There are many words that have been used to describe the Buffalo Sabres over the past few seasons, perhaps none more than "soft." Steve Ott is aiming to change all that.
During his inaugural press conference yesterday afternoon, Ott said that he's looking to make the Sabres tougher to play against, something that GM Darcy Regier said was one of his offseason goals. With the addition of Ott and tough guy John Scott, that process has begun, but Ott is looking to more than just himself.
"I think team toughness is your best toughness," said the gritty winger. "If you continue to make the team tougher throughout, and add guys that like to play that way, it usually makes a guy that might be a little more timid or not into that...drag him into the battle as well."
Lindy Ruff agreed with Ott's comments, saying, "You have to have a team toughness before individual toughness. If you don't have a team toughness, where everybody's all in, you're team's gonna lag behind. I think with our additions, plus what Marcus [Foligno] brought, Corey Tropp brought, what Kaleta brings, and Cody McCormick, we've got some guys that can make us a harder team to play against."
While the Sabres do have some players that are willing to get their hands dirty, their offensive leaders -Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville - have never been the type to rustle anyone's feathers. Hopefully Ott's intensity on the ice can light a fire under players like Vanek, Pominville, Stafford, and Leino, and get them to play with a bit more gristle to go with their scoring touch.