Nick Suzuki had received an invitation to wear Canada’s colors at the World Championships in Helsinki and Tampere, Finland, May 13-29. Cole Caufield also got the chance to defend the United States colors at the same tournament.
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Photo Martin Alarie
Nick Suzuki (left) and Cole Caufield will not cross swords at the World Championship.
There will be no clash between the two great friends at the World Championship.
“I decided not to go, I explained to them that I was unable to participate due to injuries,” Suzuki said the day after the last race of the season. I can’t remember the game I got injured in. But I felt pain in my lower back. Low back injury. I endured the pain until the end of the year. I didn’t know if I should take a break, but I skipped workouts to play games. †
“I also declined an invitation, Caufield added. I just had a long season after a short summer to prepare. I want to focus on the next season and spend time in the gym.”
In his third season in the NHL, Suzuki finished first in CH with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games. He is the only player on the team who will have attended all the meetings of this miserable season.
“I was happy to play all the games, underlined number 14. I was also lucky because I did not miss any time despite the COVID-19 pandemic. I achieved one goal by participating in all 82 competitions. †
A candidate for the “C”
On October 12, Suzuki signed an eight-year $63 million contract extension, an annual average of $7.875 million. He will start the first year of this lucrative deal in 2022-2023.
For next season, Suzuki remains one of the strong images. It’s no secret that the future will rest on his shoulders, just like Caufield’s. But the Ontarian could also have a new letter on his jersey. He will be one of the candidates to become the next captain.
“I always want to be a leader,” said Suzuki. There are several candidates within the team. I have no control over this choice, I will trust the leaders. †
“I can imagine him as captain,” added Caufield, who shared the podium with his center player during this review. Nick always performs well on and off the ice. He is a pro from a young age. He’s quiet in the bedroom, but he’s doing the right thing on the ice. He represents a good role model, he pushes the guys to outdo themselves. †
Despite a horrific start to the season, Caufield found a way to end the year with 23 goals in 67 games. He tied with Trevor Zegras, Michael Bunting and Lucas Raymond for second place among rookies in goals. Tanner Jeannot of the Nashville Predators finished first with 24 goals.
On the blue line, Alexander Romanov is also a big piece of the Habs puzzle for the present and the future.
By the end of the season, Romanov had established himself as a key member of the top four, playing regularly with David Savard.
“Savy [Savard] is great, said Romanov. He helped me a lot. He talked to me on the ice, he wanted to teach me things. I want to improve the offensive aspect, that is my weakness in my opinion. I’ve learned to play smarter this season, I managed my energy better. I ran less on the ice, I was less stupid! †
Sitting on the small table in the conference room with a Russian interpreter, Romanov answered the vast majority of questions in Bobby Smith’s language.
When asked about his future negotiations with Kent Hughes for a new contract, number 27 was adamant.
“I haven’t talked to my agent about it yet, but I really like Montreal. I want to stay as long as possible. I want to play here.”
Romanov could become a restricted free agent.