Wild winger Guillaume Latendresse has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Trophy by the Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.
The hardware goes to one NHLer each season who best demonstrates “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
After floundering for three-plus seasons being a hometown kid in Montreal, Latendresse was traded to the Wild for Benoit Pouliot and became a revelation this season. In 55 games, he’s scored 25 goals and 37 points. Only two players in Wild history (Marian Gaborik and Brian Rolston) have scored more.
“Now I only have to think about hockey,” Latendresse said. “In Montreal, there’s so many distractions, especially when you’re from there. Let’s say you play a bad game, for two weeks you’re going to hear about that. You can’t turn the page easily on things.
“Playing in Minnesota is so fun. It’s crazy. It’s just like Montreal, except off the ice.”
Latendresse could have arrived full of attitude and self-pity. He could have come to Minnesota and been a role player, and no one would have thought twice. Instead, he became exactly the kind of player the Wild needs -- maybe the first power winger in team history.
“It was about opportunity,” he said. “The way people were seeing Pouli here, maybe I could have been a third- or fourth-liner and they would have said ‘good trade’ because Pouli was not seen with the talent he has here. But I don’t want to be a third- or fourth-liner.”
More from Star Tribune
More from Russo's Rants
Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher met with the Wild's interim coach today and also got permission from Anaheim to talk with its recently fired coach.
The Wild GM addressed the media for an hour today, and here are some quick hits, including thoughts on the coaching situation and team chemistry.
Zach Parise confirmed the Star Tribune's report before the playoffs that he has a herniated disk pinching on his nerve. He had been playing with the injury since January.
After a season-ending 5-4 loss to the Stars, the Wild now looks ahead to the offseason.
Mikko Koivu scored the tying and winning goals last night in the Wild's season-saving Game 5 overtime win in Dallas.