Steve Ott was sitting with his girlfriend at his lake house near Windsor, Ontario, when he got the news.
“I missed a call I think from Joe [Nieuwendyk], and then he texted me. I looked at my girlfriend who was sitting on the couch and said we’d been traded.”
The news came as an expected surprise for Ott who admitted to reading the rumor mills regarding a possible trade.
“There was so much smoke that it was kind of when was it going to happen,” said Ott. “I had that feeling you know, obviously, seeing the rumors swirling around. I got the news and was told I was going to Buffalo.”
Ott said the first person he called was Sabres defenseman Mike Weber.
“He talked so highly of buffalo every single workout the last few years. We always joked about one day playing together. I think, I seen a rumor out there about two weeks prior to the trade, and we both were laughing down at the gym; could you imagine? I called him right away and I could barely get it out. I was like ‘uh, Webby’. He said, ‘Is it breaking up?’ I said, ‘Nope, hold on one sec, let me pull her together. We’re gonna be playing together here as a Sabre.’
“It’ll be fun to play with a brother almost on your team,” he said.
Ott was drafted 25th overall by Dallas in 2000, and has spent the first nine years of his career with the organization before being dealt to the Sabres, a move he was excited about.
“It’s been even more exciting, I don’t even want to leave,” said Ott. “It feels like home already and I’ve only been here one day.”
Coach Lindy Ruff said that Ott brings the exact style the Sabres have been looking to add.
“We want to be a harder team to play against,” said Ruff. “He brings a great work ethic to the game. He plays with a certain amount of intensity that he walks the line every night. He’s an agitating guy and irritating guy to play against.”
With the type of player that Ott is, it couldn’t go without asking how he would respond if another Lucic-style incident occurred again this season to which Ott responded that it’s more about team response.
“I think team toughness is you’re best toughness,” Ott said. “I think team toughness, if you go in there and you play a team structured game — heavy, heavy, heavy — that’ll take care of your toughness by the end of it all.”
Ott will wear #9 with the Sabres, it’s a number that has a lot of meaning to him.
“That was my minor hockey number. Also, it’s my daughter’s birthday — May, 9th,” said Ott. “It’s always been one of my favorite numbers.”
Now Ott is just excited to get on the ice with his new team.
“What a first class place to be able to play now.”