So the Canadiens have taken off for Buffalo without Francis Bouillon, Georges Laraque and Christopher Higgins, which is not good news on the whole.
But as far as Guillaume Latendresse is concerned, this is a real opportunity.
Latendresse has had his best moments in a Habs uniform whenever he's had a chance to play alongside Saku Koivu, who has a unique ability to get the puck to players where they are most comfortable. Latendresse, for his part, is an above average talent when it comes to getting his hands on pucks in close quarters, and this is a perfect complement to Koivu's abilities.
If Latendresse can score against the Sabres in Buffalo on Friday night, he would probably earn himself another game on Koivu's wing in Toronto on Saturday. But even if he gets some chances and makes his presence felt in front of the net, as he's promised he'll do this season, I think Guy Carbonneau may just see the makings of a solid line.
Latendresse has spent most of his career playing with Maxim Lapierre at centre, which is not the best way to take advantage of his talents, and in fact makes his biggest weakness - his skating - even more apparent because Lapierre's game is predicated on dumping the puck and forechecking.
With Koivu and Alex Tanguay carrying the puck into the offensive zone, it will allow Latendresse to head straight to the front of the net instead of having to go dig in the corners to try and force a turnover. If he does establish that net presence - it still remains a big if because he hasn't done it consistently through his first two years in the league - Latendresse could be a perfect fit with two able playmakers.
If Latendresse were to become a permanent fit on Koivu's line, it shouldn't be seen as a demotion for Higgins, either. Adding his talent to Robert Lang and Sergei Kostitsyn makes that line much stronger than if Latendresse were playing there, and I feel would bring more balance to the three scoring lines.
The role Latendresse would play on the Koivu line could be filled by Lang on this one, because those 37-year-old legs won't be able to keep up with Sergei and Higgins. I see Lang becoming the Habs' go-to guy on important faceoffs, so strengthening his line while not necessarily weakening Koivu's will only help Carbonneau in making the opposing coach's match-ups ineffective.
The opportunity has presented itself to him, now it's up to Latendresse to go grab it and run with it.