At 33, John Scott has officially been awarded MVP in the NHL All-Star weekend, an event from which he was nearly barred from playing. Initially chosen to represent the Arizona Coyotes, he was then traded to the Montreal Canadiens who dropped him down to their AHL affiliate in Newfoundland, reports the USA Today. But fans were upset. Very upset. Wanting to see Scott play in the All-Star games, they not only got their wish, but Scott scored two goals and received praise from his teammates while dominating the game with an impressive performance and charismatic presence.
Scott published an essay in The Players Tribune January 28 titled “A Guy Like Me,” expressing his shock at being traded, just as he was passing around his new All-Star gloves in the locker room in Phoenix. He recalls the conversation with his GM the day he found out he was traded.
“Enforcers don’t get traded mid-season when their team is winning. If you know the league, you know that it just doesn’t happen.”
“I’m not sure what to say, John. This is how it goes. We’re trying to make our team better. We had a chance to get a player, and we took it.”
“I’ll keep the rest of the conversation private, because I’m a professional. But you can fill in the blanks. It is, as we say in this business, emotional.”
“When I get to my car, I immediately call my wife.”
“‘What’s wrong?’ she asks.”
“I almost laugh. It’s all I can do.”
“‘I just got traded.'”
John Scott:— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 1, 2016
• Captain of the NHL All-Star winning team
• NHL All-Star game MVP pic.twitter.com/Ckm5daCEQ9
John and his wife are overwhelmed by this treatment after all the contributions he has made to the team. His daughters are young and his wife is nine-months pregnant with twins. The trade doesn’t merely put him down to the minors, it would put an unimaginable amount of stress on his family at a time when the last thing they need is unrest. But John has fought too hard to let the league relegate him at this point.
“You probably think you know me. Or at least the stereotype of John Scott. Well, let me tell you something that might surprise you: I never wanted to be a fighter. Growing up, I always made sure I had the Sherwood TP-70 stick.”
Why? That was Ray Bourque’s stick. I was all about Ray Bourque, even though I lived in St. Catharines, Ontario. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian. All my buddies loved the Leafs and Canadiens. So I picked the Bruins. I thought the logo was cool. I remember being so mad that they wouldn’t let us pick numbers past 30 in Squirt hockey. I wanted 77, so I could be like Ray… The coaches kept saying, ‘Too big. Too slow… So I got faster. And I did just enough to get myself a scholarship to play hockey at Michigan Tech University. The way I saw it, I would never make the NHL, but I’d have an engineering degree. By 30, I’d be sitting in an office at GM back in sleepy Ontario, in my suit, and happy as hell about it.” John writes.
John Scott did something no other player has been able to do in years. He made the All-Star game fun. https://t.co/VOvftkq0qy— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) February 1, 2016
Lucky for Scott, the suspicious circumstances of the trade may result in possible grievance with the NHL Players Association, not to mention the fact the fans had voted him into the All-Star game in the first place.
John has always been an enforcer, but by no means a fighter, not with his fists. Until he was 23, John had never been in a fight on the rink. He is best known as a gentlemen, and these good vibes were all over the place in Sunday night’s game. Scott scored two goals while displaying a kind of grace unexpected from man of six feet eight inches.
“We’ve just been so overwhelmed by so much support” said his wife Danielle after the game.
It will be interesting to see what’s ahead for Scott.
[Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]