There’s plenty of chatter from fans and not a peep from the NHL about whether tough guy John Scott will play in league’s all-star game at the end of the month.
Scott’s eligibility for the game was placed in doubt after he was traded by the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens on Friday and then immediately dumped down to the St. John’s IceCaps of the American Hockey League.
AHL players aren’t eligible for the NHL mid-season showcase, which will be played in Nashville on Jan. 31.
Scott, 33, wouldn’t budge when asked by the league and Coyotes to not skate in the all-star game after fans playfully voted for him to captain the Pacific Division squad, Bob McKenzie of TSN reports.
The 6-foot-8, 270 lb. enforcer was an unlikely all-star in the first place, especially in a season when fans didn’t vote future Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh to the squad.
Some of the support for his all-star bid comes on Twitter under the hashtags #JohnScott4Prez, #ouioui, #JohnScott4NHLASG, #FreeJohnScott, #LetScottPlay, #thefanspickedhim and #lethimplay.
A fan has also built him a parody Twitter account: @RealJohnScott.
One disgruntled Scott fan from the Maritimes tweeted: “LOLing at @NHL for taking the all star game so seriously. #LetScottPlay you bullies! The FANS voted for him. We pay your salary!”
An upset New York fan also tweeted out support for Scott: “@7BOOMERESIASON @cc660 Make the @NHL great again #FreeJohnScott #LetScottPlay get outraged that @RealJohnScott is being hosed @CanadiensMTL”
The other all-star captains are more standard future Hall of Fame material: Florida’s Jaromir Jagr for the Atlantic Division, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin for the Metropolitan Division and Chicago’s Patrick Kane for the Central Division.
For his part, Scott has just five goals and six assists and 542 penalty minutes in 284 lifetime NHL games.
His bulk also sparked curiosity about how he would fare in this year’s new format, which places skating skills at a premium.
This year features a three-game, four-team tournament, with just three skaters on ice per squad at any one time.
Last week was a confusing one for Scott and his fans.
He was sent down to Springfield of the AHL on Wednesday after clearing waivers earlier this season.
At the time, Arizona coach Dave Tippett said Scott would likely be back with the Coyotes within a few days, making him eligible to participate in the all-star game.
Then the Coyotes dealt Scott and defenceman Victor Bartley to the Canadiens for little-used defenceman Jarred Tinordi and minor league forward Stefan Fournier.
That move drew predictable jokes on social media about the Canadiens trading for an all-star.
Immediately after fans chose him to captain the Pacific Division, Scott said he would try to have fun with a bizarre situation.
His plans included handing out black T-shirts featuring his photo and the message “Thanks for believing in me, Love always, The Captain” to his all-star teammates.
The shirts are available online, with some of the proceeds going to Hockey Helps the Homeless.