Skip to content
Cole Caufield: we wonder if his shoulder operation is bothering him
Cole Caufield is quite possibly the most talented forward on the Habs right now. The little maverick, in the first year of his eight-year pact in town, already has 14 points in 16 games this season, putting him at the top of the team at this level.

And he alone is directly responsible for three Tricolore victories in 2023-24, having already scored three overtime goals so far this campaign.

But the man known for scoring goals by the ton isn’t exactly scoring by the ton this year. In fact, he has just five goals this year (and only one 5-on-5 goal), a far cry from his pace of 26 goals in 46 games last year.

Last year, he scored a goal every two games; this year, it’s a goal every three games.

How to explain all this? On the latest Sick Podcast, Tony Marinaro and Grant McCagg raised an interesting theory: it’s not impossible that he’s still bothered by his shoulder operation.

Marinaro notes that Caufield’s shot doesn’t necessarily have the same vigor and velocity as last year. He doesn’t seem as comfortable when it comes to unleashing shots, and perhaps that’s because he’s still bothered by his shoulder.

His catch-and-shoot, for example, seems to have lost a bit of its superbness, while Caufield still hasn’t scored a goal that way this season.

On the other hand, even if Caufield is really bothered by his shoulder, there’s no need to panic just yet. Let me explain.

Very often, players returning from a major injury need a little time to get back into the swing of things, and more often than not, it’s the mental side of things that’s the problem. Just because Caufield’s shoulder is bothering him doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bothering him physically: maybe it’s just that he’s not yet confident in his shoulder.

Kirby Dach will probably have to go through the same ordeal next year, coming back from a major knee injury in which two ligaments (anterior and medial cruciate) were torn. In fact, it could even bother him for the whole of next season: it’s not uncommon for players to experience a difficult first season after such an injury elsewhere in the sporting world.

With time, however, chances are good that the little maverick will eventually regain the confidence he needs to perform to the best of his ability.

And let’s not forget that he may already have it, but he’s simply stuck with trio mates who don’t suit him.

Let’s hope for the youngster’s sake that he eventually finds the confidence he needs as soon as possible, if that really is the problem. I’m not worried that he’ll get there eventually, but when he does, he’s really going to be mentally unstuck.

And, by the same token, it’s going to help him unlock his goal-scoring potential in a big way.

In gusto

– A wonderful moment to honour the memory of Karl Tremblay, who sadly passed away earlier today.

– Very touching.

– Mike Matheson currently leads the NHL in total ice time this season.

– The subject of games in Quebec City continues to provoke reactions.

– Great read.

– Déjà vu for the Tricolore.

More Content