus, where the puck drops a week from Thursday, April 7. The Pioneers will face rival Colorado College (2 p.m. ET, ESPN2), while Minnesota meets North Dakota (7 p.m. ET., ESPN2).
Send your questions now and join the guys on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Buzzmaster (12:56 PM)
Helloooooooo! We'll be talking Frozen Four at 1:30 ET so send your questions now for the gang at Inside College Hockey! They will also be joined by Mike Chambers who covers the defending champion Denver Pioneers and the WCHA for the Denver Post.
Mike Eidelbes (1:33 PM)
Welcome back to INCH on The Show...the Frozen Four is just a week away and it's an all-WCHA affair with Denver, Colorado College, Minnesota and North Dakota on the docket for Columbus. We're joined today by Mike Chambers, college hockey beat writer for the Denver Post.
Mike Chambers (1:34 PM)
I'm here and ready for your questions...
Petey (Amherst, MA)
What has it been with DU on Fridays lately? I know in their first game here in Amherst, they looked sluggish.
Mike Chambers (1:36 PM)
Fisher in net. I hate to say this about any college kid, but DU's got a possible problem in goal if they go with Fisher against CC next week. The difference in the numbers tell a big story, but the real sign is the way the team plays in front of Mannino as opposed to Fisher. I think the team has a lot more confidence in Mannino.
Keith (Grand Rapids)
How tough is it to pick a Hobey guy between Sertich and Sterling?
Mike Chambers (1:37 PM)
It's very difficult, but in my mind you go with Sterling just because he leads the nation in goals with 32. It's easy to get second assists, especially on the power play. It's a lot harder to get those 32 goals.
Christopher (Duluth, MN)
Mike, can you break down Carle and Skinner's games a bit? What makes them so good, and who would you pick if you could only have one?
Mike Chambers (1:39 PM)
I'd go with Carle if I had to choose. He's more of a goal scorer and he's a better defender, but I think they certainly complement each other very well.
Jon (Houghton, Mich.)
How would you compare the talent from this year's team to last year's squad? Also, can you talk about how much of an impact Magness Arena has had on recruiting at DU in recent years?
Mike Chambers (1:43 PM)
No question, this DU team is better than last year -- more goal scorers, more experience and strength on the blue line, and Mannino has posted better regular-season numbers than Berkhoel. Overall, the experience of this team at this point in the year makes Denver better than last year's team.
Mike Chambers (1:45 PM)
As far as Magness Arena, it's been a definite benefit, but it's taken awhile. This season was the perfect year to have the NHL lockout from DU's perspective -- they sold out every home game and added a lot of Avalanche fans who wouldn't normally go to DU games. The environment at Magness was the best I've seen in my 10 years of covering DU hockey.
What's been the key to the turnaround in Grand Forks?
Mike Chambers (1:47 PM)
They finally found a way to channel all that talent. The Sioux have been scary good all season defensively -- they've got the best defense in the tournament and with that, you're always going to be in close games.
Do you think that Minnesota has a good chance of winning the frozen four?
Mike Chambers (1:49 PM)
They've got at least a 25% chance. The Gophers' experience is certainly a plus, but I wouldn't say they're among the two favorites.
Mike, DU-CC games are often very chippy during the regular season, will we see that same style of play next week or will the players realize whats at stake and try to avoid those coincidental roughing penalties?
Mike Chambers (1:50 PM)
I don't think it'll be very chippy. The WCHA title game was relatively clean. I know that these teams respect each other a great deal, but one thing I've learned about this rivalry is that you really never know what's going to happen.
How much credit does Gwoz deserve for this year? Is this one of his best coaching jobs?
Mike Chambers (1:54 PM)
Absolutely. Gwozdecky has allowed his stars -- Gauthier, Carle, Skinner, Stastny -- to play the type of game they're best suited to play. In the past, it seems he's had a tug of war with his best players. I think a lot of credit to this year's success also needs to go to assistants Seth Appert and Steve Miller. They are perfect liaisons to Gwozdecky because both have very different personalities and strengths. I think a DU player always has a person to go to when he needs them.
Aaron (Mineapolis, MN)
What goaltender needs to be outstanding in order for their team to win it all?
Mike Chambers (1:56 PM)
It depends. If Fisher plays Thursday, he'll have to be more than outstanding to get DU to the title game. Beyond that, I can't find a weakness in any of the other four goaltenders who figure to play.
who is the top player in the frozen four?
Mike Chambers (1:58 PM)
I have a handful of 'em -- Matt Carle for DU, Mark Stuart for CC, Matt Greene for North Dakota and Kellen Briggs for Minnesota. They're the most important to their respective team's success or failure.
Mike Eidelbes (1:59 PM)
We've got time for one final question...
Anthony (Sherwood, AR)
Who do you think will win the Frozen Four?
Mike Chambers (2:00 PM)
I don't want to sound like a homer, but I think the champion will be the winner of the DU-CC game.
Mike Eidelbes (2:01 PM)
Thanks, Mike. We'll see you at the Frozen Four next week. And we'll see all of you there as well, via The Show. We'll be on live from Columbus Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.