Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

MVP John Scott leads team to NHL All-Star Game win

NASHVILLE — Fans sent enforcer John Scott to the NHL All-Star Game by voting him captain of the Pacific Division team.

Then they made him the game MVP.

Scott scored twice during the league's new 3-on-3 all-star tournament, bringing cheers from fans and smiles from teammates, and was voted MVP by fans as a write-in candidate after captaining the Pacific to a 1-0 win over the Atlantic in the championship game Sunday night.

The career journeyman was not listed among the three MVP candidates for a Twitter vote late in the final game, but fans took it upon themselves to select him once again, casting their vote for the 6-foot-8 forward with five goals in 285 career games.

"It's just another one on the list of stuff that I cannot believe is happening," Scott said of being picked as MVP. "You can't write this stuff. It's unbelievable."

Fans at Bridgestone Arena booed the MVP options given by the league's hockey operations department — Pacific forward Taylor Hall of the Oilers, Atlantic goalie Roberto Luongo of the Panthers and Pacific forward Johnny Gaudreau of the Flames — and yelled for Scott. Teammates lifted him on their shoulders after the game while fans chanted "MVP!" And then Scott was announced as the winner and presented with a Honda Pilot Touring SUV, which will come in handy because he and his wife, Danielle, have two young girls and are expecting twins soon.

Scott then posed with his teammates behind a big $1 million check, representing their championship winnings.

"He deserved it," said the Lightning's Steven Stamkos, whose Atlantic team lost in the final. "I think deep down everyone wanted to see him do well, and he did."

The NHL changed the game's format this season, inspired by the new 3-on-3 overtime. The game became a tournament pitting the four divisions against each other in three 20-minute games, two semifinals and a final.

Lightning goalie Ben Bishop was the loser in the final, allowing Corey Perry's goal with 6:22 to go. Bishop had an assist in the Atlantic's 4-3 semifinal win over the Metropolitan. Stamkos didn't have a point in two games.

Scott scored twice in a 9-6 semifinal win over the Central. "I jumped up when he scored his second goal, holding my two kids," Danielle Scott said. "And I'm like, 'Oh my God. I better stop and relax. We'd like to have the babies at home.' "

A fan voting campaign made Scott captain of the Pacific before the Coyotes traded him Jan. 15 to the Canadiens, who assigned him to their AHL team in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Before the All-Star Game, Scott and media reports said the NHL had tried to talk him out of playing. Scott said someone with the league called him and said, "Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?" Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that he met with Scott and told the forward he was welcome to play. Bettman eluded questions about whether the league asked Scott to back out.

After the game, Bettman presented that $1 million check to Scott at center ice. Scott said Bettman told him he was proud of him.

     
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