NASHVILLE -- The smile that flashed across John Scott's face again and again throughout the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game was the perfect symbol of his adventure at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.
"I just see him as this little kid," Scott's wife, Danielle, told NHL.com afterward.
Danielle, standing outside the home dressing room at the arena, had just finished sharing a tender moment with her husband before he was whisked away to handle the duties that accompanied the surprising most valuable player award he earned after his Pacific Division team won the championship with a 1-0 victory against the Atlantic Division in the final.
Scott scored twice in the first game, a 9-6 victory against the Central Division. He also had the game's only hit, flattening Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. The two playfully fought a few minutes later, after Kane scored, but neither was penalized.
Danielle tried to explain what it all meant. What it meant to hear the sold-out crowd chant her husband's name in a let-the-people-be-heard campaign for the MVP award throughout the final game, what it meant for him to skate to center ice and accept the $1 million check for the winning team, what it meant for him to win the 2016 Honda Pilot awarded to the MVP and what it meant to see his All-Star teammates, beaming with pride, swoop in to raise him up on their shoulders as he did an on-ice interview with NBCSN.
Video: PAC@CEN: Scott leads Pacific to win, goofs with Kane
But the words were not coming easy.
"I'm so pregnant, I can't even talk," said Danielle, who is due to deliver twins sometime this week.
But it was abundantly clear that she was happy the rest of the hockey world got a glimpse of the player, and the man, she knows; one who is far different than the stereotypes that often dominated the dialogue around his All-Star Game candidacy. Everyone got to see how he handled a sometimes tumultuous run-up to the All-Star Game with the grace and humor that Danielle knows all too well.
"It's just like, 'Am I dreaming?' It just seemed too good to be true," she said. "I'm just so happy for him; unbelievable."
Others who know him weren't surprised on how it all turned out.
Joe Pavelski, who played with Scott with the San Jose Sharks in 2014-15, said the love affair between the fans and Scott, beginning with the campaign that got him elected Pacific Division captain and ending with chants of "MVP, MVP, MVP!" in Nashville on Sunday, should have been expected.
"I think they saw his character and the fun guy he is," Pavelski said.
Even those who did not know Scott well before the drama of Sunday started playing out were swept up by the storyline.
Florida Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr was the feel-good story heading into the tournament, the grizzled veteran captain of the Atlantic Division team. If he would have won, it would have been another signature moment for one of the game's most legendary players. But it was not to be on this night.
Jagr, though, was fine with the disappointment; another person won over by the joy Scott brings to whatever hockey rink he is calling home on a given day.
"You hate to lose, but if I ever wanted to lose, ever, I'm glad I lost today," Jagr said. "Everybody thought it was going to be a bad thing for hockey and it's turned out to probably be one of the best stories in hockey. And you know what? He truly deserves it. That's the funny thing; he deserves it."
If there were any doubts about Scott as a player able to hold his own with the game's best - and there were in some corners - they were put to rest early.
Video: John Scott addresses media after All-Star game
Scott, who has five goals in a journeyman career that has seen him accumulate 285 games over nine seasons with six NHL teams, scored on the first shift of the game, tipping in a shot by defenseman Brett Burns. Then, later in the game, he scored on a breakaway, rifling a beautiful shot over the shoulder of Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk.
"The boys were pretty pumped there," said Burns, the leader of the Scott fan club throughout the weekend. "He's a great player. It was great for him to show everybody how good a player he is."
Afterward, Scott tried to put it all into focus, but he was struggling a bit too.
In the past month, he was elected captain of the Pacific Division All-Stars by a fan groundswell, waived by the Arizona Coyotes and sent to the American Hockey League, and then recalled and traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who sent him to their AHL affiliate in St. John's, Newfoundland.
Then, he came to the NHL All-Star Game and effectively stole the show, and the MVP trophy.
"You can't put into words, you can't write this stuff," Scott said, flashing the little-kid smile yet again before stepping from the podium to go find his wife and two daughters. "It was a whirlwind and it went by so fast, but I loved it. It was probably the coolest thing I have done in hockey, for sure."