John Scott’s Story Of Elation And Heartbreak

Dec 4, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing John Scott (28) looks for the puck during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2015; Buffalo, NY, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing John Scott (28) looks for the puck during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at First Niagara Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /

On December 1, 2015, voting was opened to fans where they would be able to choose the captains for the 3-on-3 NHL All-Star Game, which will be held at the end of January in Nashville, Tenn. The open voting format allowed fans to choose anyone in the National Hockey League to be a captain of their respective divisions. Anyone. Nothing bad can happen when you give fans complete control to a meaningless game, right?

Well once the voting started, a peculiar story started to emerge. A campaign on Twitter tried to get 6-foot-8, 260-pound winger John Scott, a former Blackhawk, in the All-Star Game. #VoteJohnScott started trending on Twitter and even got into the top 10 trends in the U.S. Then, it worked. On January 2, John Scott was announced as the captain of the Pacific Division team.

Along with many other hockey fans, I was very puzzled by the news. How on Earth did this get enough traction to actually make a mockery of the NHL? Plus, on one hand, this vote takes the opportunity away from a more deserving player in the division. On the other hand, the game does not mean anything and I am sure fans would love to see that big man in open ice with the puck at the All-Star Game. That’s just some good entertainment.

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After weighing both sides, I was all on board with this. John Scott going to Nashville would create an entertaining viewing experience, and it is not every day that a guy like Scott gets the chance to play in an All-Star Game. Scott even talked about how his family persuaded him to accept the spot in an interview with Puck Daddy.

“It’s one of those things where I never thought I’d be able to get to go, so when I found out it was a possibility my family was like, ‘You have to go. It’s going to be so cool,’” Scott said. “They’re excited for it – probably more excited than I am. It’ll be one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences.”

In a sports world with off-field scandals or violence, this was a feel good story of a family man getting an opportunity of a lifetime. Never mind the fact that Scott is not the most talented hockey player out there — he was voted in by the fans fairly, so he simply deserves the spot.

At this point in the story, the NHL had two paths to go down. It could let Scott play in the meaningless All-Star Game that will surely get more viewers with him around, because who doesn’t want to see this big body in a fast-paced format. Then, next year, they could announce that the voting for the captains will not consist of every player in the league, effectively solving the issue next time. Fine.

Or, the NHL could kill all the fun and not let John Scoot go to Nashville. This is the direction it went in.

It was reported Friday that John Scott and Victor Bartley were traded to Montreal in exchange for Jarred Tinordi. And what did the Canadiens do as soon as the trade was finalized? They sent Scott down to the AHL, and he was made ineligible for the All-Star Game. Boom. The story is dead. The NHL wins. John Scott, who is effectively made the butt end of a joke, has to deal with real-life consequences because the fans thought it would be funny to see him in the All-Star Game.

So who is to blame in all this? Well the obvious blame should go to the fans. But I cannot get myself to blame the fans. Sure the fans should have voted for players actually worthy of the All-Star Game, but it would be like yelling at a dog for eating your food that you left on the floor. It’s your fault for leaving the food on the floor in first place.

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My finger pointing begins and ends with the NHL. The league’s higher-ups are like the snobby spoiled kid who would cry until he or she got what he or she wanted. The NHL wanted to have fans vote for the All-Star Game competitors because fan participation in a meaningless game only makes sense. Fine. But you can’t turn around and dislike the results you get to the point where you force someone out of the game. The NHL left the food on the floor and the fans came and ate it, and now the NHL is punishing us by not letting John Scott in the All-Star Game.

So in the end, we will not see Scott trying to skate with Patrick Kane or Jonathan Toews on January 31. As amazing as that would have been to see him try and shut them down, it will not happen.

A story that began as a heart-warming tale of a family man being voted in by fans to a professional sports all-star game, ends in heartbreak as Scott’s wife and kids will be packing up their lives and moving to Hamilton, Ontario. All this because the NHL could not stand the thought of a player like John Scott being in their sacred All-Star Game over more deserving players.