BROSSARD - Steve Ott has always been one tough customer, and he doesn't plan on going about his business any differently with the Canadiens.
Just before boarding a flight from Vancouver to Montreal on Wednesday afternoon to join his new club, the 34-year-old forward shed some light on the deal that brought him over from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
According to Ott, general manager Marc Bergevin secured his services for very specific reasons.
"I had a chance to speak with Marc last night during the game in Vancouver. He expects me to come in and be the player I have been and that's hard to play against. He knows how I've been throughout my whole career," said Ott, who boasts 109 goals, 278 points and 1,538 career penalty minutes in 837 career NHL games. "He expressed to me that was his interest and what he wanted me to do as a Montreal Canadien."
With his trademark grit, Ott believes he can fit right in with what Bergevin and head coach Claude Julien are trying to accomplish down the stretch and on into the postseason. The Canadiens' brand new No. 92 has a great deal of respect for the group as a whole already.
"As a team, they're a fast, quick hockey club with arguably who I think is the best player in the NHL in Carey Price as a goaltender. Playing against them, it's always been a hard, quick game," said Ott, who previously suited up for Dallas, Buffalo and St. Louis as well. "With competitive guys like [Brendan] Gallagher, [Max] Pacioretty and [Andrew] Shaw - and you bring in [Shea] Weber - those types of guys continue to make that team even more competitive. Going forward, I think we're due for a long run with a great team."
Even though Ott will obviously be a newcomer when he arrives at the Bell Sports Complex for practice on Thursday, he'll have a few familiar faces in the locker room to reminisce with and show him around his new digs, too. That should make him feel right at home in short order.
"I know Jordie Benn from my days in Dallas. We were pretty close, so I'm coming in and knowing him right away. I played with Tomas Plekanec in 2005 when I was in Hamilton. [I know] Brian Flynn from my time in Buffalo. Just a few handshakes here and there, but I'm really looking forward to it," said Ott, who also played under associate coach Kirk Muller with the Blues while the former Habs captain served as an assistant to Ken Hitchcock. "I've heard nothing but great things about that dressing room and how good the guys we have are."