After last night’s rough OT loss in Denver, where the San Jose Sharks blew a two goal lead before a slick breakaway finish by the Avs’ Kevin Porter punched their ticket, Coach Todd McLellan knew he needed something to shake up the locker room. Not that the Sharks needed any extra motivation heading into their game tonight versus the hated Dallas Stars, but Coach McLellan apparently cannot risk another road loss. He has pulled something out that he had been saving for a long time, a video that would motivate an outnumbered cavalry division to charge…he has pulled out a video of Steve Ott singing.
Steve Ott wasn’t always just a pest for the Dallas Stars. In fact, in 1957, at the tender age of eight years old, Ott was a featured singer on the hit show “Ranch Party starring Tex Ritter”. More than just a singer, many critics at the time felt
Ott’s melodic renditions of hokey cowboy songs were none other than that of a budding prodigy. A multi-talented artist and performer, Steve Ott could also cut quite a rug (as Texans call it), which he did with jubilant abandon during many a “Ranch Party” performance. Fellow legendary performers at the time, including Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash wowed at the wunderkind’s abilities to act, sing, hoe-down, preen and wave to the studio audience without ever losing a sequin or getting his expertly tied neck scarf shaken askew.
For this he was also secretly despised.
Steve Ott’s yee-haw past had been a closely guarded secret by the Dallas Stars since Ott joined the team during the 2002 season. Not that society wasn’t ready for a bedazzled former child country star turned NHLer, who had chosen professional hockey over pursuing his God given minstrel talents, but that this past ran in some juxtaposition to the “hockey tough guy” image that Ott had been attempting to cultivate since his arrival in the NHL.
Ott’s secret past would have remained buried had Coach Todd McLellan been able to sleep that fateful night about six months ago. With the thoughts of the upcoming 2010-2011 season weighing heavily on McLellan’s mind, he decided to throw on the television in hopes of curing an acute case of insomnia. McLellan made his way to his plush living room, grabbed a bag of “Dare Juicee Jubes” he had secretly hidden under his recliner, and flipped on the television.
Now, anyone trying to find something to watch at 3:00am knows exactly what Coach was up against here. You’re either stuck with a Law & Order franchise, Rocky IV (en Espanol) or some random infomercial like the ones with Erik Estrada touting Alabama real estate. As a result, Coach just began flipping absentmindedly through the channels, hoping to get lucky. He did.
Suddenly, McLellan abruptly stopped at a DVD box set infomercial for none other than “Ranch Party starring Tex Ritter”.
“That kid’s face…at the microphone…it just can’t be,” mused McLellan as he hit the 30-second rewind button.
Suddenly, a blaring telephone ring shattered the early morning quiet of the McLellan household, startling the coach. You never want that early morning telephone call, but the voice on the other end of the line was calm and familiar, quickly easing McLellan’s mind.
“Are you watching what I’m watching Coach?,” asked a voice known instantly to McLellan as that of Mike Ricci.
“I am indeed Reech,” McLellan smirked, “that’s <bleeping> Steve Ott.”
The Sharks will face off against the Dallas Stars tonight, hoping to erase their road futility. Though totally unconfirmed, my unnamed sources deep within the Sharks organization say that a message has been passed around to the players to be suited up 10 minutes early in order to view a “motivational video.” The contents of said video are officially unknown, though most of the players seem to think it’s either one involving Mount Everest or the first expedition to the North Pole.
My sources say it’s neither.
Once the San Jose Sharks get a gander at a singing, preening, rug cuttin’ Steve Ott, nothing in life will ever seem impossible…certainly not a victory tonight against a far less intimidating, Dallas Stars.
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