While I was working the day after the Winter Classic, a Canadiens fan came into the store and we began discussing the Winter Classic and how their goaltender, Mike Condon, looked solid. The fan replied by saying the Canadiens have seven goalies in their system, and all but one are bad (that one being Carey Price). While Price has no timetable for a return, the Canadiens are in luck after the blockbuster deal that brought NHL All-Star John Scott to the team.
Oh, except the fact that Scott is no longer an All-Star due to the trade and is being sent down to the AHL. Therefore, he is not allowed to participate in the game. Not only that, but the trade really adds zero-value to any of the three teams involved (Coyotes, Canadiens, and Predators), and really makes little to no sense. When I first heard the news, I immediately sensed some shenanigans and strings at the league office being pulled to prevent Scott from playing in the game.
The Coyotes initially claimed the trade had nothing to do with the All-Star Game, which I had my doubts on. My suspicions were confirmed when Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted, “John Scott was previously asked by both NHL and Arizona Coyotes to bow out of NHL All-Star Game. He refused. Trade likely takes care of that.”
Once again, the NHL completely botched something that could’ve been great. There is no doubt that the fan voting for the game is highly flawed and needs serious reconstruction. Yet, instead of the NHL owning up to their mistake by changing the voting rules for next year’s All-Star game and just letting Scott play this year, they decided to find a loophole out of it at Scott’s expense. It is frankly embarrassing for everyone involved. I feel bad for Scott, I really do. Say what you want about him on the ice, but how he has handled the situation of getting in when he knows he shouldn’t have been voted in is really admirable. He really embraced it, took it for what it was, and was excited to be a part of such an event. He even made his teammates T-Shirts for the game that read “Thanks for believing in me. Love always, The Captain”, with an image of Scott on the shirt.
Now, Scott likely has to move not only to another city, but also to another country all together. Even Montreal’s AHL affiliate that Scott has been sent to, the St. John’s Ice Caps, is located in Canada. This is all in the middle of his wife expecting to give birth in the very near future. All of these changes for the Scott family have to occur for what, the NHL protecting the integrity of their beloved All-Star Game? Most of the players don’t even want to be there and you finally get someone who is sincerely excited to be there. But, he doesn’t fit the mold of who you want there even though your paying customers, the fans, voted him in? So you pull some nonsense, behind-the-scenes moves to get him left out? Not exactly a good look for the NHL.
I know from a marketing perspective, the NHL thinks it’s the right move. But who from the Coyotes is going to replace him? Max Domi? Oliver Ekman-Larsson is the most prominent name that would make sense but he is a defenseman, so there is no possibility he will get in. Whether the NHL realizes it or not, Scott wasn’t going to hurt the ratings. If anything, he was going to help them. But the NHL once again made itself look foolish, while failing Scott in the process, all over a stupid and pointless All-Star game.