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Caufield Done for the Season. by Karine Hains

January 21, 2023, 4:17 PM ET [142 Comments]
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

There are days where you think you should have stayed in bed and this could well be one of those days for Habs’ fans. The Canadiens have announced that Cole Caufield will miss the rest of the season after suffering a right shoulder injury which will require surgery.

If you are puzzled about when this injury happened, you’re not alone. TVA Sports’ Renaud Lavoie reports that Caufield has been looking uncomfortable for a while now, pulling faces on his return to the bench, but that he had no idea it was that serious. I can’t say that I’ve really noticed to be honest.

Nick Suzuki said that it had been in the works for some time and that it was better for his future to pull out now. According to the captain, Caufield had been talking to both Hughes and his agent about the best course of action. Josh Anderson for his part told Caufield that his operated shoulder now feels stronger than his other one, so that he should keep his chin up.

Playing through injury is not rare for hockey players, but it’s understandable that Caufield would have wanted to push ahead this season as his contract is up this season and he would have liked to complete the season and show the kind of production he could have through a whole season. That being said, it’s obvious what the kid brings to the table and he’s proven it already, Kent Hughes and Pat Brisson will now be able to crack on with contract talks without waiting for his final numbers on the year.

After losing Kaiden Guhle for 8 weeks and Juraj Slafkovsky for 3 months, this loss will be painful for the Canadiens from many angles. The team is undergoing a rebuild and the fans have bought into it, they’ve found their excitement in watching the young guns play but they are fast disappearing. Furthermore, Montreal is struggling to score and losing its best scorer is never a good thing from a winning standpoint. There’s no denying that Caufield is currently the most electrifying player on the team and chances are the entertainment level will go down at the Bell Centre.

However, just as Kent Hughes said not so long ago; winning is only good up to a certain point. In a year where the draft will be exceptionally deep, getting a high draft pick won’t be the worst thing and losing Caufield for the year will surely go some way towards achieving that. If you want to see the silver lining, it’s better to lose a cornerstone like this at the start of a rebuild than it is a couple of years down the line when you’re ready to contend.

There was one good news at Habs’ practice this morning though, Sean Monahan was on the ice with his teammates, in a no contact jersey, but still, that’s a step in the right direction. To take Caufield’s place in the line-up, Alex Belzile has been called up from Laval. The Habs have also placed Jonathan Drouin on IR retroactively to January 16th.

Tonight, the Canadiens will be taking on the Leafs in Montreal and a win is looking increasingly unlikely without Caufield. Toronto is 6-3-1 in its last 10 games, and they’ve won their last 2 games. Buckle up Canadiens fans, it looks like it’s all downhill from here, all aboard the tank train…

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