Unlike its baseball counterpart, the NHL All-Star Game is an exhibition event that carries no implications for the standings, playoffs or any other part of the actual season. It won't decide home ice for the finals, no team gets any extra points, and there's no real reward for player performance (although the winning team's players do get a sizable cash prize). The primary purpose is fan engagement and creating a unique opportunity for the players on a fun and pressure-free stage. That list of players also includes John Scott.
If you follow any sort of hockey news, you've probably heard something by now regarding the John Scott All-Star debacle. A quick recap for those who missed it: Scott and his 11 career points get voted in by fans. The league and team ask him to decline the invitation, but Scott says he wants to play. The Coyotes promptly trade Scott to Montreal who subsequently assign him to the AHL, thus making him ineligible to participate in All-Star events. The move caused an uproar from fans, after what started as a joke with Scott as the punchline turned into a question of the league's integrity and treatment of its players.
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— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) January 15, 2016
After some "investigation" in what appears to be a last-ditch attempt to save face, the NHL ultimately decided to let Scott partake in the All-Star festivities as the Pacific division captain. Now I don't think anyone, Scott himself included, is going to argue that he has much business being called an all star. We can acknowledge the elephant in the room in that fans voted for him mainly because they thought it'd be funny to watch a player with his lack of finesse attempt to compete in a 3-on-3 contest with the likes of Patrice Bergeron, Jonathan Toews and Alex Ovechkin.
Let's not forget though that this event is an exhibition. It has no real implications. It's purely for fan entertainment. It. Does. Not. Matter. If fans want to see John Scott chug along with (or behind) his teammates in a 3-on-3 game and if he wants to seize the opportunity of chugging through said game, why not let him? For what Scott lacks in hockey skill or accolades he makes up for with his character. Rather than viewing the All-Star Game as a chore or some added risk for injury, Scott instead is genuinely excited about seizing this opportunity that he never dreamed of having. Guys like John Scott who may not be the best or the most graceful but who love playing hockey and entertaining the fans are exactly who should be playing in an exhibition contest like this. Am I putting my money on him in a shootout or a game 7? Probably not. But would he be a blast to watch play in a game that's essentially just for fun in the first place? I sure think so.
So rather than boycotting All-Star weekend or continuing to rant about the league's shady treatment of one of its players (which if we’re being honest, I did for a good day and a half) I'm going to tune in on January 30th and 31st and cheer on everyone's new favorite blue collar hockey hero. We stand with you, John Scott. Good luck in Nashville.