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Caufield on shoulder surgery: ‘I think it’s what’s best for me long term’

Cole Caufield Montreal Canadiens Cole Caufield - The Canadian Press

For the first time since it was announced Jan. 21 that Montreal Canadiens forward Cole Caufield would miss the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign due to right shoulder surgery, the 22-year-old revealed more about the injury.

Caufield said Friday he separated the shoulder for the first time on Dec. 23 against the Dallas Stars in an awkward fall and then again on Jan. 3 in Nashville but was able to pop it back into place both times.

He received medical opinions from three different doctors, and they all recommended he have the surgery as another fall could make the injury worse.

“For sure if we were in a playoff spot, no doubt in my mind I'd still be playing,” said Caufield as the Canadiens sit 26th in the standings. “It really wasn't up to me to stop playing but with the right circumstances I feel this is the best decision long term.”

The surgery will take place on Feb. 1 and be done by Dr. Peter Willett in Colorado, the surgeon who performed the same procedure on Caufield’s teammate Josh Anderson in March 2020 and Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Zach Werenski, who had season-ending shoulder surgery on Nov. 11. 

With 26 goals and 36 points in 46 games this season, Caufield was on pace for more than 40 goals this season and joked he already misses shooting. 

"I think they [equipment staff] took my sticks away in the locker room. They actually did. And my skates,” said Caufield. 

A pending restricted free agent, Caufield has yet to sign an extension but is not concerned how having his season end early will affect any contract talks. 

"They know the type of player I am,” said Caufield. “We've had talks for sure about where my game is at. For them, me, and my agent, it's all about my health long-term and down the road it'll all work out.”