Mike Halford

John Scott said ‘you can’t write this stuff,’ but John Scott kinda did


NASHVILLE — Coming into the 2016 NHL All-Star Game, there was one central theme at play:

Nobody knew how this was going to play out.

Nobody knew how the league’s new initiative, a 3-on-3 mini-tournament, would go.

Nobody knew how a weekend without superstars like Alex Ovechkin and Jonathan Toews in attendance would go.

And nobody — nobody — knew how this John Scott thing would go.

Including the man himself.

“I never, in a million years, believed I would’ve been in an All-Star Game,” Scott said, after capturing the most improbable MVP award in the event’s history. “To have the fans get behind me like that, to score two goals in a game, you can’t put it into words.

“You can’t write this stuff. It’s unbelievable how it happened.”

Unbelievable, yes. The lead-up certainly was.

First, Scott had to endure an online ballot-stuffing initiative from fans that seemed interested in both laughing with him… and at him.

Once voted in, there were cries to get him out. He’d ruin the integrity of the contest. Five goals in 285 career games? Players of his ilk didn’t belong.

They called him a goon — and, as we learned this week, there’s hardly a term more derogatory in his lexicon — and said he’d be embarrassed. Worse, his kids might be.

Then he was sent packing from Arizona to Montreal in a trade that reeked like Limburger.

“Enforcers don’t get traded midseason when their team is winning,” Scott said in his explosive Players’ Tribune piece. “If you know the league, you know that it just doesn’t happen.”

But then, the tide turned. The NHL said he was welcome to participate in Nashville, even though he was plying his trade in the American League.

And not long after Scott literally wrote his own story in the Tribune, he took control of how others penned the narrative.

Friday’s media availability at Bridgestone was a masterclass in public relations, in that it wasn’t a masterclass at all. None of it felt calculated, or planned — Scott was genuine, earnest, honest and funny, and it was all on display, in front of a massive media contingent that got to hear all the complexities stashed in his 6-foot-8, 270-pound frame.

He said he hated that people saw him as “an animal,” instead of “a family guy that’s worked his way up.”

He said he’d stay up nights worrying about his next fight.

He acknowledged the enforcer role he’s filled for the last eight years is going the way of the dodo. Yet he remained steadfast in his support of the tough guy, the grinder, the guy that’s willing to stick up for his teammates.

After winning the MVP, he re-iterated as much.

“You just work with what you have,” he explained. “I was given a few tools — my size, my strength, and I’ve worked on those. I worked my tail off throughout my career. I’ve been cut many times, sent down, this and that.

“If you’re a grinder or a fighter or a checker, go with it. Things will work out.”

Things certainly worked out this weekend.

One of the points Scott re-iterated throughout this event was that, y’know, he could actually play hockey — and on Sunday, it certainly looked that way, bagging a pair of goals while taking regular shifts against the best players on the planet.

And with that, the narrative around John Scott shifted once again.

He’s now forever immortalized among the elite, joining a list of All-Star MVPs that includes the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr and Mario Lemieux. His helmet is off to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Endorsement deals are starting to come in.

For a guy that claimed you can’t write stuff like this, John Scott sure did a good job of telling his own story.

Scott named MVP as Pacific edges Atlantic 1-0 in ASG finale


NASHVILLE — Remember how everyone thought a 3-on-3 All-Star Game would result in ridiculous goal totals, and shellshocked netminders curled into the fetal position?

Things didn’t go exactly to plan.

In a tightly-contested finale, the Pacific Division captured the first-ever NHL All-Star 3-on-3 tournament with a narrow 1-0 win over the Atlantic — a game in which defense and goaltending both outshone the offense.

Corey Perry‘s marker early in the second period proved the eventual game-winner, on assists from Daniel Sedin and Brent Burns.

And that was it for the offense.

The first period was a legitimate goalie duel, with Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Quick matching each other save-for-save. Luongo finished with 12 saves on 12 shots — Quick 10 on 10 — but it was Luongo that stole the show with an acrobatic, sprawling denial of Drew Doughty.

The second period didn’t have as many shots — both teams seemed to take a more vested interest in defensive positioning and limiting chances on goal — but still featured some strong netminding, especially from Anaheim’s John Gibson, who stopped all seven shots faced.

With just over a minute to go, the Atlantic pulled its goalie for an extra attacker, but to no avail. All that was left was for the Pacific to collect their $1M winners’ check, and for the All-Star MVP to be named.

Fittingly, it went to the guy that really won the entire weekend:

John Scott.

More: Heeeere’s Johnny! Scott puts on a show, scores twice as Pacific upsets Central


There was an All-Star Game rarity with just under three minutes left — Perry looked to have scored his second goal of the contest, only to have it reversed on review when officials judged that Taylor Hall interfered with Ben Bishop… San Jose captain Joe Pavelski led all skaters with five shots on goal.


Heeeere’s Johnny! Scott puts on show, scores twice as Pacific upsets Central


NASHVILLE — This is a Johnny Cash city, to be sure.

But on Sunday, for a few hours anyway, it was about Johnny Scott.

In a performance that set social media ablaze, Scott — originally voted into this All-Star weekend as a gag — scored a pair of goals, flattened Patrick Kane, “fought” Kane and completely endeared himself to the Bridgestone faithful, helping his Pacific Division teammates to a 9-6 win over the Central.

Scott scored the first of his goals 47 seconds into the game, then potted his second at 3:27 of the second period. That represents nearly half of his career goal total — five — which took him 285 regular season contests accumulating.

Clearly, the guy should be playing more 3-on-3.

Scott was the star of the show in the second of two semifinal matchups on Sunday, but he wasn’t the only star. Ducks goalie John Gibson came up with two highlight-reel plays — one on a stretch pass to set up Daniel Sedin for a goal, the second on a terrific splits-save on Tyler Seguin — while Taylor Hall and Brent Burns each finished with three points.

Fans in attendance appreciated Scott’s theatrics, even if it was at the expense of their Predators.

Nashville had four players on the Central Division roster — James Neal, Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Pekka Rinne — and the crowd was clearly pulling for them to advance to the final.

While it wasn’t to be, fans had to be pleased at how the Preds quartet did, especially Neal (who finished with two goals) and Weber (who finished with a pair of assists).

Overall, the Pacific’s victory had to be considered an upset. Many saw the Central’s roster as the strongest among the four teams, and there was some thought the strong Nashville influence would result in some extra “juice.”

But it wasn’t to be. Not on Sunday, when the John Scott show was in full effect.

It took John Scott all of 47 seconds to score at the All-Star Game (Video)


NASHVILLE — The only guy possibly having a better All-Star weekend than Dylan Larkin?

John Scott.

Scott, who over the last 72 hours has become a media darling, furthered his improbable story on Sunday, scoring the Pacific Division’s opening goal in the second 3-on-3 tournament contest at the NHL All-Star Game.

Scott’s goal, assisted by former Sharks teammate Brent Burns, came just 47 seconds into the opening frame of the Pacific-Central matchup. It also snuffed out James Neal‘s opening tally, in which the Preds winger fired past Jonathan Quick thanks to an assist from another Nashville favorite — the captain, Shea Weber.

But for as loud and excited the Bridgestone faithful were for Neal’s goal, Scott’s took things to the next level.

The fans roared with approval as the well-traveled enforcer banged the puck home. Given he only has five career markers in nearly 300 games, the cheers were certainly warranted.

Related: Larkin shines as Atlantic Division moves onto All-Star Game finale

Larkin shines as Atlantic Division moves onto All-Star Game finale


NASHVILLE — Nobody was quite sure how the first-ever 3-on-3 event at the NHL All-Star Game would go.

The answer?

Pretty well. Especially for Dylan Larkin.

Larkin, who was a shining star in Saturday’s Skills Competition by capturing the Fastest Skater and breaking Mike Gartner’s 20-year-old record, notched three assists on Sunday as the Atlantic Division beat the Metropolitan 4-3 to advance to this evening’s ASG Finale.

Larkin, 19, was a big story in the opener.

But he wasn’t the only story.

Kris Letang scored the first goal under the new format — on an assist from Penguins teammate Evgeni Malkin — just 61 seconds into the opening frame. At that point, it looked as though offense would rule the day, as most predicted.

Then the goalies got involved.

Braden Holtby and Roberto Luongo played extremely well in the first period, making several stellar saves to keep opposing snipers at bay. Each finished with eight saves on 10 shots, with Luongo putting forth this highlight-reel glove save on Evgeni Malkin:

The two sides exchanged goals from there on in, with Larkin assisting on three of his team’s final four goals, but it was P.K. Subban‘s tally with just under five minutes remaining that proved the game-winner. Atlantic netminder Ben Bishop carried over from Holtby’s strong effort in the opening frame, finishing with 11 saves on 12 shots for a .917 save percentage.


Aaron Ekblad, Erik Karlsson and Jaromir Jagr also scored for the Atlantic… Malkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov replied for the Metro… Both teams fired 22 shots on goal.