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By Joe Huss
John Scott stole the hearts of the hockey world last week at the NHL All-Star game. He was voted in by the fans and was even voted the MVP of the tournament. It is a feel good story that is even being talked about being made into a movie. However, it almost never happened at all.
When Scott was selected by the fans to be the captain of the Pacific Division the whole hockey community was interested in seeing what would happen. How would he perform against the best the league had to offer? Would he be an embarrassment to the league? How would the fans react to him playing in the game?
Top NHL officials wanted him to opt out of the game, basically saying that he knew this game was not for him and he should issue a statement to the fans. At first he agreed and tried to urge the fans to vote for his teammates, but not to vote for him. The fans still kept pouring in the votes for him and he was going to be a lock to represent the Pacific Division as its captain.
NHL officials then made a fatal mistake and tried to bring Scott’s kids into the equation, which infuriated Scott and sealed the deal that he was going to participate in the weekend festivities during All-Star weekend. The NHL and the Arizona Coyotes still did not want the All-Star game to be a joke because a career-long enforcer was going to play in it.
Shortly before All-Star weekend the story took a crazy turn and Scott was traded to the Montreal Canadiens in the Atlantic Division and was sent down to the minors right away. This raised many questions, mainly if Scott – who was voted in by the fans – would still be eligible to represent the Pacific team.
After an outrage by the fans, the NHL’s hands were tied and said that Scott would still captain the Pacific Division. The move was a great one by the league because it created a lot of revenue for them and it was one the highest viewed All-Star games in recent memory. In fact, they sold out of Scott’s jersey before the weekend had even started.
The John Scott story was a fantastic one to witness this season, but it almost did not happen. No one may know if the NHL forced the Coyotes to trade Scott out of the Pacific division. In the end, everyone won and the NHL was forced to eat their own words.