Erik Cole is a known slow starter, every year it’s the same story. Last year was no different, however last year the question was why he wasn’t on the power play to which then coach Jacques Martin replied, “Have you seen his stats on the power play?”
This year however, Cole is on the PP, has played all the games so far this season and has only three goals and three assists for six points on the year.
Could Erik Cole be having a slow start again, or is it the thoughts of retirement next season that are taking up space in his head instead of reproducing his totals of last year?
Erik Cole amassed a total of 61 points last season 35 goals and 26 assists, tying his total points from the 2006-2007 season, of which he had 29 goals and 32 assists.
Cole looked like he was having fun for the most part last season playing on a line with Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais, this year however Cole doesn’t look to be having much fun at all, in fact going to the point of texting his teammates and telling them he was sorry and will pick up his game.
It could be Cole is having yet again a slow start, but it could be also his statements made after the lock out ended not being happy with the new CBA, “I enjoyed my time at home and the kids are in school here until the end of June and we’ll reevaluate things after that.” Cole also added, “I want to have a conversation with the (players association) about some of the escrow stuff and some of the fearsome things in the new CBA.”
Cole seemed to be thinking of his family also, who could blame him, family comes first, when asked about his family situation Cole replied, “Family-wise it’s a transition year with my daughter in school next year and I think it’s something to be considered and everybody should consider this when they look at the new CBA, not just the way it affects the group but how it affects you individually.”
So it wouldn’t be ludicrous to suggest that Cole has too many thoughts of his future on his mind instead of concentrating on hockey.
But one other thing might be bothering him. There are rumours out there which suggest that Cole might be on the market.
Jimmy Murphy of Murphyshockeylaw.com and ESPNBOSTON has said about Cole, ” The Bruins have had interest in Cole but I can’t see the Habs and B’s dealing. I’d keep my eyes on Carolina maybe taking him back.”
If Jimmy Murphy is correct, could this be another reason that Cole isn’t playing up to par, knowing that you are on the block?
If this is true, what can the Montreal Canadiens hope to gain in return for a good player who has openly spoken of retirement after the current season?
Cole is set to make four million in each of the next two seasons, due to the front load of his contract, his cap hit is $4.5 million.
Could it be a culmination of all the above mentioned? Slow starter, retirement thoughts and possibly being on the market?
Cole has mentored Pacioretty, especially last season when Pacioretty came back from his horrific neck injury as Cole had one handed to him from Brooks Orpik of the Pittsburgh Penguins a few years ago.
Cole has played almost his whole career in Carolina with the exception of not even one year in Edmonton during the 2008-2009 season and the past two seasons in Montreal.
It’s hard to think of what else it could be, last year the Habs were abysmal from management down, this year they are revamped and going forward so why would Cole be unhappy besides the above mentioned?
Something is affecting Erik Cole, his play this year hasn’t been up to par, whatever it is, it’s uncharacteristic of Cole to be this unproductive, even in previous years if he wasn’t producing in points yet, one could see his work ethic, this year not so.
Erik Cole is a good player, when he’s on his game he drives towards the net protecting the puck, strong on the back check, and good in the corners, this year, not so.
So which is it, slow start, too much thought of retirement, knowing he’s on the block, or all of the above?
Personally, I like Cole as a player, but if any of these are issues then the Habs have to do something soon, the Habs can’t have a good player who’s heart isn’t in it for whatever reason bringing the team down. Cole can be traded, many teams are in search of what he can bring, question is, how long will he bring it?
Hopefully for Cole and the Habs these issues will be taken care of soon, Cole is too good a person and has done a lot for Pacioretty, it would be a shame to let it fester for both parties involved.
You can follow Jimmy Murphy at @MurphysLaw74
You can reach and follow me @habberfied