The NHL is switching to a completely new format for their 2016 All-Star Game. Instead of the standard two-team full game, the NHL is going with a four-team, 3-on-3 tournament. These four teams all have captains and the captains are as follows: 5-time All-Star and 3-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, 6-time All-Star and 3-time MVP Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, 13-time All-Star and 2-time Stanley Cup champion Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers, and, to conclude the list, weighing in at 6’8 and 259 pounds with five career goals, six career assists and 542 career penalty minutes is John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes.
Scott, who has one assist in 11 games this year with an average of 6:18 of ice time a game and has also been waived three times, was voted in by fans. What first started off as what appeared to be a joke that wouldn’t hold up did just the opposite of that, becoming a real nightmare for the NHL. I mean it makes sense that this happened. As much as the NHL would like for this game to be taken seriously, no one actually does and Scott getting selected as a captain epitomizes what a complete joke the game is. Not only that, but it is also a double whammy to the NHL because Scott, who represents the fighting and everything that the NHL is trying to remove from its image, will be the main focus of one of the NHL’s most viewed events.
Despite this, Scott getting voted into the game is actually the best thing that could happen to the NHL. Let me explain. To hockey fans, the All-Star game has become redundant with the same players and same lack of effort every year. But factor in Scott, and he makes for a good reason to tune in. The concept of this lifetime fighter and grinder out on the ice trying to hang in there with the best in the world is hilarious and anyone who says otherwise and that it’s ruining the “integrity” is a fun-sucker.
I give props to Scott though for being such a good sport about it because I am sure he is not blind to this being a complete joke. However, what isn’t a joke is the NHL giving a million-dollar prize to the winning team to split as an incentive to actually try (which still won’t happen). Scott only has a $700,000 salary so that prize money definitely has some value to it and might be incentive enough for him to try to win. So that raises the question that if the game comes down to the wire, will Scott as the captain of the team bench himself? Will he make himself a healthy scratch to increase his team’s chance of winning? Will he do the fastest skater competition or stickhandling competition? There are so many questions heading into the All-Star weekend that even the smallest hockey fan will have to watch to see what unfolds in Nashville on January 30th and 31st.
The only thing that could make the NHL more mad than it already is about this is if the other players let Scott score as often as possible just so he can be named All-Star MVP and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened. In fact, every fan is begging for that to happen. And hey, the NHL wants their fans to be happy. They put the voting power in the fans’ hands, but I guess the NHL should’ve been careful what they wished for. The fans pay the money for the tickets, so the fans get what they want; and what they want is John Scott to be an NHL All-Star.