Hey everyone! Hope you're ready for another helping of G-Lat! Part 1 had some very good feedback, and I'm pretty sure part 2 will be no different. It's a little bit shorter, but there's still TONS of content. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll cheer and you'll learn a lot of things, including something I'm pretty sure not too many people knew about Eric Belanger! Once again, to watch the video, go to http://ac.rds.ca, and this is the translation of the June 1st video: Guillaume Latendresse en rafales (Which roughly translates to Q&A with Guillaume Latendresse). Again, read the whole thing, or else you'll miss out on something amazing!
Make the jump, and enjoy!
Guillaume Latendresse en rafales
T.V announcer after Lats' goal : He's been the Canadiens' best player since the beginning of the game, and that first goal belonged to him.
- - Guillaume Latendresse goal against Boston and the Canadiens won that night by a score of 1-0, so Guillaume, you're ready for the Q&A? We'll start with Michel, you'll each have two questions
- - We said so often that you were a slow skater, are you that fast in Minnesota?
Lats : Hahaha, well I'm not that fast! As I said earlier, it's confidence. For me, it happens in here (points to his head) more than anything else.
AC : And no one annoys you about your speed in Minnesota?
Lats : No, the coaches don't want to hear it anymore! I told them when I got to Minnesota and now they scold me when I talk about it!
- - Second question Michel.
- - Who would you have liked to play with in Montreal? Your ideal center?
Lats : I think everyone saw that I had a certain affinity with Saku, I think every time I played with Saku, things went well
AC : He wasn't a bad guy either!
Lats : Nope!
AC : Umm, you left Montreal for Minnesota, Montreal, in the east, the trips are short, in the west, the trips are insane, how do you pass the time on the plane?
Lats : Well, I listened to a lot of American and Quebec television series
AC : That's how in goes down on the plane? Personal videos or...? (I don't really get what he means by that, maybe he was asking if he watched the videos on his personal computer or something)
Lats : Nah, I listened to C.A, things like that (No clue...Maybe it's a show...)
AC : And you were a guy from the south side of Montreal, St-Catherine. In Minnesota, are you from Minneapolis or St-Paul?
Lats : St-Paul
AC : What's the difference? Is it like north side/ south side?
Lats : I don't want to... in Montreal, I bought a house in the south side because I'm there all summer, so traveling bother me during the winter, but in St-Paul, I prefer being... I leave my house and I see the rink and it takes me 30 seconds to get there, I don't want to fight the St-Paul traffic!
- - Excellent, Stephane?
- - We talked about it a little earlier in the show, what's the first piece of advice you would offer Louis Leblanc (MTL's first round pick in the 09 draft, another hometown boy.) when he'll arrive with the Canadiens?
- - Good luck?
Lats : Yeah! Haha! Nah..
AC : Someone told me as a joke today that you would say ‘'Ask to get traded!'' Hahaha!
Lats : Hahahaha! No, I think I tell him to really rely on his family, because they're the only ones we really have. (Isn't that kind of sad? Not something like ‘'Do your best'' or ‘' Don't let what anyone says get to you'', but this! To me, this is a perfect indication of how lonely and underappreciated Lats felt in MTL.)
AC : Can you remember the worst comment you heard about yourself when you were in Montreal?
Lats : Uhh... (long hesitation) No, I think I heard a lot of them,
- - Like when you listened to the radio at night
- - You must have found it hard
Lats : Oh yeah, some nights... like I said earlier, when your confidence is shaken, and you listen... my worst mistake is when I was 17, 18, my first year, I had no pressure, I listened to ‘'ligne ouverte'' (Not really sure if it's a show or if it's really like ‘'open lines'' like open phone lines on the radio... probably the latter) and it was fun, but when I was 21, and the fans were expecting 20 goals out of me, it's a lot rougher on the open lines, and it hurt me too. (While he really did have the potential to reach 20 goals, I think it was rather unfair of everyone to expect Lats to do this with limited ice time and bad linemates, and he usually had the brunt of the blame)
AC : When we were in the press box or when I crossed him in the halls, I would tell him ‘'Score 20 or 25 and I tell you, everyone will leave you alone on the phone lines, it will be over'' and he would say ‘'I'm trying! I'm trying''.... Uh well, thank you Francois, for stealing my two questions! Uh... your worst roommate?
Lats : My worst roommate, well it's not because of the guy, (AC: What does he do?)but it's Eric Belanger, in Minnesota. He's a super good guy, but when he sleeps, his teeth chatter! And he sleeps before I do!
AC : HAHAHA.
Lats : We would arrive at 4, our hair all like this (crazy hair) and he would start chattering his teeth, it would take me an extra two hours to fall asleep!
AC : That's not a problem any more, he lost too many of them, he won't be able to do it anymore! (Hahaha!)
Lats : HAHAHA!
AC : In 2005, your draft year, the Canadiens drafted Carey Price (5th overall, right after Benoit Pouliot... Funny thing is, the Canadiens also wanted Pouliot that year, but they went with plan B, Price!) I don't want to start the goalie debate all over, but he's your age, do you think this little guy will ever become the goalie everyone's waiting for?
Lats : I think they have two #1 goalies in MTL. I think... Carey in MTL, it's going to be hard, he has a lot of pressure (Way too much pressure. He's really been the scapegoat, especially since Lats' departure, and again, it's unfair the way they ask him to be the next Patrick Roy at such a young age. They really screwed up with this guy, because he's still acting like an 18 year old kid because they rushed him. He wasn't ready for the big time. He's got the talent, but not the character. It's a damn shame. Yeah, I said it, A DAMN SHAME! They killed such tantalizing potential. Had he have been anywhere else but MTL, he would be tearing it up in the NHL and that's why I was glad to see that they didn't screw P.K. Subban up.), but he's as much of a top flight goalie as Halak.
AC : Guillaume, did you get the chance to realize where it's colder between Montreal and Minnesota?
Lats : Well, there's more snow in Minnesota, but it's much colder in St-Paul
AC : Much colder?
Lats : Oh yeah!
- - Oof, it's the coldest place... I was in Minnesota for ten years, I never even saw the sun! Mario Tremblay told me, because he also spent a lot of time in Minny, he told me how much he loved that place
- - I can tell you that one year, the World Junior Championship was in North Dakota, right next to Minnesota, and it was a really, really intense two weeks!
- - But how did your adaptation go? Because you left in the winter and you get to Minnesota, it can't be very easy for a player who has to move all his stuff, leave his family behind, and start over with a new group of players
Lats : Yeah, well I think that's what stressed me out the most, I'm not a ‘'group'' guy, I'm a loner, I like to do my own thing (probably developed that in MTL). Uhhh, team dinners aren't really my thing, sometimes they take too long, I like to be in my room and relax and it's something that scared me to have to include myself in the group, like Friday nights, I would be alone, well I gotta call the guys up, and make a 20 minute trip to Minneapolis, well that was the biggest adaptation for me, I think.
AC : Did you find your anonymity back in Minnesota? And then it was like Poof! Relaxation?
Lats : Oh yeah, you leave the rink and you're nobody you know? Completely different from Montreal and well when you're in the rink for a match, the atmosphere is almost like the Bell Centre (MTL's rink). (Little side note: Something Lemaire liked in Minny was that he could have dinner with his family and the fans would maybe go say hi and leave him alone, because they knew how Lemaire liked his privacy. In MTL, the major reason he didn't go back to coach there is because he couldn't walk 5 feet without someone hounding him for a handshake or an autograph. It's that intense in MTL.)
AC : Who helped you the most when you arrived in Minny?
Lats : Eric Belanger, he's really the guy who helped me the most in my entire career really.
- - If I'm not mistaken, you started out on the fourth line, I don't remember exactly when you scored your first goal there, but we followed you from afar by watching highlights and we would see that Whoop, you're playing with Havlat, you were playing with...
- - With Clutterbuck (They have a lot of fun with that name, just like everyone else. It's one of the best names in hockey, period!)
AC : With your coaches, you saw their trust in you rise.
Lats : Yeah, when I arrived, my first day, I met with Todd, the coach and he told me ‘'Look, I know absolutely nothing about you, I saw you play maybe one or two times when I was with the Sharks, but I don't know you, so tell me about yourself.'' So I described myself and he told me ‘'Well, you know you can't expect to be on the first line right away'' you know? It took about 10-12 matches before he started trusting me, I played, I scored in my second game against Colorado (he also assisted on Ebbett's goal in overtime that game, Ebbett was also a newcomer at that time.)and after that I think the third match, he put me in the shootout against Anaheim and I scored the winning goal (correct). These were all things... it all rolled along smoothly, the puck was bouncing my way, and I put it in, so in a way, I was also really lucky in all this (Lucky, maybe, but he also worked his ass off)
AC : When you started scoring over there, you were scoring a lot, you had great streak, but for Pouliot, it came slower, he came over here injured, and then Benoit scored, I believe it was in his first game back from injury against Ottawa (also correct), and he started scoring a lot also. We, of course, followed your progress, make some comparisons, you over there, you can't lie to me, you can't say you didn't also follow Pouliot's progress?
Lats : Of course! We only had an hour of difference, so I could check out the first period and see if he scored! But yeah, I certainly kept track of how he and every one else from the Canadiens was doing.
AC : Did they use you on the right wing? Because in junior...
Lats : No... Uhh.... (confusion between everyone, trying to figure out if any of his Wild linemates were right wings.) No, I didn't play right wing
AC : Because in junior, you were right wing, on your stats sheet with MTL, you were indicated as right wing, they always put you on the left wing, and everyone said ‘' They never put him on his good wing, where he should be'' Should they have played you on the right wing? Would it have changed anything? Are you a right wing or a left wing?
Lats : Pfff... no, I don't think it changes anything personally. Of course, a player like me whose strength isn't his speed , I learned to make some tweaks to my game when I was a right wing, because (this will be kind of hard to translate, but here goes... it'll be easier to understand if you read this part a couple of times and watch this part a couple of times at the same time... the time remaining on the video at this point is 2:26, and goes on till 2:15) when you're a left wing, the d-man cuts in front of you like this (points to his right) and the puck, you don't have the power (puck is at his left, holding the stick with his left arm) that you would have on your good hand to drive the net, so when I would enter the zone at the right wing and drive to the net, I could hold off the d-man just by putting my hand there (reaches to his left with his left hand, which means he would protect the puck with his right hand, close to the boards), but at the left side, I can't do that too well (because he's right handed, entering the zone to the left and protecting the puck with his left hand on the stick and his right hand on the man would be much harder, rightfully so... Wow... I guess it was easier to translate than I thought!)
AC : What I was wondering, especially for the younger ones, it's at the end of the season, you know... the post-mortem, the get-together, where you meet with everyone, I would shake hands with some of the players and look at them and say ‘'Damn, I can't wait to see you next season!'' When you left Minnesota, did your coach do the same and say ‘'I can't wait to see you in September?''
Lats : Yeah, there was a good... that's what I liked in Minnesota, almost everyday, the coach would meet up with me and we would chat for 10-15-20 minutes and he did the same with Mikko, with Martin Havlat...He prepared little videos for nearly every player and every day we would meet him (The guys at the AC are in awe, saying things like wow...)
AC : A little different from Montreal (little is said kind of sarcastically and the AC laughs)
Lats : ... yup!
AC : Well I can't speak for the others! You can tell your coach that...
Lats : It was a source of frustration for me in MTL, at the beginning of the season, when we finished our practices, the young ones... I won't name anyone, but I would see the young ones spend 10 minutes on the ice talking with the coach, I said to myself, I was like ‘'Geez, I'm playing 5 minutes per game, can't I have a discussion to know... you know?'' And it really made me mad you know?
AC : But did they ever tell you in MTL what was expected of you? What they would see during the matches, you know like your mistakes, what should be fixed, etc. Did you have that at one moment?
Lats : Well yeah, but it was always something like ‘' You have to finish your hits, and you have to be a physical player'', but to me, the physical aspect... yeah you can finish a hit and make a guy turn inside his shorts, but I prefer my physical aspect to be getting in front of the net, using my body, going in the corner, protecting the puck, get it to the D, that's more the physical aspect that I like, using my body, rather than destroying the guy and making him do three flips in the air, you know?
AC : You had a great personal season this year, you missed the playoffs, what's missing for the Wild to get back into the playoffs next season?
Lats : That's a good question, I think we're not too far, I think they really had a bad start in September, err, October, Uhh, I think they had like 14 losses from the get-go, and well... I think we're only missing some depth at center, I think if we can go get a good center
AC : Or the return of Pierre-Marc Bouchard?
Lats : Yeah, the return of PMB (If we had PMB last season, it would've looked a LOT different)would be very good for us.
AC: We're going to go to the commercial break, when we come back, we're going to continue our discussion with Guillaume Latendresse in a couple of minutes...
Well, I hope you enjoyed part 2! Later on this week, I will put up part 3, which will consist of the final 2 videos and I'll throw in a couple of fun facts about Guillaume Latendresse as a bonus!
Source: RDS, Again, thank you very much RDS! Merci beaucoup encore une fois RDS!