In every sport, All-Star games aren’t really meant to be taken seriously. Outside of MLB’s, which ends up counting for home-field advantage in the World Series, the NBA, NFL and particularly the NHL don’t place much stock in their respective All-Star games. If anything, it’s just a collection of the league’s best players playing for fun in a game that ends up being all offense and no defense.
While this is all well and good, even a meaningless All-Star game should warrant some credibility from the league and even its fans. Take last year for example; in the NHL, fans are allowed to vote for their favorite players to get into the All-Star game. Naturally, players like Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane and Montreal Canadien PK Subban made it based on their good play and respect from opposing fans. Then there were a few outliers, like Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons, who not only managed to make the All-Star game but received the highest amount of votes. Girgensons, a Latvian, received a great deal of support from his home country despite having only 13 goals and 22 points at the time of the All-Star break, which then prompted the rest of the hockey world to vote him in, as well. Girgensons seemed very out of place in the All-Star game, as he should have. He didn’t belong there.
Fast forward to 2016, and there’s another obscure name atop the NHL ballots: John Scott. Scott, who at the time was on the Arizona Coyotes, was actually on their AHL team because he was not deemed to be enough help to stay on the team’s roster. Not only does Scott have just one assist this year, but also just 11 points in 256 games in his NHL career along with 542 penalty minutes. These numbers don’t exactly scream All-Star talent, but NHL fans thought it would be hysterical if a “goon” like Scott made the All-Star game, which this year is switching to three-on-three games in a tournament-style bracket. As I said above, there’s no real significance to the NHL All-Star game, but that doesn’t mean the NHL and the fan base wouldn’t want the game to have some dignity attached to it, and having Scott be the captain of the Pacific Division certainly does away with any of that.
The NHL and the Coyotes realized that this was absurd and asked for Scott to decline the invitation to the All-Star game. He refused, which left the Coyotes no choice but to package him in a trade to the Montreal Canadians, who are in the Eastern Conference and a completely different division, so that Scott would be forced not to participate in the All-Star Game. However, fans were outraged at the fact that Scott potentially wouldn’t be playing because of the trade, and the NHL eventually announced that he would still be the captain of the Pacific Division. Since a player voted in was someone the NHL didn’t like and because he doesn’t exactly portray a good image for the league, the NHL wanted to step in and override the fan vote. It doesn’t work like that, NHL. You can’t have a vote and then want to change the results if they make you unhappy. This is your bed and you have to sleep in it.
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