DU pioneers use NHL expertise to arrange for Omaha “Pod” – The Denver Put up
Secrets learned from the NHL playoff bubble will be used by the University of Denver when the Pioneers kick off the season in the Pod of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference in Omaha, Neb next week.
DU coach David Carle spoke to his predecessor Jim Montgomery, the former Dallas Stars head coach who now works as an assistant at the St. Louis Blues, over 10 games in 18 games. And two former pioneers who have penetrated deep into the NHL bubble in Edmonton – Derek Lalonde, former DU assistant at Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning, and Paul Stastny, then center of the Vegas Golden Knights – spoke to the team at Zoom- Calls.
DU assistant coach Dallas Ferguson also relied on Avalanche coach Jared Bednar, whose team lost to Dallas in Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals.
“We tried to show ourselves and our players what it’s like to be in the bubble,” said Carle.
But it’s not really a bubble.
It’s called a pod because security isn’t as strict as a bubble. The pioneers, who are currently in a seven-day quarantine before leaving for Omaha on Sunday, will – along with Colorado College and Miami – stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Omaha. Only players, coaches, and staff are allowed into the hotel, but security isn’t as strict as it is in the NHL bubble. In fact, players are allowed to head to the nearby Baxter Arena, where all 40 games will be played from December 1st to 20th.
All pod staff are regularly tested for COVID-19. A positive test results in 10 days of isolation for that person as well as 14 days of quarantine for any person who is considered close contact.
To that end, Carle is preparing for more than 25 players to play a role in Omaha – a possibility that seems all the more likely as YOU could lose two key players in World Junior service on December 10th and the Pios didn’t play one Game in eight months.
“We expect a lot of uncertainty in the capsule,” said Carle. “I think guys will be comfortable playing with other guys. So we’ve done this quite a few times with forward line combinations and D pairings. I think we’re going to need everyone in the capsule. Everyone has to play and play in different moments and roles. “
Carle, 31, is the NCAA’s second youngest head coach. Brett Riley, 29, is now the youngest since joining Long Island University as head coach in May.
Carle has a litany of NHL contacts and a big plan for playing in the pod.
“The greatest things are going to manage their rest and relaxation,” said Carle. “If you can do those two things well, you will be rested and able to show high levels of energy and emotion in the games, which are ultimately the two most important things in this environment.”