Young Montreal Canadiens forwards Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield declined their respective countries’ invitations to play in the World Cup.
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There will be no clash between the two great friends at the World Cup.
“I decided not to go, I explained to them that I can’t participate because of injuries,” Suzuki said the day after the last game of the season. I don’t remember the game I was injured in. But I felt lower back pain. Lower 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 practice to play the games.
“I also declined an invitation,” Caufield added. I just had a long season to prepare for after a short summer. I want to focus on next season and spend time in the gym.”
In his third season in the NHL, Suzuki finished first in the CH with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games. He is the only player in the team who will have participated in all matches of this miserable season.
“I was happy to play all the games, underlined the number 14. I was also lucky not to miss any time despite the Covid-19 pandemic. I achieved a goal by playing 82 games.
On October 12, Suzuki signed a contract extension of eight years and 63 million, an annual average of 7.875 million. He will start the first year of this lucrative agreement in 2022-2023.
Suzuki will remain one of the strong images for next season. 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 is among the candidates to be the next captain.
“I always want to be a leader,” said Suzuki. There are several candidates in the team. I don’t control this election, I will trust the leaders.
“I can see him as captain,” added Caufield, who shared the podium with his center player in this review. Nick always performs well on and off the ice. He’s a professional from a young age. He’s calm in the bedroom, but he does the right thing on the ice. He represents a good model, he pushes guys to surpass themselves.
Despite a terrible start to the season, Caufield found a way to end the year with 23 goals in 67 games. He tied for second among rookies in goals with Trevor Zegras, Michael Bunting and Lucas Raymond. The Nashville Predators’ Tanner Jeannot finished first with 24 goals.
On the blue line, Alexander Romanov is also a big jigsaw piece of the Habs for the present and the future. By the end of the season, Romanov had established himself as a key member of the Top 4, 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 in attack, I think that’s my weakness. I’ve learned to play smarter this season, I’ve managed my energies better. I skated less, I was less stupid!”
Romanov sat at the small table in the conference room with a Russian interpreter and answered the vast majority of questions in Bobby Smith’s language. When asked about his future negotiations with Kent Hughes over a new contract, Number 27 was adamant.
“I haven’t spoken to my agent about this 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.