The first clue something was up was up was when @SportsInsights tweeted this out on Saturday:
John Scott is the chalk for All-Star Game MVP. With that list. Including four hometown Predators. He was also just +180 to score 2 or more goals, which would be 40% of his eight season NHL total. It was obvious that Scott was going to get set up more than Ellen Degeneres in high school by his appreciative brothers-in-arms and that word reached this guy. Throw in the quirkiness of the format combined with the 3-on-3 format and, hey, who knows?
What we got was a fairy tale ending that the NHL fought so damn hard to prevent from ever even coming close to happening. Improbably and legitimately, Scott won the game’s MVP as his two goals tied for the Pacific team lead as they won the three-game tourney on what just may go down as the best All-Star Game ever. And not just because of Scott. The first two games were fine. But the final game was an intense, well-played 1-0 affair in which the goaltenders, for once, out-dueled the skaters with some incredible stops.
But this weekend was all about John Scott. After the NHL colluded with the franchise it used to own and its golden child in order to make a trade that just happened to come after Scott was voted in as a captain (per NHL rules), he was forced to uproot his ready-to-burst-with-twins wife and two young daughters just so the Habs could send him down to the minors. That was pretty disgraceful and something you’d expect from a truly conscienceless place like the NFL. Then it got worse.
Scott’s tremendous piece in The Player’s Tribune showed just how hypocritical and scumbaggy the NHL was toward him.
“Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”
That was it, right there. That was the moment they lost me.
Who the fuck is somebody at the NHL to bring his kids into this? That just shows the contempt some suits hold for players. The guy plays in their league with their rules that allow him to make a living fighting. The league sells it, profits off it, and chooses to keep it. But now it’s not good enough for them? The fuck outta here.
Once that column dropped, everybody was on his side. And he continued to win more followers with his gregarious nature and quick wit. Especially when he ethered JR on live TV after JR ridiculously called him “classless” earlier in this whole saga.
What was also great to see was they way his fellow NHLPA members rallied around his cause. It was obvious they were genuinely happy for him in addition to wanting him to win MVP. Because you can be damn sure they were as pissed as he was at the way the NHL dicked him around about the voting (which again, they made the rules for), had him moved across the continent after he wouldn’t back out, then brought his young daughters into it in some crass, awful attempt to shame him into backing out. It sure looked like a collective ‘fuck you’ to Gary Bettman and company from the players on the ice. And good for them if it really was.
Appropriate for Nashville, the NHL is singing a different tune.
I hope you enjoyed it because, in due time, we’re going to recognize it as the league’s final if inadvertent “endorsement” of the enforcer (other than, you know, the rules that allow fighting). It was an unintentional homage to the guys who are loved and respected by their peers and that’s all that really fucking matters at the end of the day.
So it was fitting that the league’s toughest fighter yesterday was essentially a proxy for the long-overdue appreciation for what are truly the last gladiators. He’s the best at what he does for a role that hasn’t been rewarded in this game since Bruins coach Mike Milbury controversially added Bruin Chris Nilan to the 1991 Wales squad. (Which resulted in the rules being changed. Which made Milbury look even more like an asshole yesterday when he constantly decried Scott being there. Seriously. I’m in the minority in that I typically like Milbury’s grumpy ass. But he was insufferable yesterday by taking a shot at Scott every chance he got but after Scott scored twice, he simply changed the subject when it got to him. Be better, Mike. And less of a hypocrite.)
Even though Scott made for the most memorable mid-season scrimmage since Ray Bourque’s hometown win, you can be sure the NHL will never allow this to happen again (only the NHL can simultaneously come out with egg on their face yet smelling like a rose). But that’s OK. Because we’ll always have Nashville.