Num num num. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Some of you may not know this yet, but one of my main functions on HW is the translation of player interviews from French to English. Since I'm a French-Canadian Wild fan and the Wild have some French-Canadian players, it was only natural that I would start translating what they had to say, because they are much more comfortable in their own language when they're being interviewed and it usually makes for some pretty interesting reads. Also, thanks in large part to Hockey Wilderness, I am currently studying Translation at Université de Moncton.
This week, Guillaume Latendresse was in Montreal and visited the guys at RDS' show L'Antichambre, as he did nearly two years ago. RDS is TSN's french twin. I've translated that interview (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), as well as last year's interview with Pierre-Marc Bouchard (Part 1, Part 2). Once again, just like with the Bouchard interview, the main focus was concussions. Lats mostly talked about the treatment he received in Atlanta from Dr. Ted Carrick, one of the top neurologists around.
Keep in mind I didn't go for a perfect, word-for-word litteral translation, just a translation that reflects what was said and that is perfectly understandable.
This part of the episode can be viewed on the Antichambre website. However, it will only be there for a short time. The video is called: Guillaume Latendresse parle de commotions. You can follow RDS and L'Antichambre by going to their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.
I would like to thank RDS and everyone at L'Antichambre, the source for this interview, on behalf of the members and readers of Hockey Wilderness. This is translated by me, with exclusive, written permission from RDS and will be posted on Hockey Wilderness ONLY. /// J'aimerais remercier RDS et l'équipe de l'Antichambre, la source de cette entrevue, au nom de tout les membres et les lecteurs de Hockey Wilderness. Cette traduction est écrite par moi avec la permission écrite et exclusive de RDS et sera posté sur le site Hockey Wilderness SEULEMENT.
From left to right on the screen:
GL = Guillaume Latendresse
MT = Former Wild assistant coach, Mario Tremblay
JD = Former NHL coach, Jacques Demers
MB = Former NHL coach, Michel Bergeron
SL = Stéphane Langdeau, main host of L'Antichambre
SL: L'Antichambre is proud to welcome, from the Minnesota Wild, Guillaume Latendresse. Good evening Guillaume.
GL: Good evening
(They give him a red square, symbol of the student strike going on in Quebec. Pretty heavy stuff. Riots and everything.)
SL: How are you?
SL: Tell me about how you've been, because, honestly, you've been the victim of a concussion, you went through some hard times, but you met with Dr. Ted Carrick, who also treats Sidney Crosby, and I believe he's the reason you're feeling a lot better now, right?
GL: Yes, I've talked to Pierre-Marc (Bouchard) about this as well, because he basically went through the same thing as I did. We've tried many things, I received some treatments in Montreal and in Minnesota, I met many doctors, and I think with concussions, it's all a matter of timing. You could have a concussion and get the same treatments as me, but the result may not be as good for you, everyone is different. When I went to Atlanta to see Dr. Carrick, the treatment went great for me, but the way his machine works is it makes you spin...
SL: Like a gyroscope?
GL: Exactly! That's what impressed me the most and I wanted to talk about it tonight because it's not just made to treat concussions, that's the interesting thing about it. I saw a little 4 year-old girl there, she had never been able to walk in her life and after two days, she was able to walk! (Surprised reactions across the panel) Of course, she wasn't walking perfectly, but she was walking. There was a blind girl, two days later, she saw colors for the first time and she was like... (mesmerized expression)
SL: How was it for you when you went into the machine, because, I believe you go in 30-second sequences, right? (GL: Exactly) You get out, you go back in later, you do it about 3-4 times a day...
GL: Yes, exactly. On the first day, they give you a pair of special glasses and you don't really know what to expect. They make you do plenty of tests, like for example, they made me walk a straight line and they made me recite the months of the year, but I had to skip one of two (January, March, May and so on), so that way, I had to use my brain and when that happened, I lost all my reflexes on the left side of my body, my arm stayed straight while I was walking so he (Dr.Carrick) said ''Ah! It's something on the left side''. So then, I put on my glasses which had cameras in them unbeknownst to me. Then he told me to follow the green line and there were results for that, then I had to follow a wavy line and I struggled to do it, I would go straight when I needed to go like this (makes a wave-like gesture with his hand), then it was a saw-like line and I just couldn't stay on the line. With the results of those exercises, he was able to determine that the response from my left side was sluggish.
So then, what that machine does (the gyroscope-like machine, which is called a Gyrostim, is one of only three in the US, according the people at Gyrostim and it is a multi-axis rotating chair. You can find out more at their website), you could go in (points to a panelist), they would spin you like this, you could go in (points another one) it would spin you the other way, I went in and they spun me this way (forward motion). I did it 3-4 times a day, 30 seconds at a time for one week. By the second day, I looked at my girlfriend, she was with me, I said to Annie (Villeneuve, Quebec singer) ''I felt a trigger, I haven't felt this way in 5 months, but I felt a trigger, my brain is back on, it's ready, I felt it''. I went to bed at 10pm that night and I woke up at 8 the next day, went for my treatment, took a nap from 8:30 to 11, went for another treatment, took another nap from noon to 5, went for treatments again and then I went to sleep and slept through the night. The next day, I felt perfect.
MB: When you go through these treatments or beforehand, do you feel pain?
GL: When you go through the treatments? No, no pain. Of course, you get spun around so you get nauseous and you feel like your brain touches your nose (tilts forward) and then goes back, it's a special feeling and there are 3 year old kids using this machine, it's crazy.
JD: Guillaume, does this mean that NHL teams or any professional or amateur team could obtain one of these machines and not have to travel to Atlanta, you could have the treatment in Minnesota or here in Montreal?
GL: Well, it's like the docteur told me, not everyone is qualified to use this machine, because if you make someone spin the improper way, it could mess everything up because we asked him ''Who can use this machine?'' and I think there were only two specialists over there who were qualified to use it and to guide others on how to use it.
MT: Right now, we're talking about concussions and some are seriously hurt by them. You look at the number of concussed players right now, it's absolutely absurd and sometimes you ask yourself as a fan or as a connoisseur ''Do any of them exagerrate?'' In your case, we know it's a concussion, but when you go to places like those and you talk to team doctors, do any of them have doubts sometimes when a player tells them they think they have a concussion?
GL: I'm glad you brought that up. I think the big problem is that it's not everyone who believes, because what do teams want? I was lucky. In Minnesota, they were honest with me, they told me ''You don't feel good. When you do, come back and we'll start working things out.'' So I was lucky, but I don't think it works that way for everyone, because they want you to play, they want you to come back, they need you. It all comes back to...the player has to respect himself. There were days that I'd watch the game and I'd tell myself ''I want to play, but I have a headache. If I don't want to have headaches when I'm 50 years old, I have to sit this one out.'' I have to put my life before my career because that where things are now. I was hearing about Sedin (Daniel) earlier, how his brother is playing and he's injured, but if he's planning to come back before he's ready, he's stupid. (interview was before game4. Sedin came back in game 4)
MB: To continue on Mario's train of thought, it's that from the outside, we always get the impression that stars like Sidney Crosby, we believe them, but the 4th line players, not so much, because we think to ourselves ''Well, they're afraid of going back to the minors or something'' and that's why we doubt them sometimes.
SL: That's what we believe, but if the players say they have a headache, well...
JD: Isn't there also the fact that...and I want to be careful here... The player's agent, the player himself, the associations, which wouldn't want to get legal action against them...isn't there a moment...When Guillaume Latendresse tells me he has a concussion, I believe him, but I'm not sure I would believe everyone. I have to be careful with the way I say this now because I'm asking myself, of course it's a physical sport and you're going to get hurt and get headaches, but are we not at a point now Guillaume, where there might be a little bit of exaggeration? Again, I want to be careful here because I respect the athletes.
GL: No, I agree 100% and Mario can relate, he used to play the game; how many times during a game or in a 5-10 game sequence do you just black out? You're going to see dark, see stars, you'll be on the ice and you'll say ''Hey, I see little Mario Tremblays around my head! (Like Tweety Birds in cartoons).'' Then you wonder to yourself ''Do I have a concussion or something? What's wrong with me?'' Then you say ''I'll finish the game, I'll see then.'' But that happens pretty often. When you wake up the next morning, when you get up or when you go back to bed, you're like... (dazed expression)
SL: The symptoms you just described to us, those are concussion symptoms, correct?
GL: Right, but how many times do you get them? You get them every two games! Whenever I threw a hit on Zdeno Chara, I'd go back to the bench and I'd be out of breath and I'd have a headache, but you know after a while, you're fine. Your brain just receives a shock that's not strong enough, you're still fine, but you're never 100% and you finish the game anyway, but is it safe? Not safe? (Shrugs shoulders)
SL: You went to see Dr. Carrick. Did Pierre-Marc go too? Jared Spurgeon? Did any of those guys go with you?
GL: No, I was the only one but I think Pierre-Marc is coming with me when I go back in May, he just wanted to make sure everything was ready for the beginning of training camp and everything. First thing I did when I went back to Minnesota was tell Pierre-Marc like I said earlier ''Look, it might be ordinary for you, it was extraordinary for me. Maybe it won't even work for you.''
MB: Will you be able to get back into action soon?
GL: That's what the doctors told me, yeah, according to the results. I just took the NHL's tests, I didn't get the results yet, but I feel better than I felt when I came back from my concussion the first time in December. I felt good then, but it didn't compare to how good I feel now.
JD: Concussions... Guillaume, do you think it was your first one or did you suffer any when you were in the Juniors, or even up in the NHL?
GL: (After some thought) Yeah, I've had some.
JD: You had some? Any aftermath from them?
GL: Aftermath, like not just one game in which my legs were weak? Yeah, I've had other concussions.
SL: I imagine you must talk about this with Pierre-Marc a lot and he had more than 1 or 2 concussion too, right?
GL: Yes exactly, Pierre-Marc had other concussions too, but what I liked about the doctor over there is his honesty and he'll answer your questions. No questions will put you on the spotlight. Some will answer ''ahhh..'' and they'll make something up. If Dr.Carrick didn't know, he'll say ''I'm not aware of this''. He does his tests on rats (rats are pretty similar to humans brain-wise), he gives them concussions, observes their reactions and puts them on machines. I believe he's about 5 to 10 year ahead of everyone in his field, he's very advanced. On the first day, he told me: ''Look, I'll be very honest with you: We'll do some tests. If it works, I'll tell you, but if it doesn't, go home and think about retiring, because maybe that's it.'' Then he said: ''One day, you'll come see me and maybe that'll be it, we'll be doing tests and your brain won't respond anymore in parts of the test and then I'll tell you ''Look Guillaume, here's what could happen in the future, take a decision.'' '' But right now, he told me '' Look, your brain is responding perfectly, it's ready to respond, it's perfect.'' And maybe the way my brain was responding, it may have been due to a hit I took a while before, maybe I have had the same concussion for 10 years, but it was never treated. That's what he does, he tries to rejuvenate the brain.
SL: With everything you just told us and with the declarations made by Todd McLellan, the San Jose Shark's head coach, who said that the league is on the verge of chaos with everything that's going on right now, what do you think of the matches being played in the playoffs right now? Has your outlook on the game, the sport you play, changed since you suffered a concussion?
GL: Well, look, I injured one man in my career: Rob Dimaio (ended his career). This is something that has always bothered me. I'm a robust player, I love contact sports, but never to injure people. If there's a guy, center ice, whose career I could end, I try to avoid him because that's not how the game works. The game, you'll agree with me on this one, when there's a fight, there's a fight, but a check, there's nothing better than a good, clean hit. However, even if it's legal, if there's a chance you might injure a player, that player wakes up the next morning with a concussion and his two kids want to play with their dad, well...
SL: It's all about respect.
JD: Not every one thinks like Guillaume though.
MT: Why is it that we talk about the rules and this and that, why do you think players don't respect themselves more?
GL: Contracts, money, wanting to get higher up in the league, you know, not every one puts life before the game and maybe my two concussions changed me, maybe I see the game differently now. When you're playing, you're not always conscious.
MB: I'll add something to what you're saying Guillaume. You were drafted because you scored goals in Drummondville, you were one of the top scorers in the QMJHL. I remember your arrival, we followed your progress in training camp and everyone said: ''Ahh, Guillaume has to hit, he has to hit, he has to hit.'' I was there when you hit Rob Dimaio at the Bell Centre... you were at a point where you felt obligated to hit because that's the kind of player you were perceived as, but that's not why they drafted you. Sometimes, once they get to the NHL, players get asked to change their play style a little bit and that's what happens.
JD: I had this discussion with Guillaume before we went on the air and he told me ''I'm the kind of player, I'm physically imposing so I had to start every game with some big hits just to get in the game, but I'm a scorer'' and Bergy (Michel Bergeron) and I talked about it on the radio, we expected 30 goals a year from you, a 30-goal power forward who could work in the corners and in his own zone, but I don't know... we don't blame anyone, but why did they see you as a hitter? Because you're big? Because there were no other big players in Montreal?
GL: Well there was a pretty good top 6 too. You had to move guys like Alexei Kovalev and Saku Koivu, there were some very good players on the top 6 and I'm the kind of player that fits just as well on the 3rd/4th line as on the 1st/2nd line. I think it was just a matter of circumstances; if I had been on another team and there were an empty spot on the right wing of the 2nd line and I had been able to take advantage of the situation, it might have been different, like what happened with Minnesota.
MB: You said right wing?
GL: Well, it was just an example.
MB: But you played right wing in junior, but they moved you to the left wing.
SL: Well, that's another story. We'll take a short break, thank you Guillaume.
And that's that! Here are a few of my thoughts about this interview:
- I find it strange that Latendresse is not receiving the same treatments as the other concussed players on the team. Maybe the very positive results will push them to send the rest of the guys to Atlanta to meet with Dr. Carrick, but it doesn't explain why Lats wasn't with the team while the other injured players were. I hope we get an explanation someday.
- In regards to being used as a grinder in Montreal: In his last interview with AC, he said the reason he wasn't a top 6 player was because the coach never gave him a proper chance. He changed his tune this time, saying it was a matter of circumstance and that it was hard to take a spot in the top 6 because of the talent already present. While I still believe he never really got a shot (they gave Pouliot a top 6 role upon his arrival, without having to prove anything), he has shown some maturity here. He realizes he can't just be given a spot, he has to give the coach a reason to win that spot.
- Latendresse also had an interview with a local radio station. I'm working on getting permission to translate that one. He basically talked about the same things, but with one important difference: His contract situation. I'll give you the gist of it until I can (hopefully) translate the whole thing: Basically, there have been talks and he knows it's very unlikely he will get a qualifying offer and he knows he will have to accept less money and a one-year deal to re-sign. However, the plan for both the Wild and Latendresse is to keep him in Minnesota. The keywords: It's a business. He would like to stay, he loves the environnment, he loves the people, the team wants him to stay. We'll see what happens!
I hope you enjoyed this, I know I did!
Once again, a HUGE thank you to RDS and the team at L'Antichambre for letting me share this with the readers at Hockey Wilderness.