Last week, I wrote about John Scott’s selection into the NHL All-Star Game. In it I said, “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.” After watching the All-Star tournament on Sunday night, however, I would like to apologize to John Scott because he was part of the one of the greatest NHL All- Star games I’ve ever seen as a fan.
Starting with the NHL Skills Competition on Saturday, the cheers Scott received from fans were as loud as the ones for the hometown Predators, which spoke volumes of the NHL fans’ decision to vote Scott into the game. He might not have shined in the hardest shot competition, but he and the rest of the players seemed to really enjoy themselves, which is what All-Star Weekend is all about. More importantly, the players were thrilled to have Scott there. They stick-tapped when he came onto the ice during introductions and didn’t treat him like an inferior player, but as an equal and captain who would be making decisions for them throughout the weekend. The players stuck up for their fellow hockey player, who seemed to be ousted by the Arizona Coyotes and the NHL in general when they asked him to respectfully decline an invitation to the All-Star Game. Their support of Scott truly spoke volumes.
By the time the All-Star tournament came around, even I found myself pulling for Scott. When he scored his first goal and I watched his celebration, the crowd’s eruption and his teammates’ utter jubilation for him, I, much like the rest of the NHL world, became a John Scott supporter. He followed up his goal with a “fight” with former teammate Patrick Kane, a second goal that featured a fantastic shot and a burn of analyst Jeremy Roenick in an in-game interview that sent Twitter into a frenzy, all with a big smile on his face.
The NHL tried once more to spurn Scott’s fun on All Star Weekend by not including him in the final vote for All Star Game MVP. The crowd booed and Twitter revolted, only tweeting #VoteMVPScott for the vote (even team NHL Twitter accounts were showing their support). In the end, the Pacific won the tournament and Scott was named MVP and handed a one million dollar check by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: the ultimate victory in a fantastic weekend for Scott.
So thank you, John Scott, for bringing back the fun and excitement into the NHL All-Star game. You not only came to play, you showed you belonged. You didn’t let anyone stand in your way of having a good time and showcasing your abilities as an NHL player and did an awesome job of sticking it to those who said you shouldn’t have been in Nashville, like myself. Hopefully Montreal saw what you brought to the game, and will call you up from St. John’s in the near future.