Tom Wilson and Michael Latta sat down at Kapnos Taverna to discuss the return of hockey.
By Laura Wainman
When you sit down for drinks in Ballston with 21-year-old Tom Wilson and 24-year-old Michael Latta and they argue over who is the better ping-pong player and tease one another about their social media habits, it can be easy to forget they aren’t just your average 20-something roommates. But these days the Washington Capitals’ resident physical forwards can’t even post an Instagram photo of themselves lying on the couch watching TV without getting 200 comments about their lifestyle or appearance. The duo have one of the most talked about friendships (seriously, there’s even a Tumblr fan page for the Latta-Wilson bromance) in the city and with personalities as large as theirs, it’s not hard to see why. Over Greek small plates at Kapnos Taverna, the guys dished on who loves Justin Bieber, team pickups and trades and how they are moving past a disappointing playoff run.
Since the airing of EPIX’s “Road to the NHL Winter Classic” there has been a lot of talk about your “bromance.” What led to your bond?
Tom Wilson: When we both came to the team we were the young crew, there weren’t a lot of other young guys.
Michael Latta: We were forced to hang out together.
TW: Latts was my only choice so we made it work.
ML: We won the lottery there.
What made you want to be roommates?
ML: I needed someone to cook for me every night.
TW: Nah, we’re pretty good at sharing everything. It’s just nice having a roommate.
ML: I didn’t want to live alone. We don’t have family around or girlfriends or whatever. It’s good to have someone to hang out with.
TW: It can be a long year if you don’t have a roommate and you’re living alone.
What’s the team dynamic like? Do you spend a lot of time together?
ML: It’s kind of different because most guys have families and stuff. So if we have off days they want to spend it with their kids.
TW: On the road we’ll hang out. We get up, go to practice and then we have nothing to do the rest of the day whereas the rest of the team has to go take care of their kids or pick them up from school.
ML: I just take care of Willy.
You guys went to the Redskins season opener game this year. What is the relationship like within the Washington athlete community?
TW: I think there’s a quiet respect.The fans kind of bring everybody together. You meet people who are just big D.C. fans all around and they are talking about the Skins or the Wizards and Nats. It’s cool for the athletes to kind of support each other.
ML: We do different community events together too. We did a Wounded Warriors event with the basketball players a couple years ago and that was cool to bounce questions off them and see what their lives are like.
How do you feel about the support the Caps and the sport of hockey get in Washington?
ML: I came from a different organization and I had no idea how loud the fans would be here. When we were at the Redskins game this weekend, people were stopping us and wishing us good luck this season and it was awesome.
TW: I grew up in a hockey crazy town, Toronto, and the fans are all out for the hockey. Sometimes in hockey crazy towns it can be overwhelming, but in D.C. they love their Caps but they are respectful and they don’t cross that line.
if you could accomplish one thing before you leave washington what would it be?
TW: We’ve gotta win the Stanley Cup.
ML: It’s been our dream since we were five year olds playing hockey in the driveway and now we’ve made it here, and have a team that could actually do it.
What will it take to bring the Cup to Washington?
TW: Winning the last game. What some fans don’t understand, is it’s so tough to get that final win in playoff hockey. That’s the kind of thing we probably need to do a little better, to close them out when we can because we had three chances to do it last year.
What were the takeaways from the 2014-2015 season?
TW: The difference between our first and second year in how much our team played as a team, together and how much we bought into the system, it helped a ton.
ML: Our locker room is really good. There’s no one outcast. That goes a long way in hockey.
What is the locker room vibe right now?
TW: We felt like we left something on the table last year, so it’s exciting to get back. No one wanted to leave last year and everyone was kind of bummed. But now we’re back.
Let’s talk about the new Capital, T.J. Oshie. His pickup is being touted as one of the biggest moves in the league right now.
ML: It was huge. He is one of the best players in the league and I think our top six is really legit now We had a good top six last year but we didn’t have an elite top six.
TW: You hear nothing but good things from everyone throughout the hockey world. Everyone I talk to is like “oh you got that Oshie? He’s a great dude you’re going to love him.” That’s exciting.
The Capitals have had a consistent presence in the playoffs in the last decade, despite not being able to bring home a championship. What do you attribute that to?
TW: Playoff hockey is such a unique thing, where every single thing matters. You have to be so dialed in on everything If you miss one pass or you don’t block one shot…
ML: One mess up or one bad bounce off the boards or one bad line change, so many little things go into the dynamic of the game.I’m really excited about this year though. I think we are better on paper than we were last year.
What have been the biggest changes under the leadership of Coach Trotz?
ML: We played more as a team. We obviously brought in some new players, but we are just working hard and sacrificing for one another.
TW: Everyone knows their role and what they need to do. If you mess up you know it, but he doesn’t kill you. You know where you stand with him.
Tom, there’s been some discussion about this year being a transition year for you and a time for you to take on more responsibility.
TW: It has gotta be expected, it’s my third year in the league. Obviously, I had that physical role in the league, but I want to be a bigger part of the team now. Whatever role I get I’ll be happy with but I want to move up.
best night out in washington?
ML: After the Winter Classic game, all of our friends and families were in town and we all went out. That’s all I’m saying.
TW: Team parties are the real fun nights because you don’t get to see a lot of the older guys out for dinner because they have their families so when we are all together it’s fun.
Last movie you saw?
ML: That’s him, not me.
TW: Nah, it was “Straight Outta Compton.” Latts had already seen it and he still took me, it’s that good.
Most played song on your iPod?
TW: J. Biebs “What do you Mean?”
ML: T Swift gets a lot of airtime too.
Who would you want to play you in a movie?
TW: I can answer for you, you’ve got the biggest man crush in the world. Brad Pitt.
ML: No, Markie Mark for sure.
TW: The guy who played Tim Riggins for me.
ML: The guy’s never done one movie since “Friday Night Lights.”
TW: Well, he nailed that role so if he can nail my role like he did Riggins then that would be a good choice
See the full story from the October 2015 issue below.
Check out a behind-the-scenes video from the interview made by Monumental Network’s Capital Red Line.