The Montreal Gazette has some interesting quotes from Erik Cole today, and apparently he's not too enthused with the agreement the NHL and NHLPA came to last week.
"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 hinted in October that if the season was cancelled, he would consider retiring instead of coming back. Cole went on:
"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. 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."
Cole is owed $8M in total over the last two years of his contract that he would miss out on if he chose to retire. That's a lot of money to leave on the table, even if he doesn't think he's going to get full value on it due to escrow.
Maybe it's just me, but seeing how Cole played last year, and how much he clearly loved it in Montreal, I can't see him retiring unless his play drops off. I think he loves it in Montreal, and he loves his role here. I think his bitterness about the CBA negotiations will evaporate when the games begin and he's back to being a leader in that room.
And he is a leader. Talk to anyone in the media and they'll tell you how much a guy like Cole matters to the Canadiens. Max Pacioretty looks up to him, as do other young players. The way he battled through injuries to play every game last year and lead the Habs in goals was inspiring.
If Cole were to choose to retire, the Canadiens could receive $4.5M in cap relieve for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. But hopefully it doesn't come to that. As a fan of the Habs and of hockey, I would like to see Cole barreling down the right side to wrist it over a goalie's shoulder for at least a couple more years.