John Scott will play in the NHL All-Star Game after all
Even after his trade and demotion to the American Hockey League, John Scott will still be allowed to play in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game and will captain the Pacific Division team.
It's official: The NHL is going to allow John Scott to play in the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, even after all of the events that took place over the past week.
The league announced on Tuesday morning that even though Scott, voted in by fans as the captain of the Pacific Division team, had been traded to the Montreal Canadiens last week and demoted to the American Hockey League, he will still be allowed to play in the game in Nashville later this month. It was initially believed that because Arizona traded him out of the division and his new team sent him to the AHL that he would no longer be eligible to play in the game.
That will not be the case after the NHL reviewed all of the circumstances.
"The resultant change in division, and Scott’s subsequent assignment to the American Hockey League, created a unique circumstance that required review -- the result of which was a determination to maintain the status quo for the All-Star weekend in order to preserve all parties' pre-existing expectations, including Scott’s desire to participate," wrote the NHL in a press release announcing the decision on Tuesday morning.
"I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family,” said Scott in the same statement.
"While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players."
Scott, an enforcer who has only scored five goals in his NHL career and has appeared in just 11 games this season, was the focal point of a fan campaign to get him voted into the game.
After initially urging fans to vote for his more deserving teammates, Scott eventually started to come around on the idea of being voted into the game and handled the whole thing extremely well and seemed to be enjoying the possibility of going to the game in Nashville.
The NHL did not seem to share in that excitement.
The league went out of its way to ignore the fact Scott was at the top of the All-Star vote from the very beginning, and when the four captains for the game were announced, they did not reveal the final vote totals, something they always do.
When Scott, a player who was unclaimed on waivers three times this season, was suddenly included in a trade on Friday, and then immediately sent to the AHL, a level he has not played at since 2009, it was immediately believed that the NHL and the Coyotes were working to eliminate what it perceived to be a problem with the All-Star Game and removed him from participating. It was also reported that the NHL and Coyotes had asked Scott to remove himself from the game (they reportedly offered him and his family a trip to Nashville for the weekend if he bowed out of the game). All of this was heavily criticized and it created a mess that would have never existed had they simply announced that he would still be allowed to play.
No matter what you think of Scott as a player, or his role, or the reason he was voted into the game, the bottom line is he was voted into the game and he should be allowed to participate.
If you're going to allow fans to vote for who plays in the game, you have to be willing to live with the results. And in in the past, when players like Zemgus Girgensons and Mike Komisarek were voted into the game as part of fan ballot-box stuffing, they did. Especially when his presence at the game might be one of the more legitimately interesting aspects of a game that the league keeps trying to fix because nobody is interested in it.
And it's not like the league itself always sends the right players to the game.
If he was not allowed to play, Scott not only would have missed a chance to participate after being voted in, he also could lost a $90,000 payout as the winning team splits a million dollars.
The 2016 game will see the All-Stars split up into four teams (one for each division) as they play in a 3-on-3 tournament made up of 20-minute mini-games.
The NHL will reportedly change the fan voting process for the All-Star Game next season.
Because Scott maintains his spot in the game and is no longer a member of the Coyotes, they will not have a player playing in this year's game.
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