Even though John Scott no longer plays in the Western Conference, the NHL has decided to uphold his Pacific Division captain status for the 2016 All-Star Game.
The John Scott drama is officially over.
It was controversial enough to see the 6-foot-8 enforcer voted into the 2016 All-Star Game as a captain by the fans. It was even more controversial to see Scott traded to the Montreal Canadiens and subsequently demoted to the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps.
Wherever people stood on Scott’s All-Star Game participation – from believing he made a mockery of the event by playing to being excited to see the big monster competing in the 3-on-3 tournament – most of us could agree the entire situation was an embarrassment for the NHL. Scott graciously chose to participate in the game and honor the fans who voted him in, and he and his wife Danielle are expecting twins, so it was a double slap in the face to see him removed from the All-Star Game by the trade and shipped off to Newfoundland shortly before his wife gives birth.
But the wrong has been righted. The NHL announced Tuesday Scott would still captain the Pacific Division squad despite no longer playing for the Arizona Coyotes and despite the fact playing in the AHL would typically make him ineligible for the All-Star Game. That means no Eastern Conference player will have his invite reneged, and it means Arizona’s Shane Doan and Oliver Ekman-Larsson remain uninvited.
In the NHL’s defense, there’s no proof it planned to leave Scott out in the cold, even if we suspect its decision was a reaction to public uproar.
“The resultant change in division, and Scott’s subsequent assignment to the American Hockey League, created a unique circumstance that required review – the result of which was a determination to maintain the status quo for the all-star weekend in order to preserve all parties’ pre-existing expectations, including Scott’s desire to participate,” said a release issued by the league.
“I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at all-star weekend in Nashville with my family,” Scott said in the release. “While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the all-star events with my fellow players.”
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin