Latendresse has to get his game together otherwise…..


    By Habster

    There was a time in my life (not too long ago, I must remind you!), when I felt almost invincible, that I barely had to make an effort to get things accomplished. Life just seemed to fall in place without having to sacrifice too much in return. Looking back on those days, I sometimes wonder if I took things for granted and could have put more of an effort in school, hockey and life in general.

    Being young is a wonderful thing which we have taken for granted at one time or another in our lives, it’s only normal. I can’t help thinking that Guillaume Latendresse is at that stage in his life/young hockey career when thing are taken for granted and have come to easily to him. I realize he is only 20 years old and still has a lot of time ahead of him but I can’t help thinking it was a mistake keeping him in the NHL last season. He had a decent rookie season (GP-80 G-16 A-13 PT-29 -20) but was a liability on defense and at times should have taken a seat in the press box where he could have appreciated his playing time and refocused on what he needed to do to get better.

    It’s this lack of accountability and making the team at the tender age of 19 years old which is partly responsible for Latendresse’s lethargic start to the season. By all accounts, he had trained hard in the off season with Canadiens trainer, Scott Livingston and had lost about 20 lbs in the process ( Habs boot camp ).

    Physical preparation doesn’t appear to be the problem, it’s the mental preparation for the upcoming season which seems to be the deficiency with Guillaume. It just seems that he is going through the motions and has taken his spot on the team for granted without truly earning it. He looks lost and out of place on the ice, even looking slower than last year. Latendresse is the type of player who has to be skating/moving all the time and must be physically involved in the play by using his size. He hasn’t been able to build any chemistry with anyone which is a concern. He is only averaging about 10:13 of play time per game(he only averaged 12:35 last year) and is already -2 with only one shot on goal. A large portion of his points from last season were collected when he replaced Chris Higgins on the Saku Koivu line (he did thrive on the line).

    My concern is that Latendresse has made team rosters (junior at the age of 16 and NHL at the age of 19) at such young ages that he hasn’t had too many difficult moments throughout his young hockey career to fall back on when times get tough as they have now. I have read many of his quotes in the media and he does appear to be mature beyond his years ( he certainly appeared to be the more mature person with the Patrick Roy situation last year).

    I certainly hope Guillaume Latendresse starts to turn things around and learns that everything in life has to be earned and appreciated before they are taken away. Unfortunately, if he can’t get his game straightened out soon, there will be a trip to the press box or Hamilton which wouldn’t be a terrible thing to happen in the long run.