Gritty. Agitating. In your face. All apt descriptions of Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott; but this past week he may have taken these terms (especially the 'in your face' part) to a new level.
Gritty. Agitating. In your face. All apt descriptions of Buffalo Sabres forward Steve Ott.
However, this past week he may have taken these terms (especially the "in your face" part) to a new level.
But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Let's take a look back at some of Ott's most memorable moments as one of the more aggravating competitors in the NHL:
Dec. 21, 2011: Hall monitor
Was it mugging for the HBO 24/7 cameras that were following around the Philadelphia Flyers, or was this just Ott being Ott? Either way, it sure upset Philadelphia head coach Peter Laviolette:
Ott explained to reporters after the game what he really thought of Laviolette, using the terms "arrogance" and "show a little respect" in his explanation.
Nov. 1, 2008: Combustible mix
The Stars already had Ott in their lineup, but decided to add free-agent instigator Sean Avery to the team in a bid to get meaner and tougher.
As you can see from this video, it was a highly caustic mix that resulted in a multitude of after-the-whistle scrums -- especially for two teams that aren't even in the same conference and with with no real rivalry:
The game ended with 146 penalty minutes (including seven game misconducts) and, luckily for teams facing the Stars on a regular basis (and it seems within the dressing room itself), Avery left the team after suiting up in only 23 contests.
April 9, 2013: Taking on the boo birds
Ott went on the record on WGR 550 radio in Buffalo to express his displeasure with Sabres fans that Ott believed were "mocking" his team after they rained boos upon them, most likely frustrated by the team's losing record.
Some choice quotes from that interview:
"It's disheartening when we get hemmed in our zone and [fans are] basically mocking us."
"You're a fan of the Buffalo Sabres and hopefully you come to cheer us on and motivate us. We've got a lot of young players on this team and they definitely don't deserve to be booed. They deserve to have that excitement and energy. It's definitely not their fault for the last six years of frustration that's gone on."
"I think negativity breeds negativity. If you want to see a bad product on the ice, continue to boo. What do you expect? You're obviously going to get a negative result."
On one hand, he's sticking up for his teammates, but on the other, he's taking on the fans. Not sure if anyone wins this fight.
Mar. 21, 2013: Not exactly 'kissing up'
Ott charged at Toronto's Mikhail Grabovski, then got up close and personal with Dion Phaneuf... and then blew a kiss to the captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs:
The kiss earned Ott an unsportsmanlike minor, and the Sabres a power-play goal.
April 12, 2013: Spit shine
The latest incident came when Canadiens centre Jeff Halpern got a lot more than he bargained for when he lined up to take a face-off against Ott in Montreal last Tuesday:
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