Former Canadiens coach talks Suzuki, Caufield’s Ceiling

Former Montreal Canadiens head coach Dominique Ducharme praised the Canadiens’ young core.

During a recent segment for 98.5FM, Ducharme spoke about his experience as head coach of the Montreal Canadiens, but also offered additional insight into some of the Canadiens’ star players. Ducharme has been candid about his relationship with Carey Price and spoke at length about the unique circumstances of the 2021-22 season. It was an interesting segment that caught the attention of many, as Ducharme has rarely spoken to the media about the details of his tenure since he was relieved of his duties last February.

Cole Caufield’s Year of the Rollercoaster

In one of the standout moments of the segment, Ducharme put Cole Caufield’s 2021-2022 season roller coaster into context. According to Ducharme, the non-existent offseason was tough for most Canadiens players, but probably the toughest for Caufield himself due to a variety of factors.

“Cole had a very short summer. I think he performed well in the playoffs. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, went to Laval for a bit and then joined us. He gradually integrated and I was happy with what he did for our team and his contributions from one series to another. Then you have a very short summer; people were putting the Calder in his hands, and Caufield, being a proud guy who wants to contribute, put a lot of pressure on himself and started the season behind the proverbial eight-ball. He had ups and downs and went to Laval. He was tired. I mean, he even got injured in a meaningless pre-season during warm-ups. That’s what I’m talking about when it comes to mental fatigue.

When Caufield was able to recharge and refresh during the various covid breaks last winter, he seemed to improve in his game and really turned up the pressure after Martin St. Louis took over as coach- chief. Having seemingly found his mojo and performed at such a high level so quickly, Ducharme was quick to say he believes Caufield has all the skills necessary to be the first 50-goal scorer for the Montreal Canadiens since Stéphane Richer did it in 1989. -1990.

“He could, because he certainly has the ability to do it,” Ducharme said of Caufield’s potential to be the Canadiens’ next 50-goal scorer. “His shooting, his ability to open up and play with a guy with great vision in Nick Suzuki, that’s likely to happen.”

Next captain of the Montreal Canadiens?

Speaking of Suzuki, Ducharme has publicly stated how much he enjoyed the young center’s play when he was Montreal’s head coach. However, during the segment, Ducharme was asked if he believed Suzuki had what it takes to be captain and if it was too early for the 23-year-old to take on such responsibilities. Ducharme didn’t even flinch, answering the question positively and highlighting Suzuki’s character in high-pressure situations.

“I’ll let them make a decision, but he’ll make a good captain,” Ducharme said of Nick Suzuki’s bid for team captain. “He’s a double-edged sword, but he’s a guy who’s fueled by a challenge. When we got into the playoffs, he took his game to another level. temper. “

According to Ducharme, Suzuki’s ability to take on any challenge, and he has taken on many in his young career, makes him an ideal candidate to be the team’s captain in the future. Ducharme also mentioned Brendan Gallagher and Joel Edmundson as potential captains in the meantime, if the Canadiens want to take a patient approach, but he believes it’s just a matter of time for Suzuki.

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