John Scott ready to have fun in All-Star Game

Friday, 01.29.2016 / 4:11 PM
Shawn Roarke  - Director, Editorial

NASHVILLE -- John Scott didn't want to forget the signature moment of his 2016 Honda All-Star Weekend to date, so he turned the tables on the horde of media gathered around his riser during Media Day at Bridgestone Arena.

After finishing his question-and-answer session, Scott had some commands for the crowd of journalists.

"That it?" he asked after the last question of the 13-minute session. "All right, don't move!"

As the media members laughed, Scott pulled out his cell phone to take a picture of the crowd.

"Everyone smile now," he said, flashing a smile of his own as he clicked the shutter.

The session with the media, which precedes the 2016 Honda NHL Super Skills competition on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, Sportsnet, TVA Sports) and the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game (5 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports) brought to an end all the questions and opinions about the All-Star candidacy of Scott, who the fans voted to be captain of the Pacific Division team while he was still playing for the Arizona Coyotes.

Scott was traded Jan. 15 from Arizona to the Montreal Canadiens and was subsequently demoted to St. John's of the American Hockey League. He had one point in 11 games with Arizona before the trade.

Eventually, the NHL decided Scott would be allowed to fulfill his captain's role and represent the Pacific Division. It was a storyline that has been debated for the better part of the past month.

Now, Scott has put it all in the past, focusing instead on the process of being an All-Star, one of 44 players selected to represent the League in its showcase event.

"It's nice to have that outside news go away and start focusing on having some fun and playing in the All-Star Game," he said.

Scott, a 33-year-old veteran of 285 NHL games, said it has been difficult as the debate has swirled around him. At times, he said, it was hard to read some of the articles about the merits of his candidacy or to listen to reports on the topic on various broadcast outlets.

But since arriving in Nashville, he said he has found nothing but positive experiences.

"It's nice, [the League has] been very welcoming," Scott said. "I sat down with [NHL Commissioner] Gary [Bettman] and we had a quick chat and he was good. He said, 'We are happy to have you here and we are going to have a good time and make the best of it.'

"We had a quick talk because I think he was worried about me not feeling welcome and being uncomfortable with this whole situation. He just said, 'We are happy you are here, we wanted you to be here and just go out and have fun and know our support is behind you.' It was good to hear that from him because there was a time when I wasn't really sure how the League felt and he kind of put those thoughts at rest."

It has helped that fellow All-Stars have been supportive of his presence. Many of the players on Friday said how happy they were to have Scott in the game. That, Scott said, might be the best part of the process to date.

"That means a lot more than anything, to have your peers respect you and want you in this game," he said. "It does mean a lot. I've been on a few teams in this League (six, not counting Montreal), and just to know you have those bonds with those guys; that means more than most."

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