ADAMS: Scott gets last laugh after NHL All Star Game
I wonder what CBC’s Don Cherry thinks now? He is the anchor of the infamous “Hockey Night in Canada” intermission show viewed every Saturday throughout Canada.
You see, he labeled the people who voted for John Scott to appear in the National League All-Star game as “jerks.” He spoke of what an injustice it was for the game.
John Scott was urged by the NHL not to play in the classic. He had been dealt from Phoenix to Montreal. Montreal had platooned him to the minors. Even with overwhelming fan support, one of the NHL corporate moguls asked him if this was something his daughters would be proud to see him play. Even after he was named the Captain of the Pacific Division squad, his appearance was in great doubt. The NHL made a series of poor decisions. They simply did not want him there.
They asked him not to come. They pleaded that he withdraw. In the end, he just did not see it their way.
Finally, the NHL relented. The really had to. They could not make more of a mockery of their voting system than they had already. They invited John Scott to skate for the Pacific Division. They cleared him to play, and brought his family and him to Nashville to participate.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made peace with him. Bettman welcomed Scott. He told him he was glad he was there. In this own way, he made Scott feel comfortable, the misfit they once thought he was.
John Scott became a favorite during his four days in Nashville. He was the ordinary guy made good. People swarmed to him. The supreme underdog was not only going to play, he was destined to Captain his team. The fans became enchanted with the entire story. He was applauded everywhere he went. His jersey sold out, and the media coveted every moment with him.
It was the most attention he had ever received. Scott took pictures of the media that had assembled about him. He became a star in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Then the game began.
He played on the line with two ex-teammates, Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns, both of the San Jose Sharks.
On his first shift, Scott scored for the Pacific Division. Later on in the preliminary contest, he converted a big goal on a breakaway. Two goals in the first game attracted a lot of attention. Most hoped for it, but few expected it.
After the Pacific Division won their preliminary 3-on-3 game against the Central Division 9-6, they downed the Atlantic Division in a surprisingly tight 1-0 game.
In all their stupidity, handling the John Scott matter so embarrassingly poor, the NHL had but one more blunder to launch on the fans. They nominated Roberto Luongo, Taylor Hall, and Johnny Gaudreau as the MVP candidates. The Twitter votes poured in and the fans scored another goal by electing John Scott.
The once much-maligned Scott had been voted the MVP and the entire event came to a brilliant conclusion.
Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns hoisted the 6”8”, 280 pound Scott onto their shoulders.
As much as the NHL tried to deprive the fans of a surreal sports moment, the supreme underdog going to the top of the heap, this was a time when the fans got it right. One text message after the game read, “This is the most incredible moment I have witnessed in sports.”
The NHL will now move on. Despite their initial lack of desire to have John Scott appear in the game, he became their lead story. Somewhere along the line, one can only hope that the major sports league can learn a humbling lesson as to how their bullying moves may have led to one of their best hockey stories of the year.
Jim Adams is a regular contributor to The Union. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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