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Brawling for Glory: John Scott Revisited

John Scott won hockey fights and our hearts.

John Scott by David Kindler is licensed under CC 2.0

Brawling for Glory: John Scott Revisited

Estimated Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Former goon and NHL darling John Scott has made a leap back into the headlines this week!

Scott rose to prominence in his hockey career for his “aggressive” style of play and bad boy attitude. He was a 6’8″, 200+ lb left wing. He played on seven different teams in eight seasons. In short, he was a straight up liability but also a sort of valued enforcer. Scott played 286 games in his time in the pros. He spent 544 minutes in the penalty box. He only scored 11 points total. TOTAL.

Let’s break that down for a second:

In his second NHL season, Scott played in the AHL also. He returned to his minor league team, the Houston Aeros, while also coming up to play a few games for the Minnesota Wild. He played 44 games in the minors that year, totaling 4 points and 111 PIM. In his two seasons with the Minnesota Wild, he played 71 games with 3 points and…111 PIM. My point is the man was an absolute goon with a storied career of big fights and not much else. Whole YouTube videos are devoted just to him fighting. He had multiple suspensions for a variety of infractions. You get the idea. He was an elite force and everyone couldn’t wait to see what he was going to do next. Everyone loved to hate him.

Then the 2015-2016 season and the All-Star vote happened.

John Scott had made his way to the Arizona Coyotes by that point and in what would be come his last NHL season. Since the Internet became widespread, the NHL All Star game has had a fan vote player format of some kind for the game. The fans vote for someone and an obscure, lesser known but formative player gets to participate. Example: this year it is called the “Last Men In” and those players are widely lauded. They are Kris Letang, Jeff Skinner, Leon Draisaitl and Gabriel Landeskog. Look them up: every single one is an All-Star.

Now, Scott had only dressed 11 times for the Coyotes that fateful season. He had 25 PIM and 1 assist. He was inactive at the time of voting, a healthy scratch more often than not. The story goes that a hockey podcast, Marek vs. Wyshynski, featuring hockey writers Jeff Marek and Greg Wyshynski, started the idea. Marek joked that it would be fun to have Scott in the All-Star game with the 3-on-3 format the league intended to use that season.

It’s 2019, the podcast episode is lost to the times to an extent.

What I can tell you is that the internet took over. Reddit, Twitter, and online forums took over with fans calling for Scott to be voted in. When voting closed on January 2nd, the number one vote-getter was John Scott. Even better, that meant John Scott became the captain of his team.

The team owners and NHL loudly protested his candidacy. They pressured him throughout the voting to not accept a place on the All-Star team. Ultimately, Scott played and scored two goals, leading the Pacific Division team to win the entire tournament. NHL teams voted Scott MVP, sending him home with a cash prize of $91,000 and a new car.

Most importantly, up until that point, the All-Star game appeared to be a joke. Honestly, it was not fun to watch, no one tried and the game went at half speed.

Why bring all this up? Well TWO reasons!

First, you can catch a new podcast episode from Radiolab all about Scott and the drama surrounding his All-Star turn. Twitter and Reddit are full of fans shouting compliments of the episode and it is well worth a listen. Check it out here for a great time listening to the whole story in total!

The second reason is darker:

Our dear John Scott almost lost his life earlier this week! While clearing snow off the ice of a lake in Traverse City, Michigan, Scott fell through the ice. After some struggle and fighting against the odds, Scott pulled himself up out of the freezing water and saved his own life. So on a scary but happy note:

Welcome back to the headlines, John Scott! We’re glad you’re alive AND that you were such a goon. Here’s to celebrating your unique legacy!

Sarah Jane, Sarah, or SJ-depending on the source-is a director, educator, theatre artist and now, sports blogger. She lives in Queens with her darling, not-so-sports-fan boyfriend. She played ice hockey growing up for the NJ Quarry Cats and various other teams. Being team captain her last two seasons is the most important achievement of her life to date. She proudly also was about a quarter of the size of her opponents and often led her team in both penalty minutes and enthusiasm. She's a Pittsburgh Penguins and Steelers fan (thanks, Momma!) and a New York Yankees fan (thanks, Poppa?) and was given zero choice on all three of these teams. Other hobbies include reading non-fiction books, cooking, and being spunky. Check in with her for all your greater hockey needs!

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