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Notebook: Ott hopes to contribute on and off the ice

Veteran foward wants to lead by example and make it difficult on opponents

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - On the ice, Steve Ott is considered highly annoying by opponents but off the ice, he's just the guy you want as your teammate.

The Red Wings signed Ott on July 1. For a guy who grew up across the river in Windsor, it's been a dream come true.

Ott, 34, skated with the Wings at Joe Louis Arena before training camp and is enjoying being with his new teammates in Traverse City.

"First off, to put the winged wheel on is extremely exciting," Ott said. "I think I said it from Day 1. It's not a lie, it's the truth, I've looked for this situation since I was a young kid and (had) hopes and dreams of making the NHL, if I could have that one spot it would be Detroit. Now to have this opportunity later on in my career, it's better late than never at all. I want to take full advantage of it."

Ott has been practicing on a line with Luke Glendening and Drew Miller. They will play together in the Red-White Game Monday.

"I think that for me and Glennie, we've kind of played that role here and know how it works," Miller said. For Otter, he's had to play a little bit different fourth-line roles than we play here. We match up sometimes against the top lines here and try to play a little bit more of a, I wouldn't say well-rounded game, but you don't just go out there and kill guys and kind of be in your face. I think that we can actually try to play some hockey out there and Otter's got skill and can play and he's definitely a veteran of this league so I think it'll be a good addition."

Glendening thinks Ott's gritty style of play will serve the Wings well.

"He was a frustrating guy to play against when he was in St. Louis," Glendening said. "He's been around the league for a long time so he's a good vet to have in the locker room. He brings some sandpaper to our team. I think he's a great asset to have."

Ott relishes the thought of being on a line that opponents dread playing against.

"Millsie is an extremely smart player, always in the right position, he's got a skill set that allows him to make good puck plays and great decisions," Ott said. "Glendening, I didn't really notice when I played against him how strong he really is. Now to see it on a daily basis, the kid's a complete workhorse, strong in the face-off dot, strong on the puck in winning one-on-one battles, I really think we have a complete line to be able to shut other lines down, play a lot of D zone situations with two face-off guys who can play on either side. We're going to bring a strong work ethic that hopefully pushes other guys to perform at a high level as well."

Ott enjoys killing penalties and winning face-offs for his team. For his career, he has won 55.9 percent of his face-offs.

"I've always been a high-end penalty-killing guy and a high-end face-off guy. That's something I take a lot of pride in," Ott said. "I think that's compete, it's compete for your team and it's compete in the faceoff dot as well. I'm a big fan of those one on one battles. When you do that it continues to push your team in the right direction. We have a lot of guys that battle the same way and I hope to be one of those guys who continues to help the team any way I can."

Ott suffered a severe right hamstring injury last December, which required surgery and forced him to miss all but 21 games.

Now healthy, Ott is looking forward to proving himself once again.

"I played 20 games and didn't even score a goal, so I take a lot of pride on myself to help contribute offensively, defensively and physically," Ott said. "When you do that and you've had such a tough year like I did - I had one similar in, I believe '06-07, similar situation - I came out hungry and put up some good numbers and had a great year and I expect the same thing. I'm in a good situation, very comfortable where I'm playing and completely bought into my role. The fire I know I have, I still have a lot to prove."

Ott had a broken ankle in 2006 and returned the following year to score 11 goals and 11 assists in 73 games for the Dallas Stars.

As for off the ice, Wings coach Jeff Blashill believes that camaraderie can go a long way in making a team better.

"I think Steve can really help in that area," Blashill said. "That might not seem significant to some, I think it's extremely significant. I think it's something that we went to Grand Rapids really carried us through the season was the camaraderie that was built through the year. I've already talked with Otter about helping in that area, making sure we have a group that's really close."

Ott said bringing a team together is not a one-person thing but he sees the Wings as an already tight-knit group.

"There's 23 great guys in that dressing room," Ott said. "I've now been around it long enough to know how close this team actually is and how great a group it has been right here in the last three days, hanging out and having some laughs. When you transfer that off-ice onto the on-ice, you have everybody's back, you push each other to compete in practice and you don't let the negativity creep into a team and into an organization. You can push together as a group and I think that's what we're looking to do."

WORLD CUP WINNING: The Wings have been missing their World Cup players and will be missing Tomas Tatar, Thomas Vanek and Frans Nielsen some more.

Tatar scored two of Team Europe's three goals, including the overtime winner at 3:43, to defeat Team Sweden 3-2 and advance to the finals against Team Canada.

The finals are a best-of-three format that will take place Tuesday and Thursday, plus Saturday if needed.

FIRST CUTS: The Wings reduced their camp roster to 56 Sunday.

The team assigned defenseman Jordan Sambrook, their fifth-round pick in this past summer's NHL Entry Draft, to the Erie Otters (Ontario Hockey League).

Six other players were released from tryout agreements: forwards Justin Brazeau, Luke Coleman and Jff de Wit; defenseman Dylan Coghlan; and goaltenders Stephen Dillon and Connor Hicks.

Those six players will return to their major junior teams.

RED-WHITE PREVIEW: The Red Wings will hold their annual training-camp ending scrimmage Monday at noon.

Team White's lines, defense pairs and goaltenders:

Riley Sheahan-Darren Helm-Gustav Nyquist Eric Tangradi-Tomas Nosek-Mitch Callahan Mike Borkowski-Ben Street-Evgeny Svechnikov Givani Smith-Louis-Marc Aubry-Colin Campbell (Matthew Ford)

Danny DeKeyser-Brendan Smith Xavier Ouellet-Ryan Sproul Brian Lashoff-Robbie Russo

Jared Coreau, Edward Pasquale

Team Red's lines, defense pairs and goaltenders: Andreas Athanasiou-Dylan Larkin-Anthony Mantha Steve Ott-Luke Glendening-Drew Miller Tyler Bertuzzi-Matt Lorito-Martin Frk Dylan Sadowy-Kyle Criscuolo-Zach Nastasiuk (Dominic Turgeon)

Jonathan Ericsson-Mike Green Nathan Paetsch-Nick Jensen Joe Hicketts-Dan Renouf

Jimmy Howard Jake Paterson

"We've got a couple match-ups there," Blashill said. "Helm's line will be matched up against Larkin's line. I think Nosek's line's going to be matched up against Glennie's line. You keep going down the list and I said at the beginning, if you're an established player,, you have to continue to earn your spot and if you're not an established player, you got to make our team way better. You got to be way better than the guy across from you so they'll get a chance to do that tomorrow."

ALUMNI & CELEBRITY GAME: Blashill found himself on the losing side of the 8-5 alumni and celebrity game.

"I was below average," Blashill said when asked to evaluate his performance. "I would say goaltending is the reason our team lost. I question a little bit why the two goalies that are, they got to be in their low 30s on one team and the two goalies, I think the average combined age of my team's goalies was 102. So you do the math."

Blashill's goaltending teammate was Eddie Mio, who is 62.

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