Montreal Canadiens young forwards Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield turned down their country’s invitation to participate in the World Championship.
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There will be no clash between the two best friends at the World Championships.
“I decided not to go, I explained to them that I could not participate due to injuries, said Suzuki one day after the last game of the season. I don’t remember a game where I was injured. But I felt pain in my lower back. Lower back injury. I endured the pain until the end of the year. I didn’t know if I should rest, but I skipped practice so I could play the match.
“I also declined the invitation, added Caufield. I only had a long season after a short summer to prepare. I want to focus on next season and spend time in training.”
In his third season in the NHL, Suzuki finished first in CH scoring with 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in 82 games. He is the only player on the team who will have participated in all meetings this bad season.
“I was happy to play all the matches, I insisted on number 14. I was also lucky because I did not miss time despite the Covid-19 pandemic. I reached the goal by participating in 82 games.
On October 12, Suzuki signed an eight-year contract extension with 63 million, an annual average of 7.875 million. He will begin the first year of this lucrative agreement in 2022-2023.
For this next season, Suzuki will remain one of the strongest images. It is no secret that the future rests on his shoulders, like those of Caufield. But the Ontarian may also have a new letter on his jersey. He will be among the candidates to be the next captain.
“I always want to be a leader,” Suzuki said. There are several candidates within the team. I do not control this election, I will trust the leaders.
“I can think of him as a captain, added Caufield who shared the stage with his midfielder during this assessment. Nick always does well on and off the ice. He is a pro at a young age. He is quiet in the bedroom, but he does the right thing on the ice. He represents a great model, he pushes the boys to surpass themselves.
Despite a rough start to the season, Caufield found a way to finish the year with 23 goals in 67 games. He finished tied with Trevor Zegras, Michael Bunting and Lucas Raymond for second in scoring. Tanner Jeannot of the Nashville Predators finished first with 24 goals.
On the blue line, Alexander Romanov is also a huge piece of the Habs puzzle now and in the future. By the end of the season, Romanov had established himself as an important member of the top four, playing regularly with David Savard.
“Savy (Savard) is great,” Romanov said. He helped me a lot. He was talking to me on the ice, he wanted to teach me things. I want to improve the offensive aspect, it is my weakness in my opinion. I learned to play smarter this season, I managed my energy better. I ran a little on the ice, I wasn’t so stupid!”
Sitting at a small table in the conference room with a Russian interpreter, Romanov answered many questions in Bobby Smith’s language. Asked about his future talks with Kent Hughes for a new contract, the number 27 was tight-lipped.
“I haven’t talked 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 be a restricted free agent.