Once an afterthought in the Filip Forsberg deal, Michael Latta has since carved for himself a full-time roster spot in Washington. An underrated, rugged center, Latta’s adept at killing penalties, forechecking, punching faces, and being literal sandpaper on the ice. Off the ice, he’s something of a social media all-star and a player to whom fans have really gravitated.
Latta, who almost has 20k Twitter followers, has co-created new nicknames for Evgeny Kuznetsov, Mike Green, and Nicklas Backstrom. He’s live-tweeted what it’s like to be roommates with Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky. He was the single funniest moment of EPIX’s Road To The Winter Classic. He was one of the first players to send out a well wish to the #Pray4Bman hashtag.
Simply put, Latta is a delight. On Sunday, I stuck a camera in his face after a bag skate at KCI. This turned out to be a good idea.
We’ve heard a lot of new nicknames for a lot of Caps players. I heard that you guys nicknamed Evgeny Kuznetsov, Harry Potter. Is there any [other] nicknames we should know about that need to be out there?
Let me look around the room here. You guys might know about them all…
How about Brooks Orpik?
Oh yeah. Batya. I think it’s Russian for grandpa. I think Kuzy called him Batya. I’m not sure if it’s grandpa or old man or fossil or something. I don’t know exactly. [Editor’s note: Kuznetsov spoke about it with us.]
I also noticed that your beard game is a little weak.
Who would you say has the best beard in here so far?
I’m not sure if we all started [at the same time]. Greenie’s got a pretty good one. Greenie’s, his hair always looks perfect. Burkie’s is definitely just terrible. He has the worst [beard] by far. I got some coming in here (points to neck/Adam’s apple area where there is no hair). Greenie’s is just rugged.
How about Holtby’s [beard]?
Aw, man. That’s the beast right there. That’s a given. I should have thought of that right off the bat.
So far this year you and Tom Wilson have gotten a ton of attention as the Caps roomies with the EPIX stuff. From your perspective, how hilarious has that experience been just seeing people really pick up on that?
Yeah. It’s been fun. I mean we just started off just joking with each other and 24/7 comes around and all the guys are like “follow these two dummies around.” It has been great. The fans have been [great]. We’ve had a lot of fun with it. It’s cool to be a part of. It’s just a ton of fun for us– – just getting tweets. We’re always together anyway and we’re always seeing tweets. “Oh, Lats, you see this one? You see this one?” We’re always laughing about it.
What’s probably the most annoying part about living with Tom Wilson?
If you can name [only] one.
His nickname at home is Grumpy. [laughs] But if he gets in a bad mood, I have to put him in his place a few times – tap him out. But now Burkie is in the place. These two are always wrestling. Wrestling like four-year-olds.
Were they fans of WWE growing up?
[laughs] I don’t know. They’re always wrestling. It doesn’t matter if they’re making dinner or doing something, they’re always like… it’s exactly like having two little brothers. That’s what it’s like.
How much do you guys play table tennis?
At the start for like for a month we didn’t have cable. So we just played it for two hours a night, an hour a night. And then Tom got sick of losing so we stopped.
Has your guys’ refrigerator gotten a little bit more stocked?
Yeah, it’s nice. I went to the grocery store yesterday and stocked up. We have a nice patio on our rooftop. Had a really nice dinner. Steak, sweet potatoes, asparagus. After that, a lot of greek yogurt. I love crunch granola. And a lot of fruit.
Thanks to Melissa Blum for editing the video.
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