Montreal Canadiens rookie winger Cole Caufield has confirmed that USA Hockey has invited him to represent his native country in the 2022 World Hockey Championships that kick off in Finland on May 13 and run through May 29.
Caufield has already shined on the international side for USA Hockey racking up two goals and three assists in three games for the Americans when they took home Gold at the 2021 U20 World Juniors.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to represent your country,” Caufield told reporters following the game day skate for the Canadiens in advance of their final road game of the season against the New York Rangers Wednesday night. “I’m still thinking about it, but I’m focused on these last two games.”
Caufield is coming off arguably one of his games of what has been a pretty amazing stretch since Martin St. Louis took over as interim head coach back on Feb. 9. On an emotionally-charged night after the Guy Lafleur ceremony and against his team’s arch-rivals, the Boston Bruins, Caufield had no points, just one shot and was a minus 3 with three turnovers in 20 minutes played during a 5-3 loss for the Montreal Canadiens. Caufield had a goal in each of his two prior games, but before that, he was goalless in five straight games and a minus in four of those five matches.
The 21-year-old rookie headed into Wednesday’s Original 6 game with the Rangers with 20 goals and 20 assists, but he knows he can be better and wants to finish the season off strong.
“We’re getting down to the end here. The way the season’s been going, we can either quit now or just play these last two games to get better. That’s the way we’re kind of looking at it,” Cole Caufield said. “You’ve got to play it the right way. You get to play against two playoff teams that are kind of getting ready for their series. We could take that and use it to our advantage and get better with these last two.”
Wednesday was to be Caufield’s first time playing in Madison Square Garden and the rookie Montreal Canadiens winger was excited to play on another big stage.
“Every rink you get to play in is special, but this one being in New York City is a legendary rink,” said Caufield. “It’s going to be a really special opportunity.”