Arizona's John Scott is definitely going to the NHL All-Star Game later this month.
There was some thought the Coyotes' tough guy may decline the invitation after being voted in by the fans. On Saturday, the league announced Scott would captain the Pacific Division team at the Jan. 31 game in Nashville.
“It’s one of those things where I don’t want to be made a joke of, I don’t want to be an embarrassment, I don’t want to embarrass the game in that way,” Scott said per Fox Sports Arizona’s Todd Walsh. “I talked to some people, I talked to a lot of former players and everyone just said ‘go have fun with it and it’ll be a good experience'.”
Scott joins Jaromir Jagr (Atlantic), Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan) and Patrick Kane (Central) as the other captains at this year’s All-Star Game, which will feature a new 3-on-3 format.
The 33-year-old has appeared in 11 of Arizona’s 38 games this season registering one assist and 25 penalty minutes. Scott has been a healthy scratch in 27 games and even found himself on waivers last month.
Despite being a spare part on a young Coyotes’ team, Scott believes he’s earned the right to go to Nashville.
“I talked to a lot of guys in my position throughout the last few weeks and it’s kind of nice,” he said. “I’ve grinded out a career here. It’s not easy being the odd man out (or) the odd man in. You never know where you stand, you never know if you’re going to play or not, you get sent down, you’re a forward or (defenseman).
"It’s one of those things where it’s a grind and just to get a little recognition is fun. I hope all the guys, who have been in my position, can take a little grasp of this and say ‘we did something’.”
Kane, who is amongst the league leaders with 23 goals and 56 points through 39 games this season, is happy to see his former Blackhawks’ teammate voted in.
“Hopefully Johnny shows up," Kane told Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune. "I think it would be something that would be good for the game and bring some more excitement to that All-Star Game. Knowing the type of guy he is, hopefully he does it. It could be great for the sport."
Scott is looking forward to lining up against Kane.
“I like to hear that, I think it will be good for the game,” Scott said. “I know some people are a little nervous about me going, not being able to handle the 3-on-3 and this and that. I’ll be fine, I’ll go out there and do my best and I’m glad Patty said that. I hope he goes too and I’ll look forward to playing against him.”
One player who is a little bit nervous is Jagr. The 43-year-old, who asked fans not to vote for him in December, took to Twitter to express his concern on Saturday.
The remaining 40 players who will comprise the four All-Star rosters – consisting of six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders per team – will be determined by the NHL operations department and be announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6.