One of the main reasons that fans enjoy sports is because of the interactions with their favorite athletes, an added sense of belonging and the ability to vote their favorite players into a league’s all-star game. But there are occasions where an athlete is voted in even though they shouldn’t be just because fans like that player.
John Scott is known for being a brawler in his NHL career, but the left winger is just as shocked as everyone else in the hockey world that he was the leading vote-getter among fans. He seems pretty excited about it though, and he should, but this story is one of the most head-scratching moments in sports all-star history.
Conspiracy theorists have had a field day with the Scott-NHL standoff and a trade from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens is a big reason that the problem appeared to be swept under the rug.
Scott was going to assume the role of captain for the Pacific Division All-Stars. But the trade from a Western Conference team (Coyotes) to the Atlantic Division in the Eastern Conference (Canadiens), and subsequent demotion to the American Hockey League (AHL), made it look like the NHL and, at the very least, the Coyotes, were trying to derail Scott’s all-star bid.
Suddenly the NHL was in scramble mode to protect their interests and keep even more fans from jumping off the league’s supporting cast. The Scott situation was beginning to look like a conspiracy that centered on the hurt feelings of the NHL, while its fans were making a mockery of the voting system for the NHL All-Star Game.
The trap had been set and there was only one way out of it for the NHL.
After reviewing the unique scenario that was occurring right before their eyes, the league voted to keep Scott in the All-Star game. He will remain the captain of the Pacific Division even though he was traded to the Canadiens and demoted to the AHL, and every theory appears to have been debunked by the move.
The NHL has lost its popularity in the past few years due to labor strikes and decreasing viewership, and Scott could have caused a revolt from the remaining fan base if the league didn’t make the correct move.
Fixing or altering the voting experience for fans is likely to draw grumblings from even the least interested fans, and the NHL is stuck at the moment. There isn’t an easy fix to a problem that has become a six-headed monster because of social media and “campaigning,” but the NHL and/or other professional sports leagues need to figure out when and where to draw the line because there are sure to be more issues.
As for Scott, he will gladly lace up the skates and hope for a few minutes in a game that is suited more for scoring than it is for anything else.
“I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family,” said Scott. “While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players,” via NHL.com.
And the NHL will be hoping that he scores a goal or tallies an assist so that his invite was worth a damn. Regardless of the outcome, NHL fans showed that All-Star games might never be the same, which might not be a bad thing.