The Washington Capitals say Steve Ott crossed the line during Sunday’s 5-3 win over the Sabres.
Ott, one of the NHL’s premier agitators, asked Washington rookie Steve Oleksy to fight with 7:12 left in the game and the Caps up by one — to which Olesky obliged.
Just one problem: Ott didn’t.
Instead, the Sabres forward kept his gloves on and ate a couple of Oleksy jabs, earning his team a power play in the process (Oleksy was given a roughing minor.)
Washington proceeded to kill the PP but were none too pleased following the game.
Here’s more, from CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley:
“It ticks you off,” said Caps forward Joey Crabb. “All of us feel the same way. The more you play against him the more you realize he’s going to pull those kinds of things.”
Asked if it is an unwritten rule that a player doers not skate away from another player after saying “Let’s go,” Crabb said, “One hundred percent.
“It happens all the time with him. Not with most players. There are a few players in the league that do that and he’s one of them.”
The Caps say Ott took advantage of common fighting knowledge — guys don’t waste any time throwing the first punch, because even the slightest hesitation can be costly.
As such, it’s easy to goad opponents into taking those sorts of penalties.
“It’s a tough spot when you’re tangled up so tight and somebody asks you to go,” Oleksy said. “If he does drop his gloves and he comes through with one, at this level the guys are too strong and throw too hard. It only takes one.”
Caps head coach Adam Oates agreed.
“We told Stevie that’s part of [Ott’s] M.O. We warned him, but it’s so hard when someone confronts you. Part of being a fighter is you gotta be ready.”