And after all that. All the criticism. All the scrutiny. All the debate. John Scott not only takes home MVP of the All Star Game, but absolutely steals the show in the process. The NHL tried everything short of a murder-for-hire scheme to keep him out, and in return he ends up being the only reason it was even moderately watchable. If you put a 'Top 10 Moments' list together from this weekend, John Scott would play the lead in at least 9 of them. When it wasn't a spine tickling standing ovation it was a candid moment caught between him and his children. The only thing more awesome than his goals? His teammates mauling him upon scoring them. What transpired over the course of the last two days turned John Scott from a sympathetic figure to a likable guy, and only proved that the single biggest problem the NHL has is with itself.
You just know that Gary Bettman and his merry band of morons will be sitting at a round table patting themselves on the back for the increase in ratings. Talking about how the 3-on-3 format was wildly successful. Completely ignoring the fact that the only reason they are receiving praise today is because they can't even self sabotage themselves correctly. The NHL's attempts of shaming John Scott out of the All Star Game -followed by their attempts to trade him out of All Star Game- proved one thing and one thing only. They just don't get it. Their stagnancy in popularity is predicted solely on their inability to understand the casual fan. The NHL was standing on the ledge of a building ready to commit social suicide, and they got tackled from behind by an unforeseen amount of negative publicity. Somehow the All Star game won, but the NHL still lost. The one event a year when we are supposed to a celebrate the sport we love, and we were too busy mocking the people in charge of it. An AHLer player becoming the focal point of All Star weekend should send a pretty clear message. Not only do sports fans love a great underdog story, but they absolutely could not care less about meaningless games. Don't believe me? Check the Pro Bowl ratings. I'm glad that the NHL can rationalize that the All Star Game was a victory of their own. However, that celebration will be mighty short lived when people realize that two of the best players in the league are serving one game suspensions for not showing up, while the guy that has a hard time staying in the league just left with a million dollar check.