By Mike Harrington
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- The Sabres aren't even on the ice yet for their pregame skate at MTS Centre (starts at 12:30 Buffalo time) and forward Steve Ott has set Twitter ablaze with his weekly interview today on WGR Radio.
Ott, remember, made unsolicited comments to reporters Sunday night about the boos and mock cheers from First Niagara Center fans during the shootout win over New Jersey. Asked about them again today by WGR host Howard Simon, Ott didn't hold back.
"I think it's completely ridiculous, to be honest with you," Ott said. "We go into other buildings, we've won a lot of games and teams should have the same amount of frustration, sold-out buildings and it's funny becaue they're continuing to cheer on their team. They stand behind their team. They respect the work ethic and everything else.
"It's disheartening when we did get hemmed in our zone and they're basically mocking us when you get up past the blueline and you finally get it in their zone after I guess you could say that minute and a half shift when they didn't have a scoring opportunity. I guess you can say it was more the mocking of my teammates and everything else that probably pissed a lot of guys off, including myself."
"You're a fan of the Buffalo Sabres and hopefully you come to cheer us on and motivate us to be good. We've got a lot of young players on this team and they definitely don't deserve to be booed. They deserve to have that excitement and energy. It's definitely not their fault for the last six years of frustration that's gone on."
Pressed on the issue by Simon and reminded the fans have many years of frustration built up, Ott didn't back down.
"I don't care how frustrated anybody is," he said. "Negativity breeds negativity and if you want to see a bad product on the ice, continue to boo. What do you expect? You're obviously going to get a negative result. It would be nice to have the positive atmosphere and maybe that will transition into a heck of a hockey game or maybe even a scoring chance or opportunity. It definitely is very uplifting when the crowd is on your side."
The portion of the interview about the fans went on for about five minutes before Ott backtracked some.
"I'm not bagging on our fans at all because we do have a lot of fantastic fans," he said. "It's just disheartening when it's those 0-0 games or 1-1 games and you're looking for some positive energy in our crowd. It's something you go in other buildings fighting for a playoff spot with a young team and I guess you say we're dying for that extra energy from our crowd."
You can click below to hear the entire interview. The part about the fans doesn't start until 5 1/2 minutes into the discussion.
Steve Ott on WGR