Originally posted on Buffalo Wins  |  Last updated 3/24/13
The ****** man. Alright, now that I got that out of the way, let's get to the reasons for his sudden rise in popularity in Buffalo. It is a pretty simple formula: Funny, hard working and hard hitting. That's the recipe for succeeding in this town with the minions. It is the reason why fans loved the Nolan teams, Mike Peca, Rob Ray and pretty much anyone who has a few teeth missing after dishing out hits or getting their face pounded in. Hockey scars in this town are greeted as a badge of honor and you bet your ass Ott definitely has some of those.  Ott's play is pretty much the perfect set of cliches for why fans love him. The words come whistling out of your ass as if you just took a bunch of drugs to get over your writer's block. He's blue-collar, tough, witty, and just all around funny. Ott is a throwback for what Buffalo fans have always wanted since I've been around...A guy who plays with an edge on and off the ice. I've always made the joke if the Sabres were comprised of 20 guys who just hit the **** out of each other and scored 15-goals a year, they'd be loved. That would pretty much be a team made up of a bunch of Steve Otts. Call them the Buffalo Otts. In a season that has been pretty miserable for the most part, Ott has been one of the brighter spots on the team. Maybe I'm being corny and just going by mannerisms, quotes, and just finding something to like about this team, but I think what we can take away from him is that he shows he cares. That's all Buffalo fans want. Ryan Miller has said it multiple times when asked about the home crowd booing the team: The fans just want the players to give a good, honest effort...and a good effort can sometimes rub off on your teammates.   Ott has been a lot more noticeable as of late with his mouth and his shtick on the ice. And with that, the Sabres have won 3 straight games and all of a sudden they are back in the playoff race. Against the Habs, the Sabres blocked something like 30 shots.  The Sabres have also been showing a physical presence as of late with Kaleta and Ott leading the charge. Throw in the timely scoring of their big guns like 26-29-19 and maybe the Sabres are finally..eh..not yet. I know..it is only a 3-game winning streak and if they keep this up, Darcy Regier will get another extension. However, I think there's nothing streaky about Ott's play. He is a leader on this team and trust me, I don't throw that leader stuff out there all that much because I'm not in the locker room. However, something happens to this team when he comes out hitting, talks **** to the opposition, and scores the occasional goal. It lifts the Sabres. In the 13 games Ott has a point in, the Sabres are 6-4-3, with all their losses coming by just one goal. He's ranked in the top 3 in the NHL in hits and since Lindy Ruff was sent his walking papers, Ott has played 20 minutes or more 8 times under Rolston (Only once in 17 games under Ruff) and the Sabres are 4-2-2 in those games. Right now, I'd place him in the top 5 for the most important players on this team. In a way, we were all wrong in thinking the Sabres were going to be tougher to play against with the addition of Ott. It isn't about the Sabres being feared or the opposition being sore the next morning after playing. What Ott brings to the table is hustle. And when you hustle, that's what makes your team tougher to play against because you are giving max effort. Just leave it all on the ice, kids. That's all the fans want and luckily we don't ever have to question whether Ott is doing that on a nightly basis.
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