The NHL announced some new All-Star voting guidelines today, with the clear intention of discouraging another John Scott situation at the 2017 game in Los Angeles on Jan. 29.
Here are the guidelines:
— The 2017 NHL All-Star Fan Vote will allow fans to vote for one All-Star player from each Division, without regard to position. The top vote-getter from each Division will be named an NHL All-Star, as well as Captain of his respective team.
— Eligible players must be on an NHL Club’s active roster as of Nov. 1. Any player not on the active roster on that date due to injury or special circumstances can be added to the ballot if / when he returns to the NHL Club’s active roster.
— If a player is assigned / loaned to the American Hockey League (AHL) or any other minor league team between Nov. 1 and 5 p.m. on Jan. 26, the player is not eligible in All-Star balloting. However, if the minor league assignment / loan is due to conditioning reasons, the player remains eligible.
— In the event a vote leader is disqualified due to a minor league assignment or loan (or other reason) after close of the NHL All-Star Fan Vote on Jan. 2, the player with the second-most votes in that division will be named captain.
— Fans will be permitted to vote for a player from a list of all players that meet these eligibility guidelines. The list of eligible players will be updated as players are assigned to a minor league team or return from IR.
Last season, Scott played 11 games for the Coyotes before he was assigned to the AHL in January, but that assignment came after he was named an All-Star captain. He was then traded to the Canadiens and assigned to Montreal’s AHL club in St. John’s.
It was a great story — and there was even talk of a movie — but the NHL apparently has no interest in a sequel. (Or, at the very least, the NHL has created a potential escape clause, should one be required.)
Perhaps hockey fans will still rally around some other fourth-liner, someone who’s less at risk of being sent down like Scott was.
But the Scott story can never really be recreated, so while last year was fun, maybe just vote for the best players this time.