It turns out that John Scott will captain the Pacific Division at the 2016 NHL All-Star Game after all. The National Hockey League saved face (kind of) on Tuesday, announcing that they would still honour the wishes of the fans after the enforcer was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday.
Of course, the entire issue has been a bit of a joke from multiple standpoints.
The vote was silly in the first place, with NHL fans starting a campaign to stick the 33-year-old in the front of the line at the All-Star Game. He was, to be honest, a pawn for a bunch of people trying to make a point. Some of them, if you ask traditionalist voices like Don Cherry, were just trying to be jerks. They were trying to be funny and they used Scott as a way to do that.
Whatever their reasoning, it worked out and the coordinated effort drove Scott all the way to the captaincy of the Pacific Division for the All-Star Game and its weekend of fun.
But then the trade happened and the stories began. Some believed that the NHL conspired against Scott and helped grease the wheels for an exchange that would’ve solved their optic problem by shoving the bruiser out to the Eastern Conference and away from the upcoming Nashville showcase. Others believe Arizona had a problem with optics and wanted to trade Scott.
The teams involved insisted that there was nothing untoward about the deal. Few people bought it and the hubbub began anew, despite the fact that the league said they had to “look into” whether or not Scott would still be able to participate in the game. There was never any definitive refusal, although his demotion to the AHL suggested he wouldn’t be eligible for the festivities.
That’s led to Tuesday, where the NHL gave in and said John Scott would be playing and captaining at the All-Star Game after all. Nobody panic.
The NHL obviously knew that something like this could happen. Fan voting has led to such luminaries as Rory Fitzpatrick and Zemgus Girgensons receiving a lot of attention in that ironic way, with fans using those players as a way to show the “system” who’s boss.
And believe me, it makes the whole ordeal look really, really silly. Whether it’s because the fans are “abusing their power” or whether it’s because the traditionalists are getting red-faced or whether it’s because the league has to honour the vote after all, this situation has become a joke in and of itself. And the joke’s on everyone.