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Canadiens reward Scott's professionalism with call-up

NHL All-Star Game MVP has impressed Montreal with work ethic during time in AHL

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu

BROSSARD, Quebec -- The unlikely journey of forward John Scott this season will include at least one game with the oldest franchise in the NHL.

The Montreal Canadiens recalled Scott from St. John's of the American Hockey League to face the Florida Panthers at Bell Centre on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET; FS-F, RDS, SNE, NHL.TV), adding another chapter to what has been a roller-coaster ride.

"It was a shock [to get called up], but I'm super grateful to be here," Scott said Monday. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play for the Canadiens. It's such a cool franchise. So I'm really excited to be here."

Coach Michel Therrien said the Canadiens wanted to repay Scott for the professionalism he has demonstrated since he was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 15 and immediately assigned to St. John's.

Video: Scott on being called up and playing in Montreal

That's where Scott has been ever since, aside from a trip at the end of January to the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Nashville where he was given Most Valuable Player honors. His story is so compelling a movie about his career is in the works and Scott has been getting regular visitors in St. John's for interviews, the most recent coming Sunday with the New York Times.

Therrien, however, made it clear Scott would play one game with the Canadiens and then would go back to St. John's.

"I think it's more of a one-game thing, kind of do me a favor and experience what it's like to be a Canadien," Scott said. "So it's a one-game thing. Unless I go out and score a hat trick."

Scott came to the Canadiens in January after having already been voted by the fans to represent the Coyotes as captain of the Pacific Division team in the All-Star Game. Scott was traded by the Coyotes with defenseman Victor Bartley to Montreal for defenseman Jarred Tinordi and forward Stefan Fournier. He was sent to St. John's, all this while his wife Danielle was pregnant with twin daughters.

Scott, though still in the minors, played in the All-Star Game and after leaving Nashville, was with Danielle when she gave birth to their twins in Traverse City, Mich., during the AHL All-Star break. Now he's getting a chance to play for the storied Canadiens.

"I'm always one of those guys that the glass is half-full," he said. "So I'll look back at it with a lot of good memories. The All-Star Game, even just getting traded to Montreal and having this opportunity, meeting new people. It'll be a good season for me."

Therrien said how impressed the Canadiens have been with Scott since he reported to St. John's, helping to work with the organization's young players and not once complaining about his situation. 

"First of all he's a great guy to be around," Therrien said. "I didn't know him much. But when I saw what happened at the All-Star Game, that was quite a story. All the players really respect him around the League. The idea is we want to show our respect because he's been a real pro since he joined us and we want to give him an opportunity to play a game with the Montreal Canadiens."

Had the Canadiens been in a playoff race, they would not have been in a position to do something like this. The Canadiens have not really been in the playoff picture for weeks, and the final three games of the season are being used to evaluate many of the organization's young players who are filling in for nine injured regulars. 

That actually has made Scott's transition to the Canadiens dressing room a little bit easier.

"I haven't really met most of the guys," Scott said. "Well, actually half of the team I met in St. John's."

Scott will get a chance to take the ice at Bell Centre with many of his former St. John's teammates Tuesday. It will be the 286th game of his NHL career and seventh team he's played for. But Scott, 33, said he's convinced it won't be his last. He remains confident he will find another job somewhere in the NHL next season, and he is more than happy to play out the end of what has been a memorable, life-changing season in St. John's.

"I've had fun down there. It's been a good experience," he said. "It's good to be back [in the NHL]. But I'll be happy to go down to St. John's too."

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