Matt Carle says new Lightning assistant George Gwozdecky will be 'good for our team'
Granted, it's been seven years since he played for George Gwozdecky at the University of Denver, but Lightning defenseman Matt Carle said bringing in Gwozdecky as an assistant coach "is really good for our team."
Carle believes this, he said, because of how Gwozdecky -- a college head coach for 24 years, including 19 at Denver -- handled his players. That is key for Tampa Bay, considering it's influx of young talent.
"One of the biggest things for us and our organization is we have a lot of young guys coming up," said Carle, who played for Gwozdecky from 2003-06. "As a college coach that's all you're dealing with is young guys and trying to turn them into I don't want to say pros, but he did a really good job with a lot of guys developing them into men. I think that's really good for our team. We have all these guys down in the minors who had a lot of success down there. For us to be successful as a team in Tampa, we need these guys to develop as well, so I think it's going to be a huge help for the younger guys."
General manager Steve Yzerman, who officially announced the hiring on Friday, agreed.
"I think he complements our staff really well," Yzerman said. "He does know ... how to relate to the player of today. When you're working with college players, playing fewwer games, practicing a lot more, youdo a lot more teaching."
Gwozdecky, 60, had a stellar career at Denver, going 443-267-64 at Denver with national championships in 2004 and 2005. He was fired in April after the Pioneers were out of the playoffs in the first round for the fifth time in six seasons.
Gwozdecky will work mostly with the forwards. And while Carle acknowledged Gwodzecky's transition to the NHL game is "kind of a wild card," he said he was "excited" to see how it transpires.
"He knows the game real well," Carle said. "It was one of the biggest reasons I chose to go to that school was because of how professional he was and the way he treated us as players. A lot of those colleges they try to treat you like boys, but he treated us like men. It was one of the better experiences of my life playing for him for three years."