For a small taste of the joie de vivre Ottawa Senators left winger Guillaume Latendresse owns, let’s take you back to late November in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, a good 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

Following a charity game in the Land of the Midnight Sun during the lockout, Latendresse and several Senators players showed up at a popular, folksy restaurant. Entrance included a ticket for the novelty daily door prize; whatever happened to be donated by a local on that night.

When Latendresse ended up winning it all – a crock pot, as it turns out – he raced to the dance floor and raised his prize high in the air, as if he had just won the Stanley Cup. After several minutes of celebration, dancing with his northern trophy, he signed the gift. It was later auctioned off for charity.

Latendresse, you see, will typically find the bright light in any situation he finds himself in.

Yet even he acknowledges that his latest injury problems – migraines and whiplash symptoms which kept him sidelined for 18 games – were wearing on him.

“Usually, I am a happy guy,” Latendresse said before leaving with the Senators for a return home to Montreal and Wednesday’s game against the Canadiens, who originally drafted him in the second round, 45th overall, of the 2005 entry draft.

“That was the toughest part. I wake up happy, whatever happens. But I was not that way (recently). Especially with all the injuries I have had the last few years, I didn’t want to come in (to Ottawa) and have injuries again. I’m just happy we found the problem with my head.”

Latendresse’s long-awaited return in Monday’s 3-2 shootout loss couldn’t have worked out better. On his first shift, a mere 55 seconds into the game, he scored on a breakaway. It was was first goal since joining the Senators and exactly 15 months since his previous goal – Dec. 11, 2011 while playing for the Minnesota Wild.

“It had been so long since the last time,” he said. “Relief is a good word. It just felt good to do it.”