Michael Latta in his natural habitat.
Tuesday night against the Islanders, Michael Latta got back in the line-up for the first time since February 22. During the first period, Latta made his presence felt, fighting 6’4” defenseman Scott Mayfield after teammate Mike Richards was slammed hard into the boards.
Because of Latta’s latest kerfuffle, we learned of his new nickname, courtesy of Karl Alzner.
[Fun side note: Latts coming to the defense of Richards is not surprising. Richards was Latta’s hockey hero growing up. “I like to try and play like Richards because he competes hard and plays a skilled, tough game,” Latta said in his NHL.com 2009 scouting report. Thanks for sending that, @MShackapopolis!]
During an interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies Wednesday, the kind-hearted Alzner, a veteran of one career NHL fight against Steve Downie, spoke expansively about punching faces.
“It’s impressive the guys that’ll drop them no matter what,” Alzner said to the Junkies. “If you’re a guy that plays 20 minutes a game and you’re your team’s best player, it doesn’t matter who it is, you don’t need to fight the guy. I have a lot of respect for guys like Willy and Lats, it doesn’t even faze them who it is, they just go after it.”
Alzner was amazed just how strong Latta is in fights despite his average NHL size,.
“Latts is a great fighter, he’s very technical, he’s very, very sturdy,” Alzner said before delivering the goods. “I’ve heard one of the guys call him The Fire Hydrant, because he’s just low and thick and he just kinda sits there and it’s hard to move him and hard to get really an upper-hand on him.”
“He just does the right things in the fight, he waits for his opportunities,” Alzner continued. “The guy’s head opened up one time there and Lats popped him pretty good. He’s a very technical fighter. It’s fun because he’s a guy that likes to wrestle the guys in the room. Like he’ll come up to you and just grab you and then you get into a little hand to hand with him in the room and you can just kinda see how strong he is and how strong his grip is, it’s pretty interesting.”
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) April 5, 2016
Transcription by Chris Cerullo.
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