For those of you that watched the NHL All-Star Game last night, I hope you agree with me when I say that it was a success. During last year’s game, the players were going through the motions. Yes, a ton of goals were scored. But that was basically because the goalies were laying down, there was no defense, and the players for the most part just didn’t care. From a fan’s point of view, it was pretty boring.
This year, the NHL realized that something needed to be done. So they changed the format to a 3-on-3 tournament instead of a standard game. After all, this is the newest way the league is handling overtime hockey this year; so why not highlight it? It’s fast-paced and exciting; and it usually involves the best skill players in the game. What a splendid way to feature all that is great about hockey!
Well, there was a bit of a glitch in the overall plan when the fans decided to vote in known enforcer John Scott as the captain of the Pacific Division. It started as a joke, but then the idea took on a life of its own. It was a legitimate aspect of the rules that the NHL had laid out; so it appeared they would be obligated to honor it.
But wait. John Scott isn’t a skilled player. He would never play 3-on-3 hockey in a regular game. I can see all the NHL executives saying, “This doesn’t fit into the plan!”
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So Scott gets traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens. They immediately send him down to their AHL affiliate, making him ineligible to play in the All-Star Game. Coincidence? Well, I will let you be the judge of that.
The good news is that the fans and then the media put up enough of a stink that the NHL announced Scott would be allowed to play in the game after all. Kudos to all involved for standing up for what we believe is right. It actually worked for once! Let’s remember the power we can wield if we all work together!
After all, why should Scott be banished because he was the brunt of a fan-related stunt? Why should he not be given credit for the role that he plays? So he’s not a skilled player. He’s an enforcer. But his role isn’t easy either.
If the NHL was smart, they would have embraced the whole idea. Celebrated one of the best enforcers in the game. They could have gone with the angle that hockey has evolved, and this is a dying breed in the NHL. And that is why he is here.
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Well, the NHL didn’t have to do any of that. Because the players took care of it for them.
This is the true reason why the All-Star game was a success. Yes, the new format definitely added a spark. But I believe it was because the players had something to play for. They had a statement to make. They had incentive. And this all came in the form of standing up for your everyday guy, John Scott. All the players rallied around him.
They did it for him because he is known to be a really nice person, and a favorite in the locker room. They did it because they realized that a huge disservice was being done, and that it simply wasn’t fair. But most importantly, they did it for themselves as a whole. Because no matter if you are the top scorer or the best on defense, the goaltender or the goon, this is a team sport. And there is no “I” in team. On a team everyone plays a part, and everyone makes a difference.
The players all embraced Scott in many different ways. They welcomed him and encouraged him. During the game, they didn’t want him to just sit on the bench. They asked to play with him. When he was out on the ice, they passed him the puck. Because of all this, he scored 2 goals! At the All-Star game!
Scott and fellow Central Conference Captain Patrick Kane even staged a fight that ended with a lot of laughs. It was the perfect stunt to throw in the face of the NHL all that was wrong with trying to keep Scott out of the All-Star festivities in the first place.
Sure, 3-on-3 hockey was probably fun and new. But it was also a lot of work. This was essentially a meaningless game. Yes, an honor. But most players are really saving themselves for their specific team and for the playoffs.
That is why the effort shown last night is really a tribute to the players, not the NHL. Don’t tell me the NHL got it right. The NHL had to do this because the fans, the media, and most importantly, the players stood up for what they truly believed. Peer pressure by the little guys beat out the big guys!
John Scott was named the 2016 NHL All-Star Most Valuable Player. This is because the fans and the players wanted it, and therefore the NHL was obligated to honor it. Does he deserve it? Absolutely he does! Scott might not be your traditional “all-star”, but he made this one of the best All-Star games in history!
Everybody roots for the underdog. The John Scott drama is the biggest Cinderella story that we’ve had in the sport for quite some time. It’s a “feel good” moment that we should all be proud of. My fellow staff writer took it even a step further in this tweet:
Well, we all can dream…Best of luck to John Scott! And to the sanctity of hockey!
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