Forward Steve Ott has been in town about a week, skating in Frisco as he gets ready for Dallas Stars training camp. Ott recently answered a few questions about some of the changes surrounding the team and the upcoming season.
Thoughts on new head coach Glen Gulutzan
“The few conversations I’ve had with him, hearing from the younger guys that have played for Gully and seeing him helping out at our training camps the last couple years, he’s always been a very upbeat guy, very energetic and a smart, young hockey mind. I think that mentality is something I am looking forward to and I am sure the rest of the team is energy-wise.”
On the team’s offseason player moves
“All the new faces are a lot of strong, competitive guys. In the essence of watching what Boston did and how that competitive team won the Stanley Cup, I think we can match everybody’s competitiveness and strength in the league with our new additions. I think it really makes us a hard team to play against. Personally, I am looking forward to that, too, because mentality-wise we're going to be right there and extremely competitive.”
On the team’s depth this season and the commitment to rolling four lines and spreading out ice time.
“You saw it last year. The first 50 games you can ride those guys with heavy minutes, but the last 30 – crunch time – you see a big drop off and a fade out of the guys. It’s a lack of energy some nights or you are just too beat up. Let’s face it, to be able to roll a strong group every single night and have that dominant fourth line and that dominant third line, you’re definitely going to have a great lineup to put out every night. I think it takes a lot of stress off your top guys, physically and mentally. Even the camaraderie grows from that because you see how strong you can play as a full unit. That’s something we haven’t had the last couple years, I felt. We mixed around with our third and fourth lines so much we couldn’t find anything steady. I think we’ll finally be solid there.”
On the team’s added toughness
“We have a lot of gamers. I think our toughness level has definitely gone up. I don’t see another team that is tougher than the Dallas Stars on paper. Obviously toughness is size and strength, but there are a lot of guys that are full gamers that are willing. You can look around this room and when you’re coming to play Dallas it is going to be a tough, physical game.”
About getting the chance to play bigger role this season, and opportunity to be a top six forward
“Big time. I've talked to them, seeing where they I fit in and where they want me to play. I was always kind of mixing around. If someone went down I would jump up lines or was centering or left wing. I guess to have the opportunity to be a steady player in one position, I am excited for that and ready to grab it. I kind of exceled at it a few years ago, did well. I think it’s something I’ve been waiting for a long time, to be given an opportunity like this. I am really looking forward to coming into training camp, expressing that and showing where I belong.”