John Scott is the NHL’s All-Star Game most valuable player. The league polished off its weekend in Nashville and will likely wish to put its bumbling of the entire affair behind it, but they also managed to salvage a little bit of moral meaning in the end.
The story has been well-documented, but it was never more poignant expressed than in Scott’s own words in the Player Tribune. If you haven’t read “A Guy Like Me” yet, you need to remedy that.
In the piece, Scott details how an unnamed representative from the league tried to get him to reconsider his attendance in Nashville: “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”
NHL Commissioner and Smug Dracula impersonator Gary Bettman was asked about the subject at the All-Star weekend press scrum and attempted to clear the air.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about the subject,” Bettman said. “When John Scott won the popular vote, we announced him as the captain. There were a number of discussions with him, either NHL personnel or (Arizona) Coyotes personnel about whether or not he wanted to come.”
To hear the Commissioner tell it, it was an open and shut case once Scott decided he wanted to attend. Scott claims it wasn’t as simple as all that.
Regardless, the dust has settled in Nashville and Scott’s the MVP. He scored two goals in the Pacific Division’s 9-6 victory over the Central Division and held the line when his club polished off the Atlantic Division by a 1-0 final score to win the whole shebang. The $1 million prize will be shared among the players.
Throughout the weekend, Scott showed his class and humanity and the crowd loved it. He received standing ovations and cheers. He grinned like a kid just happy to be there, happy to lace the skates and play the beautiful game. He represented hockey like it should be represented.
After his two goals, he landed in the big interview spot on NBC and met Jeremy Roenick on air. Roenick, the guy who said Scott didn’t belong anywhere near the All-Star Game, turned to chat with the man on the bench and had to admit he was wrong. And Scott, true to form, noted that it wasn’t the first time he’d been wrong. Beautiful.
The NHL had a chance to right some wrongs this weekend and they did so without making the MVP nod seem like some sort of consolation prize. Scott earned it. He was the most valuable player in Nashville. Period.