NASHVILLE — “Crazy.”
That what John Scott muttered upon walking through throngs of lights, cameras and reporters hovering in front of his podium at NHL All-Star Media Day.
Crazy is a pretty fair assessment.
Scott, the well-traveled journeyman known mostly for his 6-foot-8 frame, pugilistic skills and improbable ASG appearance, was the biggest attraction on Friday, holding court in front of a massive media contingent — just days after playing his fourth game with the St. John’s IceCaps.
Of the American Hockey League.
“I’m going back to Newfoundland!” Scott said, when asked how surreal this All-Star experience has been so far. “It’s definitely strange. You look around the locker room and everybody’s got their NHL logo on their helmets and stuff, and they threw the NHL logo on mine.
“It’s definitely always there, the ‘you’re not in the NHL anymore.’ It’s neat, though. I’m not used to it — all this [media scrum]. So I’m going to enjoy it while I’m here, and then go back to the real world.”
Scott then requested the media stick around, so he could take a picture of them.
If there’s one positive takeaway from what’s largely been a debacle, it’s Scott. He’s genuine. He’s honest. He’ll speak his mind, but not in a way that’s self-serving or indulgent.
Which is great, because he’s funny.
A reporter asked Scott about his controversial trade from Arizona to Montreal, which was rumored to be a mechanism in a larger plan to keep him from playing in the All-Star Game. The deal came under scrutiny for a variety of reasons, which included the fact Scott’s wife is well along in her pregnancy — so one scribe asked Scott what, if anything, the Coyotes did to help him out.
“And the end of the day, I’m a grown man and I can handle things myself,” Scott shot back. “I kinda don’t want their help, you know? It’s just like ‘you traded me, so beat it.’
“I don’t want to suck off your teat anymore.”
And with that, we had our first teat-sucking reference of All-Star weekend.
Scott does have a serious side, however. He showed as much in his recent Players’ Tribune piece, in which he thoughtfully broke down the odd dichotomy at play.
He’s at the All-Star Game as sort of a joke — the result of fans stuffing an online ballot box — but really, he ain’t no joke. Jokes don’t last eight years in the NHL, and appear in nearly 300 games. Jokes aren’t embraced by their teammates, which Scott absolutely has been in Nashville.
If there’s one thing worse than calling Scott a joke, it’s calling him a goon.
“It’s really a derogatory term,” he said. “I don’t like it when people call me a goon, and I hate it in articles when someone’s like ‘oh, the goon John Scott.’ I’m not a goon. If you look at my fights, I don’t fight that much every year. I fight like maybe six times a year.
“It’s just one of those things where you get this label, and it sticks.”
Between the Players’ Tribune article and Friday’s media session, the lead-up to All-Star weekend has done plenty in showing Scott in a new, more complex light. And he’ll have an even greater opportunity to keep the narrative going on Saturday, when he’ll participate in the hardest shot contest at the skills competition.
Scott probably would’ve participated in every contest if he could’ve. But this is All-Star weekend, filled with All-Star players — and even though he’s one of them right now, he knows it’s only temporary.
He’s wired differently from them, after all.
“I’m in the hardest shot, and hopefully I can get in something else,” he said. “But they’re always editing this stuff because guys don’t want to do something, or this and that.
“There’s a lot of prima donnas here.”