As the final buzzer sounded in today’s game against the Ducks, Steve Ott was doing some last minute crease-clearing by crosschecking Anaheim captain Scott Niedermayer in the back. Had it been any other set of players in any other game, I’m sure this would have meant absolutely nothing.
However it was their captain being roughed up by our pest, at the end of a game that had been very physical with some very bendy rules. Having gone the entire game with officials missing many calls on both teams, Jean-Sebastien Giguere decided to take matters into his own hands after the final buzzer sounded.
He slashed at the back of Ott’s legs, and then pulled him into a headlock. The rest of the Ducks on the ice stepped in, and Ott found himself unwillingly fighting Travis Moen. Moen threw punches while Ott held on and tried to shield himself from the blows until they both fell to the ice. As the officials finally stepped in, Moen said to have felt a finger in his eye, and then “pulling” as Ott apparently gouged his eye.
Due to having fought and possibly injured another player while wearing a brace/cast, Ott is automatically suspended for tomorrow’s game against the Penguins.
Here’s Heika’s report on the suspension, which hasn’t officially been announced.
Because Ott has become such a huge part of the Stars staying in playoff contention, it’s hard to say, but this isn’t the first time his insistence on agitating has hurt the team. When he does stuff that he knows he can’t back up, he’s putting others on the spot to take the heat for him, and other teams won’t hesitate to run his linemates for it.
Lots of questions get brought up by the incident.
Who started the fight? Was it Giguere or was it Ott? Moen?
Did Ott have this coming, running his mouth when he can’t fight?
Where were the other Stars during all this? Should they have stepped in and risked getting suspended themselves?
Does Moen deserve more than a penalty in a game that had already ended? Or is what he did negated by Ott supposedly gouging him in the eye?
Did Ott do what he did on purpose?
As amusing as Ott’s antics are/seeing opponents get irritated is, should Ott dial that part of his game back some? Or should he risk getting a reputation as someone who can’t back up his own actions in favor of trying to draw penalties?
Did Ott deserve his suspension?
How much of this was the fault of the officials, who seemed content to let the Ducks pound on Ott?
Might there be hard feelings between Ott and the team, for them having not stood up for him?
Update, March 2: Heika reports today that Ott’s official punishment is a one game suspension. As he sat out yesterday against the Pens, he is eligible to play tomorrow against the Sharks. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, none of the Ducks involved in the fight were even investigated.