30 players we would love to see at the 2017 All-Star Game

Jared Clinton
Shane Doan (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Whether or not the NHL wanted John Scott at the All-Star Game or not, his appearance was a resounding success. He received raucous ovations each time he was introduced, smiled ear-to-ear throughout the game and was voted the game’s MVP even though he didn’t appear on the ballot. For all the success of the 3-on-3 tournament format, Scott was the biggest story.

But now the NHL faces a tough decision. With Scott’s success and the attention paid to his appearance, does the NHL try to capitalize on this sort of thing again next season? There’s a good argument to be made Scott’s appearance was the perfect lightning-in-a-bottle example and it would be impossible to recreate. And if the NHL wants to make a Scott-esque player a feature of the All-Star Game, how do they do it?

The league will definitely consider their options, but if they choose to send some fan favorites next season, here are 30 players — one from each team — we’d love to see participate in the all-star festivities: Read more

Bettman’s reign equal parts incredible savvy and mind-boggling good luck

Ken Campbell
Gary Bettman (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)

During one of the countless news conferences NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has held over the years, a reporter once suggested to Bettman that if a CEO of a major corporation had the same track record he did, that person would be shown the door. The NHL’s board of governors obviously doesn’t agree.

There is absolutely no doubt on this. Bettman signing a seven-year contract extension that will take him through the 2021-22 season and just past his 70th birthday is based entirely on merit. Regardless of what you think of Bettman, he has made his bosses very, very happy. And for the most part, very very rich, either in the present or when they sell and cash out. He has played a huge part in the NHL transforming itself from a ticket-driven business with about $400 million in yearly revenues to a $4 billion industry.

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AHL’s IceCaps pay tribute to John Scott with clever change on social media

Jared Clinton
John Scott (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As the rest of the All-Star Game competitors return to their NHL teams Monday, John Scott, the Pacific Division captain and All-Star Game MVP, will be boarding a flight and heading to Newfoundland to join the AHL’s IceCaps. But he may return to a brand new city, as the IceCaps hopped on board the MVP hype surrounding the lovable tough guy.

Following Scott’s two-goal MVP performance, the IceCaps were hit with requests to change the team name to something reflecting the success of their newly acquired enforcer.

“We hear your requests,” the IceCaps Tweeted. “But we don’t think we’re allowed to change to the ‘St. John Scott IceCaps’ or ‘St. John’s IceScotts’”

And while the IceCaps are probably right — only probably because, hey, fan-voting has done some great things this past weekend — in saying the AHL won’t allow the name change, they found a happy medium. Shortly after saying the change wouldn’t be coming, the IceCaps gave in to the requests by altering their Twitter account to reflect the fanfare surrounding Scott. Read more

Youngsters dazzle at the AHL’s All-Star skills competition

Eric Comrie (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images)

While John Scott was being carried on the shoulders of his all-star teammates in Nashville (I can see the reports now: Joe Pavelski, day-to-day, hernia. Brent Burns, day-to-day, hernia…), the American League’s finest were having their skills competition at their all-star festivities in Syracuse. And there were some pretty nice performances for fans of a couple NHL franchises.

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Watch the five best highlights from the 2016 All-Star Game

Jared Clinton
John Gibson (via NHL/YouTube)

The All-Star Game is usually headlined by the game’s best goal scorers taking over, but it was the lovable story of John Scott and the goaltenders who really stole the show.

The three-game 3-on-3 tournament was a winning format — fun, fast and packed with highlights — but it wasn’t the offensive showdown one may have expected. Consider the final game of the tournament in which the Pacific Division team, led by Scott, won the 3-on-3 competition by a final score of 1-0. No one expected to see an all-star shutout.

If you missed the games, here are five of the best clips from the 3-on-3 tournament: Read more

How John Scott’s underdog triumph gave the NHL a Music City Miracle

Matt Larkin
John Scott. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

It’s the story you’ve read about and heard about and watched time and again over the past several days. It’s the one that simply won’t go away, because it keeps finding new, increasingly spectacular ways to top itself and further warm our hearts.

John Scott helped the NHL take a rotten batch of lemons and churn it into lemonade, saving the tastiest batch for Sunday’s 3-on-3 All-Star Game tournament. At 6-foot-8 and 275 pounds, he looks nothing like pint-sized Notre Dame football hero Rudy Ruettiger, but Scott essentially became Rudy for a day. Scott accomplished the things he never was supposed to. He turned himself from a laughing stock into a hero. And he literally got carried around on teammates’ shoulders, a la Ruettiger. The NHL could not have wished a better, more emotionally satisfying result into existence.

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Pacific Division captain guides team to inaugural 3-on-3 All-Star Game win

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
John Scott (Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

John Scott’s bizarre, winding journey to the NHL All-Star Game ended in storybook fashion.

With the fans in Nashville chanting “MVP” each time he stepped onto the ice in the dying minutes, Scott’s Pacific Division team finally secured a 1-0 victory in the championship round of the 3-on-3 tournament against the Atlantic stars.

The fans got what they wanted. Scott, who scored two goals over the course of the event, was presented with a new car to go along with a small trophy. That was after his Pacific teammates Brent Burns and Mark Giordano hoisted their captain in the air like a modern-day Daniel ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger.

John Scott, MVP, was the star of the show.

John Scott. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

John Scott. (Brian Babineau/Getty Images)

Of course, Scott’s road to that moment was a little different than that of Ruettiger, the undersized Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end whose struggle to play collegiate football was told in a famous 1993 film.

Scott, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound left winger, began this season playing for his sixth NHL organization since he entered pro hockey with the AHL’s Houston Aeros. As a noted enforcer, his hands were used more for slugging opponents than scoring. He had 542 penalty minutes compared to five career goals.

But Scott won the fan vote to gain an all-star spot and become the Pacific Division captain. That spot was in question when the Coyotes dealt Scott, who’d played in only 11 games, to Montreal and the Canadiens sent him to their AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps.

In a piece on the Players’ Tribune, Scott even alleged a representative from the NHL tried to coerce him not to attend the game.

Of course, attend he did. And the crowd ate it up.

They gave him a standing ovation before he took his slapshots in the hardest shot event at the Skills Competition.

But Sunday was really his time to shine.

Scott tapped in a pass from Burns for his first all-star goal and went down on one knee to celebrate. He checked former teammate Patrick Kane, recording the first all-star hit since 2003 in the process, and then pretended to duke it out with the Chicago Blackhawks star.

Scott’s second goal had some style points as he ripped a shot by Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk on a breakaway.

It was impossible to remove the smile from Scott’s face whenever the camera was on him.

Scott was all anyone wanted to talk about by the time the weekend was over.

It’s safe to say no one would have predicted that back in October.

NHL players fight back against Fun Police at Skills Competition

Matt Larkin
Brent Burns and P.K. Subban (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The score didn’t matter one iota. What was it…29-12 for the Eastern Conference? It’s been mere hours since the 2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition ended, and the actual team result already feels irrelevant. And yet, the players won something intangible and far more memorable Saturday night.

The event could’ve gone two ways in Nashville. We could’ve seen a bunch of tired players with vacant expressions labor their way through a dull affair, mailing in half-hearted attempts at creativity. We could’ve seen every member of the ‘All-Star Game is a joke’ brigade vindicated when sideshow John Scott fell flat on his face attempting a slapshot or breakaway goal.

Instead, good defeated bad. The one word not uttered enough in our sport these days – F.U.N. – triumphed. The players embraced the continuously joyous, friendly culture of Music City and delivered one hefty dose of pizzazz after another. And, best of all, Scott proved he could hang with his fellow elite professional athletes.

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