Matthew Barnaby and Steve Ott are Similar to Each Other in More Ways than OneAs the masked assailant entered the locker room, the only thing the Dallas Stars players could do was...laugh. Forward Steve Ott, camouflaged from head to toe, and brandishing a hefty paintball gun, strode confidently through the room by his teammates, letting them know he would be all business during the team's upcoming team-building exercise. The paintball battle will not be soon forgot, nor will a certain battle between two checking forwards who now serve on the same line.
Steve Ott and newcomer Matthew Barnaby may not be the faces of the organization, but together they certainly can set the tone for a game. Currently playing opposite each other on the Dallas checking line, the two middleweights had actually met before, under the lights of the famed Madison Square Garden.
Ott clearly recalled the fight with Matthew Barnaby that occurred on November 4, 2003 seven seconds into the second period. "We lined up and he said, Let's go.' It was a long fight, we were pretty tied up. I kind of got his jersey over his head and tried to hit him. I didn't really hit him much at all. It was kind of a tie up disaster of a fight, but it was pretty fun."
Tuesday after practice, Ott and Barnaby bartered back and forth about the specifics of their fight, but no clear winner was agreed upon. Despite their past bout, the role of Dallas "agitator" is not in contention. In fact, there seems to be an almost instant bond between the two tough guys and Matthew Barnaby recognizes how similar they are to one another.
"We both play very similar roles, neither one of us are heavyweights and are going to do well against the guys that are 250 pounds, but neither one of us are going to shy away from it either. I think we are very similar in our personalities, the way we play on the ice, the way we are off the ice. My recollection was that it was a pretty good fight and if we had another one it would be pretty tight again." Matthew Barnaby is, of course, known for never backing down from any challenge. His grit and toughness have been his trademarks even when faced with much larger players. Steve Ott finds no trouble returning respect to Barnaby for his on ice tenacity. "Barney is a very tough, tough, customer. For his size he's probably one of the toughest guys in the league, pound-for-pound, if not the toughest."
The similarities between Steve Ott and Matthew Barnaby are just as noticeable when they are off the ice. Each commands an audience simply by their charisma and ability to leave other players laughing. Barnaby jabs opponents with impeccable one-liners and Ott lands powerful blows with descriptive rants. The one/two comedic punch of the Dallas locker room is as persistent as the two players are on the ice.
Barnaby's in game taunts are legend and his manner of getting under the skin of opponents is an exhibition of psychological warfare. Though Barnaby describes Ott's methods as more cut-throat,' the two seem bound by their love of antagonism.
"We both enjoy being here, we both enjoy carving each other, carving other people, and having people carve us too. You can't throw it out there without being able to accept some of it."
When asked if he recalled the fight between his two current forwards, Coach Dave Tippett accurately speculated, "If it was a 30-second fight, Barnaby probably won 15 and Ott probably won 15."
Upon further discussion of the fight, Barnaby remembered that as the referees pulled them apart, Steve Ott confidently stated, "Hey, Guns N' Roses rule!" to the bewilderment of Barnaby. Maybe one of Barney's blows landed harder than originally thought.