John Scott envisioned himself being in the background during the NHL’s all-star game festivities in Nashville.
The top vote-getter, now in the minors, allegedly shamed to skip the event altogether, thought he was just going to enjoy the all-star game “from behind the scenes”.
Instead, Scott scored twice, helped Team Pacific win the $1 million prize and was named the MVP.
“I never in a million years would’ve believed I was in an all-star game, have the fans get behind me like that and to score two goals in a game is… you can’t put it into words,” Scott told reporters postgame. “You can’t write this stuff. It’s unbelievable how it happened.”
Scott tied the game 1-1, on his first shift in the first period, re-directing a shot from Brent Burns past Pekka Rinne.
The 33-year-old has five career goals to his name with his last one coming in April of last season.
“I wanted to ride my stick through center ice a la Tiger Williams, but Burnsie got in my way so I kind of had to veer to the side and do a Subban real quick,” Scott said of his pre-planned goal celebration. “I just kind of went with it. I didn’t expect to score, especially in the first shift. It was crazy. Once again, you can’t make this stuff up. It’s nuts.”
Then in the second period, with Team Pacific leading Team Central 4-3, Burns sprung his former San Jose Sharks teammate on a breakaway and Scott beat Devan Dubnyk glove side.
“I knew [Matt] Duchene was behind me, so I knew he was coming for me," said Scott. "I tried to shield it, and kind of protect it a little bit. Then I saw Dubnyk kind of came out so I picked the corner and went for it and luckily it went in."
Signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Wild during the 2006-07 season, Scott is better known for his ability to drop the gloves. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound forward has 35 career regular season fights to his name over parts of eight seasons in the NHL, according to hockeyfights.com.
On Sunday, Scott gave the fans a little taste of what he’s used to doing on the ice.
Following Patrick Kane’s late first period goal, the two former Blackhawks teammates dropped the gloves.
“I didn’t mean to hit him, he kind of cut into me, and I knew I was going to hit him, so I finished it off – I definitely hit him,” Scott said. “He came right after me after he scored – he was like ‘lets go’ so we fought. We’ve wrestled around in the past. I just kind of ducked a little bit. It was fun.”
As with his appearance in Nashville, Scott wasn’t supposed to take home a vehicle as the game’s MVP. He didn’t appear as one of the players fans at Bridgestone Arena could chose from to be named MVP, but as with his inclusion in the game, fans wrote-in Scott as their selection.
“I was sitting next to Johnny [Gaudreau] on the bench and Taylor [Hall] was right next to me and I was just like ‘you guys better give me that van if you win cause I need it, I’m going to have four kids soon’,” said Scott, whose wife is expected to give berth to twins this week. “But the fans have just been unbelievable.
“I didn’t realize I had that many fans and that much support, it just kind of gives you goose bumps when you think about it – all the stuff that they’ve gone and done, they got me in this game, they kept me in the game and now they’ve got me a van and stuff. It’s crazy.”
Following the game Scott was also asked about his Players’ Tribune article in which he said someone from the NHL offices called him and asked him, “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?” with regards to his participation in Nashville.
“I just kind of got sick and tired of reading articles that just portrayed me as this slow-footed goon, who can’t play and is here as a joke,” said Scott, who said his agent approached him about writing the piece. “I was just kind of fed up with it, I just wanted to get my story out in my own words and just kind of put everything else to rest. I think that’s what happened. I’m glad I did it. It worked out perfect for me.”
As for what’s next, Scott and his wife expect to give berth to twins this week while the AHL is currently on their all-star break. Then Scott plans to return to the St. John’s IceCaps and “get back to normal”.
Scott will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Given the way the game is trending, his playing future is uncertain, but Scott, who has an Engineering degree from Michigan Tech, isn’t above joining the work force.
“I don’t know if this changes anything as far as my career goes, hopefully it does,” he said. “I think I can still play and keep up and do my job, but if it doesn’t, then I’d like to think I’ve opened a few doors elsewhere in hockey.
“Hopefully I can stick around and do something in hockey, if not, I can always go to work, 9-5.”