I’m going to take a break from being unhappy with the NFL/NDC – National Drug Cartel – and I’m going to express some unhappiness with something that the National Hockey League has done.
In every league except the MLB, the annual All-Star Game is a fun exhibition that is designed to showcase the very best talent in the given league facing off against one another. It’s a really fun weekend for all involved and serves as a break from the strenuous regular season schedule.
And on Friday, the NHL decided to take their All-Star Game way too seriously.
Another aspect that each of the All-Star Games share in common is the fan vote. The fans get to vote in the players that they want to see, and those players start the game. It’s a very well-meaning process, designed to get the fans involved, but it often goes somewhat awry.
As we saw last summer with the MLB All-Star Game, certain fan groups can take over the vote – as Kansas City Royals fans attempted to do when they voted 7 of their guys into the American League starting lineup. Were all 7 of these guys worthy of All-Star starting nods? Nope, but that didn’t stop the fans.
In the same light, NHL fans somewhat jokingly starting a ‘Get John Scott to the All-Star Game’ campaign. It was funny at first – as Scott is a 6’8” tough guy with 11 career points in 258 career games – but suddenly, as the final vote drew closer, Scott began to run away with the vote. In the end, Scott won a starting spot in the NHL’s very first 3 on 3 All-Star tournament.
All of the talk was about how the NHL should change or limit the fan vote in the future so that more deserving candidates are elected as All-Star captains. And that’s all this really needed to be, a reminder that the fan vote is not always a great thing.
As for Scott, this must have legitimately been a dream come true. A guy who’s never been considered even a ‘good’ hockey player would now be able to captain an All-Star team; how cool is that? And, to boot, the winning team would get to split $1,000,000. So even though this might have started out as a joke, Scott had to have been thrilled with the way it played out.
But then, the NHL and Scott’s team, the Arizona Coyotes, decided to take things too seriously.
As thrilled as Scott probably was with the effort of the fans, the NHL and the Coyotes weren’t. They decided that their All-Star Game needed to be taken seriously and that no guys like John Scott should be there.
So they pulled an NFL and sabotaged the potential career of one man in favor of a weekend that supports their bottom line.
Reportedly, the Coyotes asked Scott to politely decline his All-Star spot in favor of giving up to someone more deserving, like Max Domi or Oliver Ekman-Larsson or Shane Doan. Naturally, Scott didn’t want to give up his All-Star spot as this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for him. So why would he want to give it up?
Bleacher Report’s Adrian Dater even went so far as to ask Domi, Ekman-Larsson and Doan whether they would accept Scott’s All-Star spot if he gave it to them. All three strongly suggested that they would do no such thing, with Doan declaring, “He is such a big personality, such a fun guy. It is what it is, man.”
When Scott wouldn’t decline his invitation – later saying “It’s one of those things where I never thought I’d be able to get to go, so when I found out it was a possibility, my family was like, ‘You have to go. It’s going to be so cool.’ … It’ll be one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experiences” – the NHL and the Coyotes set wheels in motion to kill the fun and make Scott’s All-Star inclusion an impossibility.
On Friday, Scott was traded to Montreal in a 3 team deal with Nashville, and then immediately demoted to Montreal’s AHL affiliate. With Montreal being in the Eastern Conference, Scott is no longer qualified to be a Western Conference All-Star. TSN’s Bob McKenzie, probably the biggest NHL heavyweight reporter, tweeted that the fix was likely in, saying “John Scott was previously asked by both NHL and Arizona Coyotes to bow out of NHL All-Star Game. He refused. Trade likely takes care of that.”
If the rumors are true and the NHL really did sabotage Scott’s All-Star captaincy like this, it’s absolutely despicable and I am totally disgusted. This is an All-Star game, it means absolutely nothing, it’s a fun weekend for all the players involved and some nice time off for all those not involved. It does nothing other than entertain fans and allow the players to have some fun playing the game they love; no playoff implications, no nothing.
So, naturally, the NHL decided to take it so seriously that they felt the need to sabotage the potential career – not just weekend – of John Scott. By trading him to Montreal – a team that really has no use for Scott – and then having him demoted, the NHL effectively ended his career over a fan vote, which the NHL put in place mind you, gone wrong.
As part of the dying breed of ‘tough guys’ or ‘goons’ in the NHL, Scott will become irrelevant in only a matter of years, and in the AHL his irrelevancy will only come sooner. And what did Scott do wrong? Absolutely nothing.
That’s the worst part of this whole debacle; the fact that Scott’s only error was not giving up his All-Star game captaincy, which he absolutely had a right not to do and he shouldn’t have even had to consider giving it up.
The NHL took this whole endeavor way too seriously, and they messed up really badly. Scott is an honorable guy who did absolutely nothing wrong, and the NHL, along with the Coyotes, sabotaged one of the best moments of his life and potentially his entire professional hockey career.
So, I ask the NHL to please right this horrendous wrong. Honor your fan vote and let Scott participate in his role of All-Star captain. The damage has been done, but at least do this for him. Admit your mistake and make things as right as they can be at this stage.
Don’t be evil like the NFL.
Thanks for reading…
Update: The NHL announced today that Scott would still captain the Pacific team at the All-Star game despite the trade to Montreal