The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 03/12/13 at 11:20 AM ET
Some quick Sabres trivia: Which two Buffalo forwards lead the team in average ice time since Ron Rolston replaced Lindy Ruff as head coach?
If you don’t have Steve Ott as one of your answers, you lose.
As a matter of fact, Ott and captain Jason Pominville are the only 2 forwards on the team under Rolston to average more than 20 minutes per game.
Some will tell you this is due to the fact that Ott plays on both special teams units.
I’ll tell you it’s because this talent-deficient Sabres team doesn’t have too many other options.
Forwards' Average Ice Time Under Rolston
Pominville - 21:15
Ott - 20:07
Vanek - 19:35
Hodgson - 19:09
Ennis - 17:55
I’ve been in touch with a few writers and bloggers from Dallas, and they tell me that the Stars decided at one point last season to try using Ott as a top-6 forward.
It didn’t work.
Said one, “He fired up our building on some dark nights that were otherwise too quiet. But that’s his role. I don’t blame the Stars for trying, but he’s just not quite a top-6 guy.”
The bottom line is, if the Sabres are going to do their inevitable rebuild properly, Ott will be a great option to pencil in on the 3rd line playing 16-18 minutes per game. If he’s eating up time on your first power play unit, you likely have a problem.
Just imagine how much fun a playoff series would be with Buffalo’s opponent having to deal with Ott for 6 or 7 games.
Darcy Regier needs to figure out how to add more scoring at the top, or that vision could be nothing but a dream for the foreseeable future.
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About The Sabres Observer
Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003. He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene. Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.
Davis originally garnered media attention in 2002 as leader of a lobbying campaign working in unison with potential buyer Mark Hamister attempting to secure state financing to keep the Sabres in Buffalo. In 2004, Davis was briefly back on the airwaves - this time reaching the finals of the inaugural "WGR Rookie" sports talk competition. After a few years of "syndicating" his articles on various sites, along with doing some internet radio work, Davis now devotes his new media efforts to bringing quality Sabres related opinions and content to Kukla's Korner.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]