Monday, December 3, 2007

Latest DU Millionaire Returns To Magness Arena

(left) Matt Carle

From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers

Donning fresh stitches on his chin but still grinning from recently signing a four-year, $13.75-million contract extension with the San Jose Sharks, former DU defenseman Matt Carle returned to his old stomping grounds last weekend while preparing for tonight's game against the Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.

Carle, who in April 2006 became the Pioneers' first Hobey Baker Award winner as NCAA player of the year, watched Saturday night's DU-North Dakota game at Magness Arena with Sharks teammate and former Wisconsin forward Joe Pavelski.

"I follow these guys very closely and they're off to a heck of a start," Carle said of the Pioneers, who are 10-4 after splitting a weekend series against the Fighting Sioux. "It's good to see them doing so well with such a young team."

San Jose hasn't played since Thursday's 3-2 victory against the Avs in California. Carle can't explain it, but the Sharks decided to fly into Denver on Saturday, giving Carle, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, three days in his adopted hometown.

"I love coming back to Denver," said Carle, took a puck off the chin during practice Saturday morning. "Being away from Anchorage for 10 years now, I kind of consider this home."

Carle already has played in 132 NHL games, including 22 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. In three seasons at DU, he played in 112 games, producing 122 points, fourth most in program history for defensemen.

Last season, he had 11 goals and 42 points in 77 games as a full-season rookie, and made the NHL's all-rookie team along with former DU teammate Paul Stastny of the Avalanche.

Carle joined Dion Phaneuf (2005-06) as the only defenseman to collect 40 points as a rookie since 1997-98, and the only rookie defenseman to score 11 goals since 1993-94.

Carle has made time to recruit for DU, including trying to persuade his little brother, David Carle, to join the Pioneers next fall. David, a defenseman for the vaunted Shattuck St. Mary's prep team in Faribault, Minn., has a planned visit to DU in February, after he checks out Boston University, Boston College and Michigan State.

"He's a smart kid, and pretty independent," Matt said. "I try to advise him as best as I can, but it's hard because I'm so biased."

So, how good is David Carle?

"He's better than me," Matt said with a straight face.

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