Chat: Inside College Hockey
Pelley and the Buckeyes open the season by traveling to Colorado College for games on Friday and Saturday. Last season, Pelley finished second on the team in goals (22) and points (41). Even more is expected from Ohio State this season, with the return of its top six scorers from last season.
Send your questions now and join the guys on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET.
INCH Archive: Chats
Joe Gladziszewski (1:31 PM)
Welcome to this week's visit by Inside College Hockey to The Show at ESPN.com's SportsNation. We're joined by Rod Pelley of the Ohio State Buckeyes, and we'll field questions for him to start, and then some general questions on college hockey at the end of the chat.
Rod Pelley (1:31 PM)
It's great to be here, and I look forward to fielding your questions.
Anne (Columbus, Ohio)
Rod, what kind of preparation did you guys do this offseason? Did you step it up at all with the chance this team has to be really successful? Go Bucks!
Rod Pelley (1:34 PM)
We had 12-15 players stay around on campus this summer, starting two weeks after the season we were working out with our strength coach -- sprinting, quick feet drills, agility drills, and weight training. We also skated with some of the Blue Jackets players in some informal practices, players like Rick Nash, Geoff Sanderson, and Todd Marchant.
Rod Pelley (1:35 PM)
One thing I learned is how hard and accurate they pass the puck, and everything they do has a purpose. It's a real professional atmosphere. You realize when you see that why they're playing in the NHL.
Harry (Laconia, NH)
I've heard a lot about your goalie, Caruso. What makes him so good?
Rod Pelley (1:36 PM)
Dave Caruso, the first words that come out of my mouth are dedication and work ethic. He's exceptional. On our team, he's probably our best athlete. In the weight room, you wouldn't think a goalie is very strong, but he's one of the strongest guys and most flexible. His mindset before the game is like nobody I'd seen. He's focused, and always doing something to better himself.
Aaron (St Paul, MN)
Rod, can you guys live up to the billing that you are the favorites in the CCHA??
Rod Pelley (1:37 PM)
It's great to be seen around the league and by other coaches as potentially being a very good team this year, but you can't dwell on that. You have to go out and produce on the ice. It's good to put that in the back of your mind and use it as a confidence builder, but you also have to put it aside and go out and perform.
Any personal goals for this season, Rod?
Rod Pelley (1:38 PM)
Personally, I have goals to be in the top five in points in the CCHA; provide good leadership for the team; and a lot of my personal goals will include the team goals. I am a team guy, and anything that I achieve personally will be from the support of the guys on the team.
Steve (Washington, DC)
Rod, did you go to the Frozen Four games last year at the Schott? What were your impressions?
Rod Pelley (1:40 PM)
Yes, I went with some teammates to every game. It was tough to go there and watch other teams play in your home rink. It burns pretty hard and it motivated us to drive and work extra hard during the summer. When everyone got back this fall, we explained how hard that was and it gave us extra motivation.
Jon (Paw Paw, Mich.)
How do you guys respond to the added pressure of preseason expectations? Not to belittle your team, but it seems like you guys have gotten a lot of credit without a lot of past success.
Rod Pelley (1:42 PM)
What we do, is keep it within the dressing room. We don't want to get too high or too low as a team. We take that pressure and instead of putting it on one or two guys, you spread it to everyone on the team. That way, it's not such a heavy burden.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:42 PM)
You guys have a big weekend with games at Colorado College, one of those teams you saw last year in Columbus. Can you talk about that?
Rod Pelley (1:44 PM)
These two games, tomorrow and Saturday, are two of our most important games of the season. And it will be that way until the season comes down to crunch time. We've been focused on these two games since we've reported back to campus.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:44 PM)
And when the conference season starts, what do you expect? Who are some of the teams and players that you respect most?
Rod Pelley (1:46 PM)
You always have to respect Michigan. They are a young team but they have some talented recruits and they are a winning program. I also think Northern Michigan is a team that should be respected. They have tough defensemen that are difficult to play against. Also Nebraska-Omaha. The whole conference is going to be good and every night you have to bring your best effort. There won't be any games that we'll go into saying, "We can just win this game."
Joe Gladziszewski (1:47 PM)
I know it's a long way down the road, but are you guys looking forward to the game at Lambeau Field against Wisconsin?
Rod Pelley (1:48 PM)
It will be a great experience, a lot of the guys are looking forward to it. Some of the guys from British Columbia said they don't think it will be that cold. Nate Guenin played junior there and said they don't understand how cold it gets in Green Bay.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:49 PM)
That's all the time we have for Rod Pelley today. We appreciate him taking some time before practice to chat with us. Now, I'll field some questions as we have about 10 minutes remaining.
Aaron (St Paul, MN)
With the WCHA so strong again, can you see another all WCHA Frozen Four?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:52 PM)
I won't know that until the brackets are announced on Selection Sunday. Obviously, many of the top teams in the nation are playing in the WCHA. But, keep in mind, that Denver and Minnesota needed overtime to win games during their regionals last year, and CC had a challenge from Colgate and Michigan. One bounce or break in any of those games, and it might have been only one WCHA team in the Frozen Four.
Ricky (Dearborn, Mich.)
Joe, I know Michigan lost a lot, but there's a lot of talent there. Plus they're proven -- I can't see why they aren't favored over OSU.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:56 PM)
You may have answered your own question here, but I'll try to elaborate. The reason they're not favored is because they're unproven. Incredible talents like Johnson and Cogliano are always found on the Michigan roster. My biggest concern for the Wolverines is how Billy Sauer will handle the responsibility of being the number-one goalie. Of course, he's been the starter for every team he's played on in his career, but what about playing for a team with the prestige and reputation of the Wolverines? Every night, the opposition will be geared up to beat the Wolves. It's a playoff intensity every time they take the ice.
Steve: Troy, NY
What do you think of the ECAC? Do you think there will be any teams out of that conference that can challenge the best teams of Hockey East, the CCHA, and the WCHA for the NCAA crown? Cornell had a great season last year, but is there any other team that can play with the other conferences best?
Joe Gladziszewski (1:57 PM)
Steve -- Cornell is definitely the ECACHL team most capable of challenging for a national championship this season. They have the best goalie in the nation, enough talented forwards to get goals, and a trademark defense that is big, disciplined, and mobile.
Joe Gladziszewski (1:59 PM)
As far as other teams in the league are concerned. St. Lawrence proved last weekend that they shouldn't be taken lightly with an overtime win at Wisconsin. They have two more non-conference tests against Providence and UMass this weekend at home. Also, look for Dartmouth and Colgate to be a part of the national scene this year. Those are talented teams that could make some noise with non-conference wins.
Joe Gladziszewski (2:00 PM)
Thanks for all of the questions. Of course, as is the case every week, there were many questions that we couldn't get to. We've saved them, and will address some of those with our college hockey writers and editors from around the country on next week's INCH Podcast, a weekly feature that debuted on Tuesday.