(Photo: NHL YouTube)
A few weeks ago, John Scott was content playing about 10 shifts a game in his 11 games with the Arizona Coyotes. He had one assist (Nov. 12) and 25 penalty minutes. His plus/minus balanced out at zero.
Like a fairytale he’d read his daughters, he’s since become a celebrity man of honor, a hero, and an NHL All-Star Captain and MVP.
With his first shot on his first shift in his first All-Star Game, which he nearly didn’t attend, Scott gave the Pacific Division a 2-0 lead over the Central Division.
At 3:27 into the second period, Scott scored again, going top-shelf on a breakaway for a 5-3 lead in what would be a 9-6 victory.
And while there were four two-goal scorers in this semi-final game, Scott was by far the fan favorite.
“I never, in a million years, believed I would’ve been in an All-Star Game,” Scott said. “To have the fans get behind me like that, to score two goals in a game, you can’t put it into words.
“You can’t write this stuff. It’s unbelievable how it happened.”
The Pacific would go on to win 1-0 against the Atlantic in the final.
And then, the NHL announced its three Twitter fan vote MVP finalists: Taylor Hall (2 goals, 1 assist), Johnny Gaudreau, (1 goal, 2 assists), and Roberto Luongo (8 saves on 10 shots in the first game and 10/10 in the second).
They were to vote by tweeting: #votemvphall, #votemvpgaudreau, or #votemvpluongo.
Bridgestone Arena erupted in a loud, deep “Booooo.”
When Scott next stepped on the ice, fans chanted “M-V-P, M-V-P.” In fact, they did so each of his shifts the remainder of the game.
“I was sitting next to Johnny and Taylor on the bench, and I said, ‘You guys better give me that van, because I need it,’” Scott said after the game.
His wife is expecting twins any day. They already have two young daughters. All were in attendance for the weekend.
Twitter went crazy: #votemvpscott took over from fans and professional hockey accounts.
Just give it to him. #VoteMVPScott
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) February 1, 2016
This is what it’s all about. #VoteMVPScott
— NHL Blue Jackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 1, 2016
Pacific Division with the win. #VoteMVPScott
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) February 1, 2016
How about a write-in?#votemvpscott
— Jill Romano (@JillRomano) February 1, 2016
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 1, 2016
The league had no choice. His votes by far outnumbered those of the suggested MVP entries. And Scott was anointed 2016 NHL All-Star Most Valuable Player.
It’s the stuff of dreams and storybooks. It seemed like a long-shot because him being in the game was such an issue. But his performance on the ice was certainly that of an All-Star.
“You know what, he truly deserved it. That’s the funniest thing. He deserved it. The fans voted for him and he deserved it. He played good,” veteran All-Star Jaromir Jagr said. “If somebody’s very unwanted, he becomes [a] hero. That’s why I love it. There was the story. The guy was unwanted from the NHL and I think from the NHL, whatever happened today I think it’s probably [one of] the best stories to happen at [the] All-Star Game.”
With the NHL All-Star Fan vote and a mix at tasteless humor/viral internet campaigning, Scott quickly launched to fan vote leader and Pacific Division All-Star Captaincy. But, the NHL seemed to think he wasn’t a match and, in the midst of a Coyotes upswing, he was part of a three-team trade with Nashville and Montreal that sent him to the Canadiens’ AHL team–the St. Johns IceCaps in Newfoundland.
In an age where “enforcers,” are being phased out, a 33-year-old with a hockeyfights.com record higher than his scoring record, the league seemed to think he’d put a dent in their annual exhibition.
Instead, he made it worthwhile.
Scott has had five goals in 285 career games. But, in a three-on-three tourney with some of the best players in the NHL, he scored twice.
Game One: Team Atlantic versus Team Metropolitan
P.K. Subban laid it all out on the ice to give the Atlantic Division a win in Game 1 of the NHL All-Star three-on-three tournament. In his premiere appearance, the Montreal defenseman scored the game-winner and put his body between potential shots and goalie Ben Bishop to keep the 4-3 score as the clock ticked down.
Off a Larkin pass, with 48 seconds left in the first period, Jagr double-deked Braden Holtby for a top-shelf goal.
Then, Subban took a pass from goalie Ben Bishop, passed to Larkin, then took a pass-back from Larkin and fired it in for the lead with 4:48 remaining in the game.
Coach Gerard Gallant, Florida Panthers
Captain Jaromir Jagr, F, Florida Panthers #68, 10th appearance
Patrice Bergeron, F, Boston Bruins #37, 2nd appearance
Leo Komarov, F, Toronto Maple Leafs #47, 1st appearance
Dylan Larkin, F, Detroit Red Wings, #71, 1st appearance
Ryan O’Reilly, F, Buffalo Sabres #90, 1st appearance
Steven Stamkos, F, Tampa Bay Lightning #91, 4th appearance
Aaron Ekblad, D, Florida Panthers #5, 2nd appearance
Erik Karlsson, D, Ottawa Senators #65, 3rd appearance
P.K. Subban, D, Montreal Canadiens #76, 1st appearance
Ben Bishop, G, Tampa Bay Lightning #30, 1st appearance
Roberto Luongo, G, Florida Panthers #1, 5th appearance
Celebrity Coach: Amy Grant
Coach Barry Trotz, Washington Capitals
Captain John Tavares, F, New York Islanders #91, 3rd appearance
Evgeny Kuznetsov, F, Washington Capitals #92, 1st appearance
Nicklas Backstrom, F, Washington Capitals #19, 1st appearance
Claude Giroux, F, Philadelphia Flyers #28, 4th appearance
Evgeni Malkin, F, Pittsburgh Penguins #71, 4th appearance
Brandon Saad, F, Columbus Blue Jackets #20, 1st appearance
Justin Faulk, D, Carolina Hurricanes #27, 1st appearance
Kris Letang, D, Pittsburgh Penguins #58, 3rd appearance
Ryan McDonagh, D, New York Rangers #27, 1st appearance
Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals #70, 1st appearance
Cory Schneider, G, New Jersey Devils #35, 1st appearance
Celebrity Coach: Vince Gill
Game Two Central Division versus Pacific Division
This high-scoring matchup included four two-goal scorers and a slew of hometown fan favorite Predator players, but Scott, of course would stand out with his highlight reel shown above.
The 9-6 game featured goals by Central’s James Neal (two), Patrick Kane (one), Dustin Byfuglien (one), Tyler Seguin (one) and Roman Josi (one). For the winning team’s scorers were Pacific’s Scott (tw0), Daniel Sedin (two), Taylor Hall(two), Joe Pavelski on the power play (one), Johnny Gaudreau (one), and Drew Doughty (one).
- 1-0–Neal, assists: Matt Duchene, Shea Weber, 0:26 1st
- 1-1–Scott, assists: Brent Burns, Weber, 0:47 1st
- 2-1–Pavelski, assists: Sedin, Corey Perry, 5:26 1st
- 2-2–Neal, assists: Duchene, Weber, 8:01 1st
- 3-2–Gaudreau, assists: Mark Giordano, Hall, 8:17 1st
- 3-3–Kane, assists: Jamie Benn, Pekka Rinne 9:27 1st
- 4-3–Sedin, assist: John Gibson, 1:29 2nd
- 5-3–Scott, assist: Burns, 3:27 2nd
- 6-3–Hall, assist: Gaudreau, 4:04 2nd
- 7-3–Sedin, assist: Perry, Doughty, 4:28 2nd
- 7-4–Byfuglien, assist: Seguin, Vladimir Tarasenko, 4:36 2nd
- 7-5–Seguin, assists: Byfuglien, Tarasenko, 4:49 2nd
- 8-5–Hall, assists: Gaudreau, Burns 7:44 2nd
- 9-5–Doughty, assist: Pavelski 8:45 2nd
- 9-6–Josi, assist: Seguin, Neal 8:53 2nd
Captain Patrick Kane, F, Chicago Blackhawks 88, 5th appearance
Jamie Benn, F, Dallas Stars #14, 2nd appearance
Matt Duchene, F, Colorado Avalanche #9, 2nd appearance
Tyler Seguin, F, Dallas Stars #91, 3rd appearance
Vladimir Tarasenko, F, St. Louis Blues #91, 2nd appearance
James Neal, F, Nashville Predators #18, 2nd appearance
Dustin Byfuglien, D, Winnipeg Jets 33, 3rd appearance
Roman Josi, D, Nashville Predators #59, 1st appearance
Shea Weber, D, Nashville Predators #6, 5th appearance
Devan Dubnyk, G, Minnesota Wild #40, 1st appearance
Pekka Rinne, G, Nashville Predators #35, 1st appearance
Celebrity Coach: Dierks Bentley
Coach Darryl Sutter, Los Angeles Kings
Captain John Scott, F, Arizona Coyotes #28, 1st appearance
Johnny Gaudreau, F, Calgary Flames #13, 2nd appearance
Taylor Hall, F, Edmonton Oilers #4, 1st appearance
Joe Pavelski, F, San Jose Sharks #8, 1st appearance
Corey Perry, F, Anaheim Ducks, #10, 4th appearance
Daniel Sedin, F, Vancouver Canucks #22, 3rd appearance
Brent Burns, D, San Jose Sharks #88, 3rd appearance
Drew Doughty, D, Los Angeles Kings #8, 2nd appearance
Mark Giordano, D, Calgary Flames #5, 2nd appearance
John Gibson, G, Anaheim Ducks #36, 1st appearance
Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles Kings #32, 2nd appearance
Celebrity coach: Chris Young
Game Three, Final, Atlantic versus Pacific
With the Central Division (and Predators players) eliminated, the home crowd started the game with chants of “Let’s go, John Scott.”
Alas, the first period remained scoreless, with Luongo going 12-12 in stopped shots and Jonathan Quick stopping 10-10.
Then, with 6:22 left in the game, Corey Perry fired a wrister past Bishop with help from Sedin and Burns.
The Atlantic team was unable to make a comeback.
Scott’s teammates said they wanted to get Pacific the win for him.
Even his opponents were quick to acknowledge that not only did he deserve to be in the game, and win, he also deserved MVP.
“Everything he got at the end of it, he deserved” – PK on John Scott https://t.co/ZPJ6lYQF82
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) February 1, 2016
Here’s some background on Scott to read before noting that the NHL has named him the league’s “First Star of the Week.”
(Be sure to click the bold/italicized links for additional information and enjoy the videos.)