ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland -- John Scott made his return to the rink Saturday at Mile One Centre, and while he was two weeks removed from his MVP performance at the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game and nearly 2,000 miles from Nashville, he got a hero's welcome in eastern Newfoundland.
In his home debut for the St. John's IceCaps of the American Hockey League, Scott heard chants of "MVP, MVP" during the 3-1 win against the Toronto Marlies. He also heard a crowd that braved a blizzard that shut down most of the city applaud every time he touched the puck or made a hit. The IceCaps also showed highlights from his NHL All-Star Weekend on the video screen.
"It was nerve-racking," said Scott, who wore No. 33. "Obviously I wanted to do well and play well for the fans. It was cool to have the chants and stuff like that to know the fans are behind me. It was nice flying in here and talking to people and they know who I was and even the cabbies and stuff saying, 'Oh we're glad to have you here'. I actually really like it here; it's a good little community. I'm happy to be back."
Unlike the NHL All-Star Game, when he scored twice, Scott was kept off the scoresheet Saturday. The 6-foot-8 forward, playing on the fourth line with two AHL rookies, 5-foot-10 Angelo Miceli and 5-foot-9 Alexandre Ranger, didn't have a shot on goal.
"I was not good, but the good thing about hockey is that not everybody has to be good. We won the game and that's what matters," Scott said. "I haven't even skated in probably a week and a half. It was tough. I wasn't that great tonight; I'll be better tomorrow afternoon. But it felt good to get out there with the guys and cruise around."
Scott may have been down on his performance, but his coach, Sylvain Lefebvre, was happy to have him on his team and to be able to use him on a line with Miceli and Ranger.
"I had to put a little bit of weight on that line," Lefebvre said. "He played good for a guy that hasn't played in a while. He was hard on the forecheck and did a good job in the [defensive] zone on the walls and using his big frame, he threw a few big body checks."
The game marked a return to normalcy for Scott. The January whirlwind that included a trade, playing in the All-Star Game, being named MVP and becoming the father of twin daughters was behind him now as he resumed his hockey career.
"You've got to get back to work sometime. It's good to be back on the Rock," Scott said after the morning skate.
With an aw-shucks demeanor, Scott said he thoroughly enjoyed how the past month worked out, but was eager to lace up his skates again.
"Vacation's over, back to work," he wrote on his Instagram account Friday. "It was a crazy few weeks; two new baby girls and a nice little trip to Nash-vegas. Excited to get back to the boys on the Rock, though."
Scott has one rough moment Saturday when he ran into the boards in the second period. But other than a post-game ice pack on his right shoulder, he said he was fine and just happy to be back on the ice.
IceCaps forward Bud Holloway said Scott is going to be a positive influence for the rest of the season.
"He's a great guy. I mean especially a lot for the rookies, the younger guys on the team. He's been around and he knows when to be light and when to say "let's go boys" and get things going," Holloway said. "We're happy to have him back and obviously happy to see him do so well in the All-Star Game and he's going to be a big part of this team as we push on."
Before the game, Scott spoke like a living, breathing example of what can happen to a hockey player if he continues to work hard.
"There's a lot of guys who just aren't blessed with a lot of skills. I just think that if you work hard and just kind of stick with it, you'll be able to make it if you really apply yourself," he said. "And I wasn't always the most skilled guy, or the most talented, so I just picked something I was good at and went for it and it worked out. Hopefully kids take a nice little lesson from that."
Kids are front-and-center in Scott's mind these days after the birth of twins Estelle and Sofia on Feb. 5, joining older daughters Eva and Gabrielle. Scott had spent the past week on paternity leave with his newly-expanded family at his home in Traverse City, Mich.
"They're doing good," Scott said. "They're holding up the fort without me, but everyone is healthy and the babies look good. My older daughters couldn't be happier."
Neither could the IceCaps.