Minnesotans love to love their own players, but they might be even better at hating opposing players. Finding villains is a point of pride we take very seriously.
Blues center Steve Ott is playing that role beautifully in this Wild playoff series. He’s an agitator. He’s a desperate man. He’s a cheap-shot artist. And he isn’t playing particularly well (unless losing the puck on a breakaway is advised. I don’t know. I never played the game, but it seems to be a bad idea).
Minnesota fans have decided that Ott — for good reason — is their latest villain. Maybe, as Jim Souhan says, he isn’t worthy of that status. But whatever he is doing, he is agitating fans; a picture that accompanied Souhan’s column showed a close-up of a seemingly mild-mannered, glasses-and-sweater-wearing, middle-aged Wild fan giving Ott a one-finger salute during Game 3.
Ott isn’t the last villain fans will chose. And he most certainly isn’t the first. I asked readers on Twitter to name their all-time greatest Minnesota sports villains. Here is a sampling of their responses:
@RandBall Todd Bertuzzi
— Angie Andresen (@angieandresen) April 21, 2015
@RandBall The rally monkey
— Aaron Gernes (@aarongernes) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Al Secord
— tjsimplot (@tjsimplot) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Tim Duncan during KG’s heyday. I hated that anyone other than KG could be considered the best PF.
— Tyler Glieden (@gliedt13) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Brad May.
— Steve Skavnak (@steveskavnak) April 21, 2015
— Mike Rose (@mrosemn) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Dave Hakstol, Mike Eaves, Barry Alvarez, Terry Pegula, the Dutch, whoever scored that goal for Holy Cross, humidity
— Fake Don Lucia (@FakeDonLucia) April 21, 2015
@RandBall pre-2009 Favre was on the list, then after 2009, “we respected him the whole time”
— Scott (@sdreier21) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Bertuzzi is the champion emeritus, but Roy is the current title holder.
— Rand Paul’s Boutique (@cinatyte) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Ed Hightower
— Sam Pokorney (@the_snead) April 21, 2015
@RandBall Phil Cuzzi.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) April 21, 2015
— Fake Tim Brewster (@FakeTimBrewster) April 21, 2015