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)
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.