The Dallas Stars forward can crawl under the skin of a flea, and it was pretty much assumed that when he and Flyers coach Peter Laviolette got into it in between periods of their game on Dec. 21 it was Ott who started it. There was some shoving, words were exchanged. Words that began with the letter 'F".
The Flyers are playing in the Winter Classic game, and are currently being followed by HBO's camera crews for the highly entertaining 24/7 series. Their cameras caught the entire Ott/Laviolette alercation, and the episode aired last night.
Turns out, this one was not Ott's fault.
"Some people were all over me to get a suspension," Ott said Thursday morning. "I did see the episode last night and the league had me and Laviolette talk about it over the phone. More or less it was just competitive juices flowing."
I asked Laviolette the morning of that game on Dec. 21 if he was used to, or minded, the cameras being around. That if he altered his behavior because the cameras were following him. He said that he did not change his behavior, but that after watching the first episode he was more aware of what he was saying. Hockey coaches tend to be very friendly with certain verbs. Verbs that start with F.
Coaches hate this type of access, and Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said he would not be crazy about being involved in this type of project. But these projects don't need the approval of the coach. The league and NBC picks the teams for the Winter Classic, and HBO follows.
Steve Ott is made for stuff like this. He's funny, has a big mouth, and he can take verbal jabbing as well as any athlete alive.
There is a lot of fun stuff in this series, some of which never airs. Ott said he bet $50 with a Flyers player on a face off during the game, which he lost, only to come back with a double-or-nothing on the next face off, which he won.
"It's really amazing for our sport and collectively this is untapped potential," Ott said.
It works out especially well when it gets a player off the hook, too.
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