From Hockey Goon to All Star Gold
Picture this: you’re one of, if not, the last real “goon” in the National Hockey League, with a career total of 542 penalty minutes and are in no way a stand out player in today’s style of hockey. Just then, you hear that a group of fans nominate you to the NHL All Star game as some sort of joke. That joke snowballs into you not only getting nominated, but becoming the captain of your team in the first 3-on-3 tournament style All Star game. Everyone already doubts your ability to play, but somehow, someway, you manage to score 2 goals, win the All Star Tournament, and win MVP. Sounds like some crazy hockey movie script, right? I’m sure John Scott can tell you that’s exactly what it felt like, because that’s EXACTLY what happened to him.
Tale of the Tape
John Scott, the 6 foot 8, 240 pound left wing, found himself in one of the most bizarre yet awesome stories in sports recently. The NHL All Star Game has been revamped into a 3-on-3 tournament between the 4 divisions this year, with the winning team given $1 million and a new car. The NHL was also open to the idea of having the fans vote for who they felt was worthy of being nominated to play. The fans wanted to play a joke, and Scott became the punch line. Scott is in his 9th season of the NHL, has played in fewer than 300 games and has less than 20 points. So what makes him an all-star, you ask? Even the NHL had to ask themselves that.
You Can’t Play Here
Signing a one year deal earlier in the 2015-2016 season with the Arizona Coyotes, Scott was unsure of where his career in the NHL was going to go. Come January 2nd, 2016, he won the NHL All Star Game vote, and would captain the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, the guy only had one goal in 11 games with Arizona. Then, on January 15th, Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens where he was immediately sent down to the AHL (the minors for the NHL). After he was sent down, the NHL and Arizona Coyotes had requested that Scott remove himself from the All Star team, which he refused to do. In fact, Scott wrote a segment in the Players Tribune entitled A Guy like me, where he describes how the NHL simply didn’t want him to have any part of its game.
Look Who’s Laughing Now?
On January 16th, Scott was officially named the captain of the Pacific Divison All Star team, despite the league’s obvious displeasure of his involvement. With his team, the league, and now the hockey world watching him this past Sunday, Scott had a lot of questions to answer and a lot of skepticism to overcome. In his first game of the All Star tournament, Scott scored two goals, including a beautiful breakaway goal which was placed perfectly over the shoulder of Devan Dubnyk. He and his team went on to defeat the Central Division 9-6, and eventually winning the tourney with a 1-0 win over the Atlantic division in the final. When it came time to vote for the MVP, Scott’s name wasn’t with the list of other names on the jumbotron. After the sold out Nashville arena all started to chant his name, the NHL did what they had done when the fans initially wanted Scott to play: they gave it to him. In a Rudy-ish style ending, Scott was hoisted on his teammate’s shoulders and carried off the ice.
As Cool As The Ice He Skated On
This story, to me, goes to show you that no matter what adversity or odds you are given or have to overcome, there is ALWAYS a way to overcome and conquer it. John Scott is no Patty Kane, nor is he a Malkin or a Crosby, but that’s what makes him, him. It seemed as if the world didn’t see Scott as a notable hockey player, or someone with any skill to compete at the NHL 3-on-3 level. I think the only one that really saw John as someone worthy was himself. He decided that he wasn’t going to be the butt of the league’s joke, and with two twins on the way and $1 million on the line, he had a lot more going for him than he did against him. Scott had to fight for his respect in the league, and when it comes to fighting, that’s something that he’s actually good at. Over the course of a weekend, John Scott went from the NHL All Star Game’s biggest nightmare to its MVP.