No one at the 2000 NHL Entry Draft would have thought that the 6’0", 193lbs Center from Summerside, PE, Canada named Steve Ott would become a physical force to be reckoned with on the ice for the Dallas Stars.
Maybe only the Stars could have known. Since then, Sean Avery has established himself as a physical force for the Stars. Regardless of his small size for an enforcer, Ott will take on anyone, anytime, any day, regardless of their daunting challenge.
“Steve Ott has become the diet version of Sean Avery—he throws himself into the middle of a scrum with no remorse, with the intention of letting the Wings know that the Stars aren't about to be trampled—at least not without a fight.” said Bryan Thiel, the NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report.
Ott has even taken enforcement to a whole new level: teaching himself to swear and trash-talk in Russian, Swedish, Finnish, German, French, and Czech just to “blab” at opposing players in their native tongues. A sure-fire way to inspire poor decisions on their part when tempers are beginning to flair.
This proof that Ott will do anything to annoy his opponents makes him a man loved on the Stars bench, and hated on the other. Former Kings and current Stars Defensemen, Mattias Norstrom, confessed, “I hated him. Everybody did.”
“Everything changes with a guy like Steve when he becomes your teammate,” Norstrom said. “The in-your-face, loud-mouth, plays borderline with elbows flying [style] becomes something you appreciate. Now, he is the kind of player you love to have on your team.”
Ott’s hard-nosed hockey ways come from his devoted parents constantly driving him as a child. He hoped to end up like Wayne Gretzky, but his father knew his son's chance to make it big in hockey wasn’t scoring, His big break was in finer things of the game, like bruising hits and hard nosed hockey.
During the season, Ott appeared in 73 games (recording 11 goals and 11 assists for 22 points). Ott also gained himself 147 penalty minutes. During the playoffs, Ott appeared in 18 games (scoring two goals, and one assist for three points). He recorded 22 penalty minutes in those 18 games.
In an interview with Tim Cowlishaw of The Dallas Morning News, Ott talked about his style of playing, calling it “hard-edged”. He went on to say, “there’s a fine line I ride”. Coach Dave Tippet used two important words to describe Ott: “abrasiveness” and “fearless”. Good words to describing a man who backs down from nothing on the ice.
“You know,” Ott went on to say in the interview with Cowlishaw, “maybe I love to be hated.”
Steve Ott is sure to be hated outside of Dallas for the rest of his career. Even myself as a Ducks fan and part time Stars, fans see the value he adds to the Stars' organization. I can even go as far as saying I wish he was in a Ducks uniform.
Now its your turn Bleacher Report! Let's hear what you think. Love him? Hate him? Post your thoughts!