Steve Ott's mother should call up her son, one of the NHL's biggest instigators, the reigning Western Conference's biggest cheap-shot artist (now that Matt Cooke is a Penguin, and Chris Neil is still in Ottawa), and tell him he gets no more presents.
If I was a Dallas Stars fan, I'd be embarrassed in Ott's performance last night. Now, granted, he was once again a beast in the face-off circle (winning 5 of 6), but the nine minutes in penalties he took last night, trying in vain to aggravate the Minnesota Wild, was one of the dumbest exhibitions of 'me first' hockey even I had seen in a while. (And, as a Wild fan, we've seen a lot of those this last five weeks.)
Ott's antics, which grow especially weary on the offensively-challenged and thin-rostered Wild, need to be reviewed by the League, if they are indeed concerned for 'player safety'. Is hitting a player (Darroll Powe) after the whistle a good example of 'safe play'? Is hitting a player when he is already down after the play has been blown dead (Cal Clutterbuck) an example of 'safe play'? Is hitting a player (Powe, again) in a fight, after the other combatant has stopped fighting, and has been restrained by the official, an example of 'safe' conduct?
Hardly, except in the eyes of the NHL, where 'Sheriff' Brendan Shanahan, will once again turn a blind eye to Ott's antics, based in part to what team it was done to. Shanahan hated the Wild when he played for Detroit, hated them when he was a Ranger, and still hates the Wild today, when he is a NHL pseudo-big shot.
Ott will skate away, to terrorize other teams whom have already been victimized (like Anaheim, the Stars' opponent in each of the next two games) and whose roster is about to be gutted at the upcoming trade deadline.
Saying 'I don't hate your team' is one thing, Shanny. Doing something about the problem of incidiary pugilism, for the sole purpose of personal vendetta, is a whole 'nother can o' worms.
The Wild took this Ott-inspired attack as inspiration for the 5-2 win Saturday night, as the Wild took their vengeance out in the right way, the proper way. The way you should. Scoreboard!
(Maybe Shanahan will have a hearing on the Wild, for taking advantage of the poor, hapless Stars.)
Now, on the other side of the coin, Chad Rau's family should be absolutely ecstatic this Sunday morning. Chad scored his first NHL goal, in his first NHL game, in front of his family, while just 6 miles to the west, little brother Kyle was just leaving Mariucci Arena, after helping the University of Minnesota split a weekend series with Colorado College.
Rau's mom and dad were beaming, like only parents who have their offspring achieve the success they never could, can. There is nothing like this for a parent. You say to yourselves, 'we've done our job'. And so, we congratulate the Rau family on their child's achievements. You done good.
Now, two of the remaining three games between the Wild and the Stars will be at the AAC in Dallas, including one less than two weeks from now, And, more than likely, it will denegrate into a donnybrook, more than likely led by...Ott. The Wild have lost their last 14 games in Texas; will the rememberance of this game be enough to break the NHL's longest visitor's losing streak in the same arena?
And as for Steve Ott's mom? He'd better watch out, or she'll be sitting outside his condo in the 'Plex, rolling pin in hand...