Habs ship Latendresse west

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

MONTREAL -- After a recent unhappy stint on the ice, the Montreal Canadiens traded Guillaume Latendresse to the Minnesota Wild on Monday for left-winger Benoit Pouliot.

The trade was made Monday afternoon and Quebec-born Latendresse, while still in shock yesterday evening, took the time to assess the situation.

"In terms of hockey it's a good thing for me," he said. "It's the personal side that affects me the most. All of my family and friends are here; this is a difficult time."

In 23 games this season, the 22-year-old has wracked up a total of only two goals and an assist. Popular with Habs fans, a strained Latendresse said he felt he was slowly losing his place within the club. "It started when Tom Pyatt and Ryan White came in. It's like I wasn't trusted anymore."

Near the end he said he felt like he was constantly governed by fear. "I knew that if I missed a pass I'd end up in the fourth line," he explained.

With Pouliot, the Habs pick up promising player who has had a rough start to his NHL career. The 23-year-old Alfred, Ont.-native, who got his start in hockey with the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL, said the trade will give him a fresh start in the league.

"It actually didn't go well for me early on in the pros," he said. "But it's a totally new start for me. I'm even more excited to find myself (playing) with the Canadiens," he said, adding that he was a Habs fan growing up.

Pouliot was drafted fourth overall in 2005 by the Wild just before the Habs picked up Carey Price. In 2006 he won a gold medal with the Canadian team at the World Junior Championships. But the winger has struggled this season, with 4 points to his name from the last 14 games he played with the Wild.

Out for over a week with a shoulder injury, Pouliot will join his new teammates Tuesday afternoon but will not be able to lace up against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Canadiens also announced they are recalling left-winger Sergei Kostitsyn from the Hamilton Bulldogs. The Belorussian player has 4 goals and 9 assists over 16 games with the team and will return to Montreal on Tuesday.


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