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Former Habs Head Coach Dominique Ducharme Deflects Blame for Cole Caufield's Struggles

Published August 29, 2023 at 8:06 PM
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Passing the Buck



For many Habs fans, Dominique Ducharme is remembered for two things.

One is being the head coach of the team that went to the 2021 Stanley Cup Final. The other is the team not only imploding on him the following season (leading to his firing), but for seemingly stifling Cole Caufield's on-ice production to the point where it arguably cost Caufield a shot at that year's Calder Trophy.


Now, Ducharme has spoken about his usage of Caufield during his final months as Habs bench boss, during an appearance on The Sick Podcast with Tony Marinaro. He starts talking about Caufield around the 31-minute mark.


Blaming the Player and Not the Coach



Ducharme's response to the idea of him holding Caufield back in the 2021-22 season was this:


«I wanted him to score. I wasn't holding him back. It's a bad coincidence I'm sure if you asked Cole, it's going to be pretty much the same story."

He also attributed Caufield's offensive woes to a pre-season injury during a red vs. white scrimmage game, as well as not having much of an offseason between his Hobey Baker Award-winning final college season and joining the Habs for their playoff run:

«Skating around in the warm-up, he just fell and hurt his shoulder He had no training camp. Confidence for a goal-scorer is a big thing. He came back just before the start of the season. He had a rough start. I was sitting with him and trying to just keep him positive, because I often talked with him looking at Jack Hughes in New Jersey — whom he's a good friend of — how it took him some time to establish himself.»

With only eight points in 30 games and less than 15 minutes of ice time per game, Ducharme could've easily used his most talented young differently, especially after Martin St. Louis stepped in and saw Caufield explode offensively.

Caufield ultimately finished ninth in Calder voting that year. Ducharme will be returning to the NHL this season as an assistant coach with the Vegas Golden Knights.

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August 29   |   42 answers
Former Habs Head Coach Dominique Ducharme Deflects Blame for Cole Caufield's Struggles

Would Cole Caufield had won the Calder Trophy if not for Ducharme?

Yes2354.8 %
No1945.2 %
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