In the Crease: Sharks have no excuses against Sabres
Steve Ott has two goals, two assists and 26 penalty minutes in 16 games with Buffalo. (USATSI)
SAN JOSE -- After so many seasons in Dallas, Steve Ott is returning to the SAP Center on Tuesday night as the captain of the Buffalo Sabres.
Perhaps not coincidentally, indications are that Mike Brown will be back in for the Sharks. Ott, of course, has been smack in the middle of many feisty Sharks-Stars games over the years.
“I’ve played against Ott quite a few times in my career,” Brown said. “He does his job well. You can’t get off your game. I’ve got to play the same way. A guy like that, I’ve got to play my game, play physical, and not worry about what he’s doing.”
Brown, who was acquired from Edmonton on Oct. 21 and has been scratched for two of the past four games, took rushes at the morning skate on the fourth line with Andrew Desjardins and John McCarthy. McCarthy and James Sheppard were among the last two players to come off of the ice, signaling that one of them will be out against Buffalo.
Brown has dressed against Ottawa and Los Angeles, two teams that are more on the tough side, but sat against the speedy Montreal Canadiens and scrappy Phoenix Coyotes.
He was asked how he’s fit in so far with his new team.
“For me, I think I’m here to just bring more of that physical play and to get that energy for our team, rather than enforce what someone else is doing. If I need to, I will, but I think they’re bringing me in here more for the physical game,” Brown said.
As for Ott, who has two goals, two assists and 26 penalty minutes in 16 games, the 31-year-old said it “felt natural” for him to be back in the visiting dressing room and the bowels of the SAP Center. He’s enjoyed playing against the Sharks in the past, and was complimentary of the team on the ice and the crowd that supports it.
“I think first it starts with the building, the energy. It’s an easy energy boost when you have fan support like they do,” said Ott, who was traded to Buffalo from Dallas on July 2, 2012. “You come in and you’re playing a villain role or a spoiler role. That’s probably the best part of it.
“And, they’ve always had good teams and great players. Personally, I love competing against good players, and trying to play hard against them. When you have that many solid players over there, you try and continue to work.”
Buffalo features a young roster that has struggled to a 2-13-1 record, the worst mark in the league. Ott has already told some of his teammates of what to expect at The Tank, as the Sabres will try and end a four-game losing streak.
“I love it here. I was telling the young guys, I would probably put this place in the top three buildings in the NHL for fan excitement and the whole nine yards of playing a game,” he said.