Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Why Was Cole Caufield Playing?

01/22/2023 at 1:53pm EST

from Jack Todd at the Montreal Gazette,

It’s reaching the point where if you ain’t injured, you ain’t a Hab.

But it was the loss of Caufield that roiled the waters. Caufield’s quest for 40 goals or more was the biggest single reason to watch almost three more months of hockey. He’s so much fun to watch that even a victory over the Leafs feels like it was filmed in black and white without him.

Worse, the handling of his injury has brought the first serious criticism of the current regime since Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes replaced Marc Bergevin at the helm. If Caufield was injured Jan. 11, why was he allowed to play on through five games and multiple practices? Why didn’t the medical staff shut him down immediately?

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels, who isn’t one to rip the club as a knee-jerk reflex, scorched the medical staff for not shutting him down immediately. “Why their medical staff would allow him to (play with this injury) in a season in which results have been stated as secondary to development,” Engels wrote, “is absolutely mindboggling.”

Even with the constant input from Caufield’s agent, Pat Brisson, and input from doctors outside the organization, the decision makes no sense. “It’s been a progressive injury the past few weeks,” Brisson told Engels, “and every time he steps on the ice, there’s a chance it could get worse, and then it could get more complicated in surgery.”

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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