Commentary

Carle: Garnering the spotlight

Updated: March 9, 2009, 3:22 PM ET
By David Carle | Special to ESPN.com

Editor's note: The day before the 2008 NHL draft, doctors determined David Carle had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that results in a thickening of the heart and could cause sudden death during physical activity. Carle was forced to retire from hockey but is now a student-assistant coach at the University of Denver, where he had originally signed to play. Carle is documenting the experience for ESPN.com.

Hey Hockey Fans,

Now that we are further along in our season, I think some of the things that I do for the team are beginning to be brought into light more. My role has become more defined, and from that I know I can be more effective and have a bigger impact as I focus on a couple of different things that I do.

Video breakdown is a big part of what we do here at the University of Denver. It is used as a tool to teach players, scout teams and make adjustments during games. After every Friday home game, the staff -- myself included -- watch the game in our team lounge and begin to break it down. The projector is brought down, and as we dive into our burritos, we begin identifying scoring chances for and against. We create video clips for the players who are involved with the scoring chances for them to watch the next morning. All six of us then start the game from the beginning, looking for points to show the team, things we can adjust for Saturday's game and individual clips for any of the players. The forum is pretty open, which leads to some entertaining discussions that can last for a while.

I was definitely a little quieter at the start of the season in these meetings just because I was getting a feel for what we were looking for and what our systems were, and just getting used to a new experience. Now, I think I have gotten more involved with trying to identify things we can work on and giving my input when disagreements arise. It is definitely a fun experience, but when the team is on the road, I do miss taking part in the after-game discussions.

Another area in which I feel I am getting more comfortable is the in-game discussions that occur between periods. The entire staff goes into our coaches' office in the locker room to voice opinions about the ongoing game, talk about what we can improve on and what we are doing and complain about the referees. Along the same lines as the video sessions, I was pretty reserved in these meetings, just taking it all in and trying to learn. At this point in the season, it is definitely easier for me to speak up and voice my opinion of the game. For example, last weekend in between periods, no one was really saying a ton, but I had taken a few notes on what I had observed during the game. So I spoke up and said what I had written, and Coach then used what I had told him when he talked to the team.

We ended up losing the game in the third period, so maybe I need to work on what I'm saying in the meetings. But it was still cool to see Coach convey my message when he addressed the team.

With regards to both situations, there is still certainly room to improve and grow, though I think that will come with time. It sure is nice to be getting more comfortable with the position I am in and to begin having a bigger impact on the team outside of all the positive things that have come out of my story.

On a lighter note -- a very disappointing note, to say the least -- I have "won" my second lemon of the year and I am pretty embarrassed about it. The orange/lemon game is a big tradition at Denver that everyone has a blast with. (It's a shooting competition in which the player with the most goals wins an orange; the player who loses has to take a bite out of a lemon and then wear a yellow helmet for the week leading up to the next orange/lemon game.) There is a lot of pressure on me now for the rest of my career because during my brother Matthew's time here, he won only three total. Do the math -- I'm only a freshman and already have two.

With every orange/lemon game, I will have to be on my game and really do my best not to freeze up when I get into the lemon line. On top of it, I have to wear the yellow helmet for an extended period of time because we had only one game this past weekend -- a 1-1 tie against Colorado College on Saturday night.

Thanks and until next time,
David Carle