Alright calm down Sabres’ fans, before you advance further into this article realize that this is not an article about why Steve Ott shouldn’t the captain, but rather why he doesn’t need to be the captain. Which is actually a good thing for the Buffalo Sabres. Now that we have that cleared up let’s continue.
In the next week to 10 days Ron Rolston is likely to name the next captain of the Buffalo Sabres and there’s a lot of people hoping it will
be Steve Ott. While it would be awesome to see Ott don the C on his chest as he leads the young Sabres on to battle, it’s not necessary for him to wear the C. The best thing about Ott is his willingness to be a leader. He’s going to step up and fill a leadership role whether he’s wearing a letter or not, he’s a natural leader and doesn’t need a letter to help him lead.
When Ott came over from the Dallas Stars last offseason, he immediately became a fan favourite with his play on the ice. What did the fans fall in love with? His grit, toughness, big hits team play, gamesmanship and character. He wasn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas, to throw a big hit, to throw opponents off their game, drop the mitts or even stand up for the captain. He was a real calming force both on and off the ice and most importantly he played every game with heart. You never saw Ott “dogging” it or taking a shift off, he played his heart out each and every single game. He’s a pretty easy player to fall in love with and a perfect candidate for a captain.
So why shouldn’t Ott be captain? Part of the reason fans fell in love with the tough guy was his gamesmanship on the ice. Licking players facemasks. chirping at opponents and his theatrics (faces). That’s what makes Steve Ott, Steve Ott. Putting a C on him may force him away from the things he does best and fans love. A respectable NHL captain doesn’t go around licking opponents visors, they’re more quiet and reserved on the ice and that is certainly not Ott. Why take the risk of him changing his game because he’s named captain? The Buffalo Sabres can’t afford to lose Steve Ott, with all his antics aside he makes a huge impact on the team and not just on the scoreboard.
Rolston also needs to take the time to think about the type of leader Ott will be. He’s a very vocal and emotional leader who often let’s his emotions get the better of him. This is going to be a very young Sabres team. many of whom will have less than 3 years of NHL experience under their belts, do you really want them to learn from a player like Ott? Do you want Mikhail Grigorenko licking visors? Or Zemgus Girgensons blowing kisses at opponents? In terms of being a role model, Thomas Vanek may be a better option to where the C, at least he encourages offence.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the type of game Steve Ott plays and what he brings to the table. It’s just not necessary for him to wear the C next season. I could easily see him wearing an A, but whether he has a letter or not he’s going to be leading the Sabres. Through his heart on the ice and his boldness off of it, Ott will be making sure the Sabres rookies walk a straight line. If there’s a problem in the room he’ll address it, if someone takes a cheap shot at a Sabres player Ott will be the first one to drop the mitts. He’s a natural-born leader and he doesn’t need a letter to tell him that or give him that authority. Bottom line. Steve Ott will be a leader whether he wears a C or not.
Good news for all those who are in favour of Steve Ott being named captain, the Sabres sent him to the NHL media tour instead of Ryan Miller or Thomas Vanek, which means the team see’s him as a leader and want him to represent them.