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Sting preview against Guelph
dave borody march 9th, 2011

Forward Craig Hottot of the Sarnia Sting is not the biggest player physically in the Ontario Hockey League.

He will be the first to add he’s not the greatest skater or does he have one of the best shots.

But when it comes to heart and character, Hottot stands tall with not only his teammates, but just about anyone else in the OHL.

The feisty second-year player will be in the lineup Thursday night when the Sting hosts the Guelph Storm at the RBC Centre. Game time is 7:05 p.m.

The third round draft pick of the team a year ago admits it has been a tough season.

“It’s been another learning year for me and another trying year as well,” said Hottot earlier this week. “I’m not used to losing like this. I had high expectations of making the playoffs this year and that part is disappointing.”

He added, “personally I had a decent year, but it could have been a lot better. Certainly I’m hoping for a better season next year and being in the playoffs. We have some promising young stars in Nail Yakupov, Alex Galchenyuk and Brandon Hope, and others. There’s no reason why we can’t be a strong team next year.”

Hottot has played 57 games this season and has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points, along with 94 minutes in penalties. He plays with an edge and isn’t afraid of dropping the gloves when needed.

“I wanted to get 20 goals this year, that was the goal I set for myself. Last year I missed almost 25 games with a broken jaw and that was hard. Unfortunately I’ve had some nagging injuries in the second half of the season. That’s been tough, but I don’t want to use that as an excuse.”

Hottot has been involved in nine fights this year.

“It’s something I actually enjoy,” said the resident of Sombra, with a wry smile. “I don’t go into a game looking for it. But I play with energy and things happen. I will stick up for my teammates under any circumstances.”

Sting interim head coach Trevor Letowski says Hottot is a unique player.

“Craig’s just a great team guy who is well liked and well respected by his teammates. He loves the game and you know what you are going to get game in and game out. It makes my job a little easier because he’s a gamer.” Letowski continued. “He’s unique in the fact what he brings to the rink. Not a lot of guys do what he does. I think I could count on both hands the number of guys I’ve played with both in junior and the pros do what Craig does for his size. It takes a lot of courage and heart to do what Craig does when needed and that’s a great asset.”

Letowski likes the fact Hottot is a very versatile player.

“He’s a big part of our team because he can play any position. We’ve used him on the power play, killing penalties, he can play center or the wing, and we even used him back on defence when we were shorthanded there. “Is Craig perfect player, no. He needs to get better. He needs to get a little faster. But he can be a real threat offensively down the road because of the way he competes.”

When asked about tough second half of the season for the Sting, Hottot said, “It’s tough to say what happened. There’s not one clear answer. I think it was a combination of a lot of things.”

He spoke candidly in a radio interview recently. He said just because the team aren’t in the playoffs, that doesn’t mean they should stop playing hard. He knows there are going to be some changes next year. He said there’s eight or 10 guys who basically quit the last couple of months and that’s not right.

Tonight is the second to last home game for the Sting this season. Friday night they travel to Saginaw and go to Windsor on Windsor. Their final home game is a week Thursday against the Erie Otters.

Sarnia has a total of six games remaining.


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