The season before last Steve Ott was a Dallas Star. Lindy Ruff was the coach of the Buffalo Sabres. Then Lindy Ruff was the coach of Steve Ott...and the Buffalo Sabres. Now Steve Ott is the captain of the Buffalo Sabres and Lindy Ruff is the head coach of the Dallas Stars.
The hoard of Stars fans at the American Airlines Center sporting Steve Ott jerseys surely do, and tonight is finally the night that the franchise that begat him will have to face his wrath and his chirp.
And the man can chirp.
As has been said about so many over the years, Steve Ott is the kind of guy you love when he's on your team and the kind you mega-loathe when he's not. The axiom will be tested tonight as the Stars, frustrated and in need of points, have little time for shenanigans and must take to task a 2-10-1 Sabres team that has nothing to lose.
Ott was traded, heart-breakingly for some, in an effort to solve a problem at second-line center. A dearth. Derek Roy was the return, and Derek Roy could have stayed here for, if you believe some, more years and money than he got from the St. Louis Blues. But he chose to move on before the reality of that situation was known.
So what did the Stars really get for Steve Ott?
The expulsion of Adam Pardy, for one. Don't forget that. 30~ games of Derek Roy, and then ultimately Kevin Connauton from Vancouver and a second-round draft pick, which became Philippe Desrosiers, goaltender from the Q.
If that had been the trade announced on that July day in 2012...but that's not the way things work, is it?
As Buffalo continues their rebuild by trading Thomas Vanek yesterday, speculation mounts that Steve Ott and Ryan Miller will be next as the season goes on. So what the Sabres got out of the deal isn't too hot either, depending on your interpretation.
Still, seeing that #9 Sabre jersey running around taking his shots at Jamie Benn and best-friend Trevor Daley will be surreal. As will Brenden Morrow's return to Dallas later in the year. And Mike Ribeiro sporting his Coyotes garb as directed by Dave Tippett. His health willing, Loui Eriksson in the Boston black and gold, too. Deep emotional connections to a fanbase severed due to the makeover known to be imperative. That's life.
It will touch the players as well, certainly.
"I talked to him this morning," Trevor Daley said Sunday. "Obviously he is excited to play against us too. It will be fun. A couple of us will probably get dinner with him tonight. He'll feed us and then we'll try to put him through the end boards tomorrow night."
And that is swell, because he will certainly be trying to do the same.
As for what he's been up to this season it would surprise no one to know that he leads the Sabres in hits (44) and is their best faceoff man (53%, which should pose some problems for the Stars.) He's seeing time against top competition and isn't starting in the offensive zone much, so it's business as usual. He has three points in 13 games and is skating with Mikhail Grigorenko and Marcus Foligno on the "second" line there.
Some of Ott's recent exploits:
And being a net-front guy:
In summation, Steve Ott, we hope you have one of those "over the line" games, you squirrelly, over-zealous trouble-maker. And also, we love and miss you.
How do you reflect emotionally as Ott's first reunion with the Stars arrives?