Steve Ott is exactly the kind of grit and sandpaper player that the Buffalo Sabres needed for this season.
Last season, Buffalo was getting pushed around by the teams in its own division. Literally.
Most of you probably already know about the nasty hit Milan Lucic had on Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller early on in the season last year, but in case you've forgotten or never heard of it, youtube can refresh your memory pretty quickly.
It was a rough hit, and for the rest of the season there was a lot of talk about whether or not Buffalo was tough enough to stand up for its own players. The general consensus seemed to be "no," and so the Sabres set out to add the toughness they needed after the end of the season.
Dallas Stars fans know what happened next. They traded for Steve Ott.
It was a trade that worked well for both sides, as it brought Derek Roy to Dallas, an offensive touch that the Stars knew they were lacking. It was tough to see the fan favorite leave the AAC for good, but it was a necessary trade for both teams. Dallas was looking for more offense, while Buffalo was looking for more grit. And grit is something Steve Ott has coming out of his ears. Day in and day out, we saw the tenacity that Ott had, and his commitment to bringing that energy to the ice for each game. Now, he's excited about getting to do the same thing in a whole new arena, division, and even conference.
Ott fully understands why he was brought in.
"For me personally, I want to bring sandpaper and compete to our team," he said. "You try to drag other guys into battle. By going out there and playing hard, you hope that other guys follow. It works like a chain reaction."
It won't take fans long in Toronto, Boston, Montreal and Ottawa to find out Ott is now a Sabre. He will aggravate the entire Northeast Division and make opposing star players aware of his presence as well.
"For my myself, there's nothing better than competing against the top-end guys," said Ott. "Some people may say it's unfair to run the top-end guys, but you know what? It's the NHL and nothing is fair and nothing is easy. You have to make it hard on them. If you don't play them tight and hard, they'll make you look silly in a hurry."
He will no doubt fulfill his role while he's there, and those games against the Boston Bruins (for more than one reason) should be phenomenal to watch. I just have one question for Ott now that he plays for the Sabres: Goal, or No Goal?
Coming up in today's links: The Dallas Stars have more events planned for fans, why Tom Gaglardi needs to keep his ID on him at all times, and even with hockey back, is it really the NHL?
- The Dallas Stars are having a "college night" this Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks. College students get a discounted rate if they buy their tickets online. As a bonus, bring your ID to the game, and get a free hat. [Twitter]
- The Stars first watching party is today. If you want to enjoy some festivities, ice girls, and free stuff while the game is played, you definitely need to go. [Twitter]
- Speaking of tonight's game, it is the home opener for the Detroit Red Wings. Here's a list of the special festivities planned for Joe Louis Arena. If you went to Dallas' home opener, does it compare? [M Live]
- Mark Stepneski has his preview of tonight's game. And before you ask, no, there's still no sign on Jamie Benn. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Apparently, Tom Gaglardi almost missed his own party for the first game of the season. Dallas has always had a hard time recognizing hockey players in public, so I suppose I can understand forgetting the face of the team owner. But, hey, at least he got in. [D Magazine]
- Here's a quick update on some of the Stars prospects not in the AHL, though I imagine we'll be seeing the top 3 in Austin very soon. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Here's some highlights from the opening weekend. I especially enjoy the good news about the upcoming lockout in 2020. [Grantland]
- Even though hockey is back, it's still not really NHL caliber hockey, as most teams have proven. Hopefully, that will be remedied over the next week or so. [Sports Illustrated]
- The St. Louis Blues managed to beat the Nashville Predators in overtime last night. As a Dallas fan, if you're wondering who to cheer for in games like these, I generally lean towards cheering on the power house to win in regulation. If the Blues are going to make the playoffs anyways, they might as well beat our competition in the process. [NHL]
- After the last lockout, the NHL thought the absolute best way to make it up to fans (besides raising ticket prices for the next several years) was to put "Thank You Fans!" on the ice of each rink. Apparently, that apology was so well received, the Columbus Blue Jackets decided to add it to their sweaters this year. [Puck Daddy]
- I love videos like these. It always amazes me how much work goes into changing an arena from one event to another. Here's one of the Joe Louis Arena being changed from a car show to a hockey rink in under 48 hours. As my friend Darth Vader says, "Impressive. Most Impressive."