Down Goes Brown: Five surprising NHL award ballot snubs

Sean McIndoe
Erik Karlsson. (Getty Images)

Today is the first day of the playoffs, with series kicking off in Tampa, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. That means it’s also the last day for PHWA members to submit their award ballots. So if you noticed your favorite sportswriter rushing around like a flustered kid who left his homework to the last minute, that’s why.

The league prefers that we don’t reveal our ballots before the winners are announced, since if too many of us do that it will kill the suspense. That’s fair. So today, I won’t tell you who got my vote. Instead, I’ll tell you who didn’t.

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Down Goes Brown: The five strangest votes cast for major NHL awards

Sean McIndoe
Marty McSorley.  (Photo by Graig Abel Collection/Getty Images)

With the regular season ending on Sunday and the playoffs starting a week from Wednesday, we’re now just days away from that special time of year when the pressure ramps up, every decision becomes crucial, and the very best of the best find a way to defy the odds and come through when they’re needed most.

I’m referring, of course, to the media handing in our awards ballots.

This year is a particularly tricky one for members of the PHWA, the writers’ association that votes on most of the awards. You’ve got the ongoing Drew Doughty vs. Erik Karlsson debate over the Norris Trophy, one that’s been waging for weeks and by this point would probably need to be settled by pistols at dawn if sportswriters ever woke up that early. There’s an especially deep field of rookies for the Calder. And even the Hart, which once looked like a lock for Patrick Kane, is facing a late charge by Sidney Crosby that could earn him some last-minute ballots.

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NHL All-Star Game MVP John Scott recalled by Canadiens

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
TORONTO, ON - MARCH 26: John Scott #33 of the St. John's IceCaps turns up ice against the Toronto Marlies during game action on March 26, 2016 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images)

John Scott is on his way to Montreal is slated to finish the season in the NHL with the Canadiens.

The Canadiens recalled the NHL All-Star Game MVP from the AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday afternoon, sending center Michael McCarron down in a corresponding move. TSN’s Frank Seravalli is reporting that Scott is expect to remain with the Canadiens, whose season consists of three more games – the last being Saturday when they host Tampa Bay.

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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