John Scott is a 6-foot-8, 270 defenseman for the Chicago Blackhawks. He has one goal in 128 NHL contest and over 200 penalty minutes. This year, he’s averaged around eight minutes of ice time per game.
Yet according to two of Chicago’s key figures — head coach Joel Quenneville and captain Jonathan Toews — Scott is a vital component to the Blackhawks’ success.
He’s their policeman.
“There’s been fighting in hockey for a long time,” Toews told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Guys aren’t going to do stupid things like that if they’re going to have to answer the bell.”
“Stupid things like that” is in reference to the hit Pittsburgh’s Deryk Engelland laid on Toews teammate, Marcus Kruger. Kruger suffered a concussion on the play, yet Engelland wasn’t penalized.
And that’s when Scott intervened:
From a game standpoint, Scott’s actions were costly. He racked up 17 PIM (two for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct) and Pittsburgh scored on the ensuing power play.
But Scott’s coach didn’t have a problem with it.
“[Scott] did what he had to do,” Quenneville said. “The guy was willing at the same time, but [Scott] traveled some distance. Sticking up for your teammate is what it’s all about. It was a hit at the end of the night you might look back at as we were short-handed when we could have had a power play.
“But at the same time, Johnny did exactly what you want him to do.”
Toews agreed with his coach, taking the rhetoric a step further.
“Every guy in that locker room stood up for what John did,” he said. “We all approved [of] it. We moved on after that. People want to look at the penalty that we didn’t kill.
“That’s a team penalty that we’ll take any time. He’s standing up for his teammate.”