NASHVILLE – If anybody enjoyed their time in Music City over the last few days, it was John Scott.
On Sunday night, Scott capped off his NHL All-Star Weekend in style by playing a starring role in Team Pacific coming out on top in the inaugural 3-on-3 tournament at Bridgestone Arena. He scored two goals in the squad’s preliminary-round victory over Team Central, then helped keep Team Atlantic off the scoresheet in a 1-0 win in the finale.
The icing on the cake for the 33-year-old Edmonton native, though, was ultimately earning NHL All-Star Game MVP honours by way of a fan vote. That meant the world to Scott – an eight-year NHL veteran – who is currently a member of the AHL’s Saint John’s IceCaps.
“It’s definitely been one of the better weekends of my life. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t know how the other players would react to me being here, but everybody’s been really supportive.” said Scott, who was voted into the event by fans, too, earning the right to sport the “C” for Darry Sutter’s contingent. “It’s just another one of those things on the list that I couldn’t believe was happening. In a million years, I never would have believed that I’d be in an All-Star Game and the fans would get behind me like that. To score two goals in the game is just something you can’t put into words. You can’t write this stuff. It’s unbelievable.”
Scott made his mark early in the opening round by scoring on his first shift just 47 seconds into the first period. The celebration that ensued drew cheers from all around the rink.
“I wanted to ride my stick to center ice à la Tiger Williams, but Burnsie [San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns] got in my way so I had to veer to the side and do a Subban real quick,” explained Scott, who boasts 285 games of NHL experience on his resume since debuting back in 2008-09. “I just kind of went with it. I didn’t expect to score, especially on the first shift. It was crazy. You can’t make this stuff up.”
No, you definitely can’t, especially if you’re a journeyman like Scott who has plied his trade with six different NHL teams over the years while trying to lock down a full-time spot in the lineup.
“I don’t know if this changes anything as far as my career goes. Hopefully, it does. I think I can still play. I love it,” said Scott, who has donned the colours of the Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres, and the Arizona Coyotes. “If it doesn’t, I like to think I’ve opened up some doors elsewhere in hockey, so hopefully I can stick around and do something there.”
Whatever the future has in store for Scott, Sunday's festivities will always be close to his heart. Much had been made of his All-Star selection when it was made public weeks ago, but all of that was gone and forgotten from the moment he set foot in Tennessee. Scott wouldn’t have it any other way.
“The fans have been unbelievable. I didn’t realize I had that many fans and that kind of support. It just kind of gives you goosebumps,” shared Scott, whose wife, Danielle, is currently expecting twins. “You never know what to expect. I thought I’d just lean back and enjoy it behind the scenes, but it just didn’t turn out that way. It kind of went by so fast. I loved it. It was the coolest thing I’ve done in hockey, for sure.”
There’s no denying P.K. Subban is a big fan of Scott, even if Team Pacific kept him from claiming the tournament’s top prize in the end.
“It’s great [to see]. He’s a beauty. We’re all happy for him. Obviously, we would have liked to spoil the thing, but we’re happy for him,” said Subban, who also lit the lamp in the opening round, scoring the game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory over Team Metropolitan. “He’s been having fun since he’s been here. He’s really enjoyed it, and I’m happy for him and his family. He deserves it. He played really well and he got his team going.”
Matt Cudzinowski is a writer for canadiens.com.
Words From The Room - Jan. 31
Lifting John Scott up
A special hug
NHL All-Star Game Highlights