When hockey players decide to hang up their skates, their desire to stay connected to the sport they played and were so very passionate about since childhood, is still as strong as ever before. Some end up working directly with their respective teams, while some decide to work on the other side of the microphone as TV or radio analysts. Many Habs alums now cover the Canadiens in one way or another, and we caught up with a few of them to learn more about their transition to the media. This week we have Guillaume Latendresse who is an analyst for RDS.
What motivated you to make the transition into the media world? Was it you or the network that made the first move?
GUILLAUME LATENDRESSE: I always had an interest in making the jump into the media world once my playing career wrapped up. When I was playing in Switzerland at the end of my career, I started to put some feelers out to see if there was any interest. I had already been on Antichambre a few times before then, and each time they said we should talk about what the future might hold. When we started to seriously discuss the idea, it didn't take long before we reached an agreement.
Were there things that surprised you in the media world when you started your new career on the other side of the microphone?
GL: Honestly, no. It was not as bad as I first dreaded. The other guys I work with take it so seriously, that it almost feels like I'm still playing in the NHL! I think that's why we have such a good show. We are all passionate, hard workers at RDS. We are a bit like head coaches when they start trying out new ideas and combinations. For someone who is just starting out, it is fun and everyone is very supportive. When I was first hired at RDS I was told it was a big family, where everyone worked together and worked hard to build up the reputation they have today.
What was your perception of hockey journalists when you played?
GL: My perception of the media was influenced by the fact that I was very outspoken as a player. I never hesitated to speak my mind. It hurt me a few times in my career because the journalists would take my words at face value. Every single syllable is analyzed under a microscope, so I would have been better off calculating each and every word before I spoke-up sometimes. I also found the media pretty frustrating at times because they are in the room every single day often asking the exact same questions.
Has it changed now that you're on the other side?
GL: I think sometimes we can tend to overanalyze things. At the same time, viewers appreciate it when we dig deeper because the fans here value being informed. On the one hand, as a player you might find journalists annoying, but on the other side of the mic you realize that's what the fans are paying to see. I understand both sides of the coin.
Analyzing the performance of your former team must feel a bit weird, right? Is it difficult to remain impartial?
GL: I try to take into consideration what I would have liked to see from the analysts when I was playing in the NHL. It's become far too easy to hypothesize that a guy had a bad game or is a distraction. Anyone can do that. You have to dig deeper to find out what is really going on. You always have to consider both sides' perspective.
Have you always had the CH lol tattooed on your chest over your heart?
GL: Always. And I've also always wanted to the see the Canadiens succeed. Even though my best season was statistically with the Minnesota Wild, the Canadiens will always have a special place in my heart. I recently attended a few games with the Habs alumni and to see the way the organization still treats us today is really amazing. It was really hard a few times to watch some of the Canadiens losses this year.
Are there ever a time you wanted to forget when you were in front of the cameras?
GL: Not really. There are lines you can cross and there as those that you simply cannot. Even though I am still close with several guys on the team, I have no issue saying when they have a bad game. It's part of my job and there is always a way to address it honestly.
What's the most embarrassing question that you were asked as a player?
GL: When I was in Montreal, people wanted me to drop the gloves twenty times a year. But it was never my style in junior, I maybe participated in ten fights in my whole life. I was a goal-scorer. They always asked me why I wasn't scoring 30 goals a year and dropping the gloves 15 times per season. People forget that there is only one Eric Lindros every 300 years!