The kid gets his big break
Still in search of his first NHL point, Guillaume Latendresse will look to make the most of his increased ice-time beginning Thursday night in Boston.
MONTREAL - When Guillaume Latendresse discovered a different colored practice jersey hanging in this stall on Wednesday morning, he thought perhaps there had been some mix-up. But the 19-year-old winger soon found out he had moved to the second line alongside Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev.
"When I first walked into the room this morning, I saw my usual jersey was in my spot and then when I passed back though, it had changed," said Latendresse. "I even asked the trainer if there had been a mistake."
Thankfully for the hulking winger, that was not the case.
All smiles after his first practice riding shotgun on Kovalev's line, Latendresse didn't hide the fact he was a little nervous on the ice this morning.
"I did all I could to make sure I got on Alex's good side, I figured that could only help me," laughed Latendresse. "But I'm excited about this opportunity and I'm prepared to do whatever it takes to stay on this line.
"I know what I need to do," added Latendresse. "I'm not on this line to handle the puck, I'll leave that up to Kovy and Pleky. I'm going to keep playing my physical game, dig the puck out of the corners and then let them set up the play."
After averaging just over eight minutes of ice-time so far this season, Latendresse can expect to see his workload double Thursday night in Boston. But his coach isn't too concerned about that.
"He made some mistakes in his first few games, which was to be expected but he has really come on strong in his last few games," said Carbonneau. "I need to see what Guillaume can handle and find out what kind of player he is."
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com