SAN JOSE – One of the bigger stories out of the NHL over the weekend had nothing to do with goals, assists or wins.
On Saturday, the league revealed that former Sharks enforcer and current Coyotes forward John Scott had been selected as the captain for the Pacific Division at the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in Nashville at the end of the month.
Online fan voting was held from Dec. 1 – Jan. 1 to determine the four captains. Also included are Florida’s Jaromir Jagr, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.
The support for Scott was driven by various online NHL blogs, including Yahoo’s popular "Puck Daddy." In 11 games with Arizona, Scott has one assist and 25 penalty minutes. In 38 with the Sharks last season, he posted four points (3g, 1a) and 87 penalty minutes, and was suspended twice.
While Scott was a popular guy in the Sharks dressing room, reaction was mixed to his selection as an All-Star.
“We’re happy for him,” Tommy Wingels said. “Johnny is a well-liked player. I know he has a bad reputation with some people around the league or fan wise, but I think anyone who’s played with Johnny will tell you how great of a guy he is, so it’s fun to see.”
Logan Couture has nothing against Scott, but isn’t so sanguine on the fan voting process. A former All-Star himself in 2012, Couture would like to see players chosen based on their on-ice achievements.
“It is what it is. Johnny, I’m sure he’s happy, I would think. I personally don’t like when they do those things. You want to see players that are having great years play in those games. I don’t like seeing it kind of made into a joke kind of thing. John’s a great guy. We enjoyed having him here. I’m sure he’s doing the same thing there. He’s a well liked person in the locker room.”
Scott’s selection will surely add some intrigue, and well as a comedic element, to the weekend’s festivities. That’s not a bad thing, as the NHL All-Star game has tended to be somewhat lame in recent years. It’s why the NHL decided to change to format from a regular game to a three-on-three tournament between the four divisions.
At the same time, Scott’s selection means one fewer spot for a more deserving Pacific Division player. Last year, Joe Pavelski expressed disappointment when he didn’t make the All-Star game despite numbers that said he should probably have been there.
Couture would rather avoid that type of situation.
“Yeah, you want to see the best players in this league, the guys that are having the great years,” he said. “I know there have been online things for years trying to get players in. I don’t know if it makes the player feel uncomfortable or what, but I disagree with it – no offense to Johnny, obviously, He’s well liked. But you want to see the best players play in the All-Star Game.”