Latendresse Slowly Finding His Way
Below is an article I spotted on Wednesday after the Canadiens 3-2 loss to Carolina in which Guillaume Latendresse scored on a penalty shot to start a Habs comeback that eventually fell short. After last night's game, I went back to Pierre Durocher's piece, as I thought Latendresse played one the best games I've ever seen him play against the Flyers.
The game was a textbook study of what Canadiens fans have been hoping from the Canadiens forward for three seasons now. It was the kind of effort that if produced consistently, would go a long way towards not only getting his critics off his back, but make him a regular contributor to the the Canadiens cause.
The line on Latendresse last night is as impressive as it looked on the ice. One goal, one assist, sis shots, one missed shot, 4 hits, and 17 shifts averaging 0:48 seconds for a total time on ice of 13:36. The icetime included 2:20 of powerplay time that was well earned.
One could suggest that Latendresse was at times unrecognizable in this game. He threw his weight around when required to, went to the net with purpose, was strong on the puck when he battled for it, and generally offered up the complete type of power forward game the Canadiens envisioned when drafting him in 2005.
Too often Latendresse looks confused out there, and perhaps messages sent to him over time have been confusing. Clearly, last night's performance is exactly what is expected of him - to plat a big man's game.
Here is a translation of Pierre Durocher's Journal article from Wednesday
Despite Tuesday's loss, there were positive elements in the Canadiens camp, including the performance of Guillaume Latendresse.
No, he did not have to play a game that mimicked Milan Lucic's contribution, as wished for by Guy Carbonneau. It serves no purpose comparing two players of different characters.
Latendresse however, battled hard, finishing the game with a goal, four shots, and five hits. he came close to adding the tying goal near the end of the game, but Cam Ward foiled his effort.
"I didn't get the shot off that I wanted to", explained the player. "Alex Tanguay was right next to me, and gently touched the puck. It's too bad I didn't score, because it would have been good to get at least a point after a crazy game like that, with 11 penalties called on us."
"I didn't deserve the second call on me. The Hurricanes defenseman backed up onto me."
Latendresse played on a new trio, along with Ben Maxwell and Sergei Kostitsyn.
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable playing with Sergei", he said. "I'm getting my confidence back. It's seems funny to be playing with them. Even though I'm just 21 years old, I'm the most experienced of the three."
Carbonneau believes that the three young players can produce good results. During the post game press conference, the coach stated, "Guillaume showed Tuesday night that he is capable of playing in the NHL."