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Ducharme Fires Back Against His ‘Bad’ Coaching of Canadiens’ Cole Caufield

Dominique Ducharme took a lot of heat for Cole Caufield’s struggles, but the former Habs coach is clapping back at the critics.

In a recent interview on The Sick Podcast With Tony Marinaro, Dominique Ducharme, the former coach of the Montreal Canadiens and current assistant coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, addressed criticisms regarding his coaching style and its potential influence on the performance of budding star Cole Caufield. While Ducharme refrained from taking full responsibility for Caufield’s early struggles, he offered an unexpected explanation for the forward’s underperformance.

Criticized for his handling of the young rookie, many have made the argument that Ducharme was not good for Caufield and his future success as he entered the NHL. Many suggested he held the player back, whether because of an old-school mentality, a lack of trust, or simply because he was an inefficient head coach. Ducharme denies that Caufiled’s limited production under his watch was anything more than fatigue.

Saying, “I was not holding him back, it’s an unfortunate coincidence,” Ducharme explained the circumstances had more to do with Caufield’s lack of production than anything else.

Ducharme asserted that he does not believe he should be solely blamed for Caufield’s challenges on the ice, emphasizing that the narrative is neither fair nor accurate to their time working together. Instead, he alternative perspective to the conversation, attributing Caufield’s difficulties to the accumulative fatigue from a demanding college season and the Montreal Canadiens’ extended playoff run the preceding year. According to Ducharme, being worn down and overworked led to Caufield’s inconsistent production levels.

Is This A Valid Argument?

While there is often some adjusting that needs to be made as young players jump from juniors and the minor leagues to the pro level, critics of this viewpoint point out that Caufield played a total of 63 games across his tenure with the University of Wisconsin and the Canadiens, including appearances with the Laval Rocket. It’s far less than a typical NHL regular season, so he shouldn’t have been that fatigued.

Dominique Ducharme Cole Caufield

The reality is, this could have been a chemistry thing. Some players just excel under a different coaching style, even if it wasn’t a case where the old coach was intentionally holding someone back. St. Louis may have simply built a better rapport with Caufield and instilled a sense of confidence in him to motivate his offensive outburst over the past 80-plus games.

Next: Canadiens Help Jeff Petry Come Home with Trade to Red Wings

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