Two years ago, former Caps roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta gave a ridiculous tour of their apartment for EPIX’s The Road to the Winter Classic. It became an internet phenomenon. The tour included a look inside Wilson and Latta’s mostly empty refrigerator, which included three bottles of Heinz Ketchup.
Since then, the two players have become synonymous with ketchup. Last year, Caps fans baked ketchup cookies for Wilson and Latta. Another, reader/regular commenter Gene got a ketchup bottle signed by Michael Latta at an autograph signing.
On Saturday, Gene and his adorable son got Wilson to autograph it too, which now gives the family possession of what I’m guessing is the first and last Caps roomie, dually signed ketchup bottle.
I recommend unfollowing Michael Latta on Twitter immediately if you don’t want to cry yourself to sleep every night.
Tuesday, the former Capitals forward tweeted this:
— Michael Latta (@Latta17) September 13, 2016
Latta meant no harm with the simple hashtag, but Caps fans’ hearts broke all over again when reminded of his move to California to play for the Los Angeles Kings.
Photoshop by ME
Ten days ago, Michael Latta officially left the Washington Capitals, signing a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings. Not only is Latta getting a full-time roster spot, he’s also getting a brand new number and it’s one that his long-time fans will be familiar with.
Latta will wear number 17 next season – the same number he wore in junior hockey with the Guelph Storm. It’s also the same number Milan Lucic wore for the Kings last season.
Photo: Patrick McDermott
On Monday afternoon, checking-line forward Michael Latta was not tendered a qualifying offer, ending his tenure in Washington. Lats will become an unrestricted free agent July 1.
“We struggled with that one,” Barry Trotz said to Elliot in the Morning the next day. “He’s been a really good soldier for us. We felt with where the game is going, in terms of our team, with four centermen, Lats is best playing in the middle and right now we don’t really have a place for him. And plus we have a couple centerman, Travis Boyd and Chandler Stephenson, who have really stepped up from the minors. Their skill sets are a little different. They’re more about speed and skill. And Lats is more about the physicality and the grind.”
“We wanted to give him an opportunity somewhere else,” Trotz continued. “Lats has been exceptional as a teammate. A lot of his teammates are sorry to see him leave. But I’m hoping the best for Lats. He’s a terrific guy. He’s a guy’s guy and a great teammate.”
On Tuesday night, I spoke to Latta and he opened up about the team’s decision to not bring him back. He also discussed his time in Washington – a time he will remember fondly – and also spoke seriously about his close friendship with Tom Wilson.
He also had some very sweet words for Caps fans.
On Tuesday night, a day after news broke that Michael Latta would not receive a qualifying offer from the Washington Capitals, I had a lengthy interview with the forward, who is now set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Latta told me that he was caught off guard by the team’s decision to non-tender him, but had nothing but good things to say about his teammates and his time in Washington.
“I was getting texts from everyone,” Latta said when the news dropped. “I wasn’t replying right away to [Tom], so he double, triple, quadruple texted me.”
“I think that’s one of the best things about hockey, the relationships you build,” Latta continued. “Tom and I obviously have become very close and will probably be one of my best friends forever. I’ll take a lot of good things from Washington, like the friendships I’ve built.”
Latta, who according to Hockey Fights has dropped the gloves 106 times in his professional career, will now look for a new team. He’s hoping to find a spot where he can bring energy every night and penalty kill. Depending on where he ends up, Latta could find himself playing against his former Caps teammates next year. It may get very awkward for fans.
In February, I spoke to soon-to-be-former Capital Michael Latta and we chatted about his one-time roommate, Andre Burakovsky.
“He’s a little shy,” Latta said. “He’s a shy, cute, little guy.” Latta then went on to explain how the Burracuda was afraid to swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas.
That may explain Latta’s reaction Tuesday afternoon to a photo Burakovsky posted on Instagram. While holding up his dukes, Burakovsky, a veteran of 0 NHL fights, posed in front of a punching bag, looking tough.
Photo: Patrick Smith
News broke Monday afternoon that the Caps would not extend a qualifying offer to checking-line forward Michael Latta. The Caps had two options, submit a qualifying offer to Latta for $632,000 or let him become an unrestricted free agent come July 1st. The Caps chose the latter, while retaining the rights to RFAs Marcus Johansson, Dmitry Orlov, and Tom Wilson.
For many fans, the move to non-tender came out of nowhere. A few seasons ago, the Caps gave up a top prospect to acquire both Latta and Martin Erat. Latta remains an inexpensive player and his underlying play suggests he could bring value as an everyday player. On top of that, Brian MacLellan had indicated the Caps planned to qualify Lats, even after the Lars Eller trade Friday night.
Two days later, Latta was let loose and saying his goodbyes. Ian and Pat discuss the decision below.
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