The NHL have announced that John Scott, formerly of the Arizona Coyotes, will be allowed to play as the Pacific Division’s All-Star captain despite being traded away to an Atlantic Division team, the Montreal Canadiens, and then being sent down to the minors.
John Scott – who had played 11 games, scoring one assist for Arizona – was fan voted into the All-Star game, along with fellow divisional captains Patrick Kane, Jaromir Jagr and Alex Ovechkin.
However, Yahoo Sports quotes respected NHL reporter, Bob McKenzie, as saying that Scott was urged to decline the invitation to the All-Star event. McKenzie claimed: "John Scott was asked by both the National Hockey League and the Arizona Coyotes to reconsider his decision to accept a spot on the team that was awarded to him by a fan vote. He refused to do that.”
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Then a three-team trade took place, which was said to be strongly urged by the league – as written by The Hockey News. It saw John Scott move away to Montreal and get put down to their AHL affiliate side – the St. John’s IceCaps.
The NHL relayed Marc Bergevin’s reason for acquiring the 6’8’’ John Scott: “At 33, John Scott is a seasoned veteran with 285 NHL games under his belt. He will bring experience to our group of forwards with the IceCaps in St. John’s.”
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Yahoo Sports further reports McKenzie as dismissing any claims that the Montreal Canadiens actually wanted John Scott: "I can tell you that the Montreal Canadiens had no interest whatsoever in getting John Scott in this trade.”
Following the trade, the NHL claimed that they were “…evaluating how this trade impacts the Pacific Division roster for the 2016 All-Star Game."
The NHL had no other choice
Not only would this sketchy transaction – leading to the big enforcer being ineligible for the All-Star game – contradict all former precedents made by the league in these situations, but it would have also brought on big legal ramifications for the NHL.
Aside from the new divisional team format, playing 3-on-3 in the All-Star game, the big bonus is that the winning team will now split a $1 million jackpot between them.
If John Scott – currently earning $575,000 per year in the NHL, per Sportrac – was to win the tournament with his Pacific Division team, then he’d earn a bonus $90,909.09. This may not be a huge amount to the other big money All-Stars, but to Scott, it would be major.
Had Scott not been allowed to play, because of the trade away, the NHLPA could have filed for grievance and a loss of earning. Not only would he have missed out on his chance to win a share of the jackpot, but he’d have also missed out on some potential sponsorship deals – possibly transpiring from him becoming somewhat of a cult-hero.
The NHL really had very little choice other than to allow John Scott to play in the All-Star tournament. The problem that’s transpired is that Scott now has to play minor league hockey, instead of enforcing for his teammates in the National Hockey League.
Scott will be allowed to play as an All-Star captain, but the 33-year-old veteran has been very hard done by.