By Michael Battista
Between Tuesday, Dec. 1, and Friday, Jan. 1, National Hockey League (NHL) fans were able to vote online for one player in each of the four divisions to make it to the All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Jan. 31, in Nashville, Tenn. The players who received the most votes were named team captains for their respective divisions.
The players chosen were league legend Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers in the Atlantic Division, current Stanley Cup Champion Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division, the newest member of the 500 career goals club Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals in the Metropolitan Division and John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes in the Pacific Division, who has a grand total of five NHL goals under his belt. So, how could this have happened?
Shortly after the voting began, the #VoteJohnScott hashtag started to make its rounds on Twitter. Scott, an enforcer, played for an already mediocre team and fans thought it would be fun to try to vote him in.
The votes kept flooding in, wave after wave, and Scott was in first place in the Pacific Division.
Things got interesting when Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadians, an Atlantic Division team, and was then sent down to the American Hockey League (AHL). Reports then surfaced that both the Coyotes and the NHL approached Scott asking him to decline his position in the All-Star Game, which he refused.
The team claims the trade was fully business-minded, but the sliminess and coldness of the situation was definitely evident to NHL fans when they heard the news.
The 33-year-old Canadian is expecting twins with his wife soon and already has two children. His children were the reason he did this — to give them the experience of being at All-Star Weekend.
“They’re excited for it — probably more excited than I am,” Scott said in an interview with “Puck Daddy,” Yahoo Sports’s NHL blog. “It’ll be one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences.”
Now they may need to pack their things and move because of a trade that many think was just to solve the All-Star Game issue.
But this story has a happy ending, which might turn out even better than originally planned.
The NHL released a statement on Tuesday, Jan. 19, saying that Scott will in fact be allowed to play in the All-Star Game and serve as captain for the Pacific Division team.
Many players around the NHL have started to root for Scott and want to see him succeed. From start to finish, his positive outlook throughout the entire ordeal has won over many, including some of the fans who scoffed at the idea of him playing.
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said he wants the place to go nuts.
“I hope the building goes crazy for him,” he told the Pitsburg Post-Gazette. “I hope that he scores many goals. I hope his team wins. I hope he raises the All-Star Cup… You root for a guy like that, who has been very positive through a tough situation.”
Only time will tell how this story ends. Even though Scott will be representing the Phoenix Coyotes, a team that has no other representation at the event, he had a potential idea. In an interview with Canadian sports talk show host Bob McCown, Scott quipped that if allowed, he would wear a St. John’s Icecaps jersey because “that’s who I’m with now.”