John Scott rips NHL, exposes league over All-Star Game controversy
The NHL tried to keep John Scott out of the All-Star Game, but failed.
Norm Hall / Getty Images
By Jimmy Traina
This is not a good look for the NHL.
After fans voted him as captain of an All-Star team, enforcer John Scott said the league asked him to bail out on the exhibition game.
Since being named Pacific Division captain, Scott was traded from Phoenix to Montreal and then sent down to the AHL, prompting a rash of theories that the Coyotes and Canadiens conspired specifically to make Scott ineligible to play the All-Star game. Which, mind you, will be coached by country music stars and whose result has absolutely no bearing on the NHL season at large. (The league later announced that Scott could, in fact, play in Nashville this weekend.)
The 33-year-old journeyman has since become a folk hero among NHL and non-NHL fans alike. His All-Star shirt has sold out at the NHL store.
But at the same time: this isn't Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I'm not some random person off the street, and I didn't win a golden ticket to "play hockey with the stars." I won an internet fan vote, sure. And at some point, without question, it was a joke. It might even finish as a joke. But it didn't start as one. It started with a very small pool, out of a very small pool, out of the very, very smallest pool of hockey players in the world: NHLers. That was the vote. A fan vote, an internet vote -- but a vote from among the 700 or so best hockey players in North American professional sports.
And I'm one of them.
If the league thought this was an embarrassment, pretty much all of the players I've encountered have thought otherwise. I've gotten texts from so many guys saying the same thing: "You should go."
And that didn't happen because of the internet. I busted my ass to be one of them. I've skated every day since I was three years old to be one of them. I've persevered through Juniors roster cuts, Alaskan bus rides, Advanced Dynamics exams, and — yes — fights, to be one of them.
But I'm one of them. And that means a lot to me.
It means a lot to my family.
So when someone from the NHL calls me and says, "Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?"
... That's when they lost me.
Lose him they did. Scott added, "Because, while I may not deserve to be an NHL All-Star, I know I deserve to be the judge of what my kids will — and won't — be proud of me for."