The NHL gave their fans the power to vote any NHL player into the All-Star Game. The fans voted John Scott into the All-Star Game. John Scott is not an All-Star. John Scott knows he’s not an All-Star. The NHL is not happy about this. The NHL says the game is not meant for him. The NHL does not want John Scott to go. John Scott is going.
I could end this blog post right here and we could all go for pizza because that opening paragraph sums it all up.
However, I’ll continue. I’m not hungry yet.
The NHL made their own bed and now they must lie in it. Or on top of the sheets, whichever they prefer.
Here are some more quick sentences before I delve further.
John Scott has five more NHL goals in his career than I do. John Scott is a fighter. Not in the sense that he gets into useless debates with people on Facebook, but in the sense that he directs his fists at people’s faces. Much more effective.
John Scott has made a career as an enforcer in the NHL. He isn’t the best skater. He won’t deke the goalie out of his jock strap. He won’t be one of the first seventeen names the coach will call if the game goes into a shootout.
He is 6-foot-8 though, so I’m going to stop saying less than flattering things about him.
I won’t even mention how he is the perfect size for the NBA. He’s probably heard it a thousand times.
Now that I think of it, he would probably be really good in the NBA. His last name is a first name. He would join the ranks of: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, and Chris Bosh as superstars who have a first name as their last name.
Trust me, there’s someone somewhere in this world with the first name “Bosh”.
But, that’s not the point.
The way the NHL has handled this situation has been nothing short of embarrassing. To an extent, the media has also fumbled this one. As soon as it was announced that the fans voted John Scott as one of the four All-Star captains, everyone and their talking dog barked up the tree with an opinion.
So much for an All-Star Game that was meant for the fans.
People were saying that he should not go to the All-Star Game. That he should bow out gracefully and not allow himself to be the butt of a joke. That he would be disrespecting the game for attending.
And on, and on, and on.
When did everyone in this world get so serious and politically correct. Knock it off, already.
You can’t tell the fans to “Vote for your favourite players!” and then turn around and say, “Your favourite players aren’t All-Star quality.” You just can’t do that.
Why even involve the fans in the first place? We are stupid, biased, and 50% of the people on the Internet are trolls who have nothing better to do than pull a practical joke on a professional sports league. The other 50% are wasting time at work.
Fans will not play by the rules. You can lead us to water, but you can’t make us drink. We’re stubborn. We’re delusional. We like chaos.
Don’t give us power. We aren’t reliable.
Do I have to spell this out any clearer?
The NHL turned the All-Star game into a popularity contest the second they allowed the fans to vote players in.
Oh, but Paul, it’s not entirely a popularity contest! The fans only selected four All-Stars.
You’re right, the league selects the rest. They try to turn it into an achievement that can only be attained by being one of the best players in the league.
Except that’s not true, either, because each team must send at least one representative.
What bothers me is when people go over a player’s career accomplishments and they list how many All-Star appearances they have. I feel like that number is tainted, sometimes.
Were they really a legitimate All-Star every time they went to the game? Or were they just there because each team needed to send someone? Or were they voted in by the fans when they didn’t deserve it?
You see that more in the NBA. Kobe Bryant isn’t playing at an All-Star level this year, but his name is Kobe Bryant. And it’s his final season. And his name is Kobe Bryant. And it’s his final season. Did I say his name was Kobe Bryant?
So, automatically, the fans voted him in to the All-Star Game and he can add it to his list of “accomplishments.”
And the people who say he deserves to be there because of the career he has had, further prove my point that All-Star appearances are sometimes tainted.
Sorry, I thought the All-Star team for the 2015-2016 season was supposed to be a collection of the best players in the league during that season. I didn’t know it was a lifetime achievement award.
Wait, let me correct that last paragraph. The All-Star team is actually a collection of the best players in the league from the first half of the season. It’s like that in the NHL and MLB, too.
For the record, I want to see Kobe Bryant at the All-Star Game this year, even though he’s not playing like an All-Star this year. Call me a hypocrite. All-Star Games are hypocrites, too.
The second half of the season doesn’t matter. As long as you have a good first half of the season, the All-Star game can be yours…if the price is right.
I don’t even want to dip my toes into the MLB All-Star Game. If you don’t know, that game actually means something. The team that wins the game gets home field advantage for their league in the World Series.
Because one year, the All-Star Game ended in a tie because neither team could score in extra innings and both teams ran out of players. So, they called a tie and Bud Selig felt really embarrassed.
To fix the problem, he made the game worth something. Ugh.
There are so many boardrooms that I wish I could have been in when decisions were made.
Were there no better options? They could make up anything they want. The. Game. Does. Not. Mean. Anything.
But no, they made it mean something.
I’m not even going to get into the NFL and the Pro Bowl. No one should. Ever.
Back to hockey.
John Scott is not someone the NHL wants to showcase during the one weekend where every hockey market is focussed on one game. He is everything the NHL is trying to get away from.
The fourth liner who plays six minutes, throws a few hits, and gets into a fight that could potentially create a scary scene of a player hitting the ice and not knowing what planet they’re on.
The NHL tried to talk him out of it.
Oh, and his team (Arizona Coyotes) even traded him to the Montreal Canadiens (who sent him to the minors), in an attempt to please the league and give them an excuse to kick him out of the All-Star game.
Sorry, that last line wasn’t politically correct.
The NHL basically turned this into professional wrestling, circa 1997, and tried to re-enact the Montreal Screw Job. I’m praying at least one of you knows what I mean by this.
They even asked him, “Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?”
Seriously. They asked him that.
Now for my take. Not that it matters.
From the start, I thought John Scott should go to the game. People always want to look at stats and get on their high horse and say “what’s best for the league”.
Give me a break.
The fans voted him in. The league let the fans vote him in. Let him go. What’s there to debate?
If I were him, and I bowed out of the game, I would be kicking myself for the rest of my life. Let him have this moment. He has two young daughters and twins on the way. Have a heart, and give him these memories to share for the next fifty years.
That’s what it comes down to. Having a heart. Forget about the money. That’s the only reason why an All-Star Game exists in the first place. That’s why every team has a representative. So people in each market can buy a jersey of a player on their hometown team.
Think about it.
Fan voting is there to bring people to their website, to see their advertisements, to enter their promotions, to register page views.
Think about it.
It’s just a game. It doesn’t mean anything. The fans don’t even really care that much about All-Star Games. They get boring after twenty minutes. Why? Because the players don’t try. No one wants to get injured.
This is not going to be the most exciting hockey game of the year, but it will be marketed that way.
Outside of the hometown players, I would think it’s a safe bet that John Scott gets the loudest ovation in Nashville this weekend when he is introduced in the dark and skates out onto the ice with a spotlight following him.
Let John Scott have his spotlight. It’s just a game.