Don’t tell my wife but while I was out with her for an anniversary dinner last night(17 years she’s been stuck with me), I couldn’t get my mind off of Steve Ott.
I absolutely LOVE the trade and as opposed to many of you, it’s about who is coming in and not who was sent out.
I didn’t have a problem with Derek Roy. Up until last season, he was a productive player at a position of need around the NHL. I don’t think he was a cancer in the locker room and is a good number two center who was in the number one role out of default.
I was pumped because Ted Black and Darcy Regier have talked about making their team tougher to play against and Steve Ott is the poster child for that kind of player.
Do you know the kind of player who makes you yell at the television set whenever you watch him play? The kind of player who makes you so angry that you wish you could put on skates and go out there and punch the guy in the face? That guy is Steve Ott. You can’t stand him….until your team trades for him and then you have a man crush. The Sabres acquired that guy.
Ott is the kind of player who can stir things up and more than handle himself. He’s the kind of player who will answer the challenge when the other team tries to stir something up. He’s the kind of player that makes his teammates feel more courageous and safer on the ice.
But Ott isn’t just a “policeman”. There is skill in his game. The soon to be 30 year old has recorded five straight seasons of double digit goals. He’s averaged 15 goals and 35 points over those five seasons in Dallas (while also averaging 154 penalty minutes.) Over that time span, there are only two players in the NHL who have at least 75 goals and 700 PIM’s. One is Steve Ott and the other is Scott Harnell, who might be atop your list of players you despise but deep down you wish they were on your favorite team.
For those of you who have been worried about the Sabres ability to win faceoffs since Paul Gaustad was traded to Nashville, Ott won 56% of his faceoffs the last three years with the Stars.
Good or bad, he can and has crossed the line when physical play becomes dirty play. He was suspended for three games in March 2008 for a hit to the head of then Colorado Avalanche defenseman and now teammate Jordan Leopold. Ott admitted it was a cheap shot and told WGR he plans to apologize to Leopold when he sees him at training camp.
Ott received a one game ban in March of 2009 after receiving a match penalty for eye gouging Anaheim’s Travis Moen. Ott claims it was an accident.
It won’t be an accident when Ott takes his physical play into games against the Boston Bruins. That was one of the first things I thought of after I heard about the trade. Lucic, Thornton, Boychuk, Marchand and company might actually have a Sabres team that can stand up to them with Ott, McCormick, John Scott, Mike Weber and Corey Tropp. Perhaps Patrick Kaleta will be on that growing list if he is re-signed by the Sabres and does a little more standing up and fighting rather than drawing a penalty and turning.
Listen to the entire interview with Ott from the WGR Morning show. You’ll love what he says about playing in Buffalo and facing the Boston Bruins.
Of all the things I have read and heard about Ott since last night, I’ll tell you the one thing that really struck me and made me smile.
When he was playing for Team Canada in the 2001 World Junior Championships, Ott actually learned some offensive phrases in other languages just so he could trash talk and get under the skin of the European players. Now that is dedication to doing whatever it takes to give your team an advantage.
That guy is now a Buffalo Sabre. Well done, Darcy. Now go and get Bobby Ryan.