GLENDALE, Ariz. — Voters and John Scott got their way on Tuesday when the National Hockey League elected to keep Scott the captain of Pacific Division for the NHL All-Star Game, despite the fact that he longer plays in the Pacific Division — or the NHL, for that matter.
The league announced the decision in a three-paragraph release that included its reasoning.
“Scott, elected to the Pacific Division captaincy in fan voting while a member of the Arizona Coyotes, was traded Friday to the Montreal Canadiens of the Atlantic Division. The resultant change in division, and Scott’s subsequent assignment to the American Hockey League, created a unique circumstance that required review — the result of which was a determination to maintain the status quo for the All-Star weekend in order to preserve all parties’ pre-existing expectations, including Scott’s desire to participate.”
The unfortunate side effect of that decision for Arizona is that the Coyotes will not have an All-Star Game representative for this year’s game in Nashville, despite a league guideline that requires each team to have one representative.
When asked about the Coyotes’ exclusion, coach Dave Tippett channeled a little Forrest Gump.
“That’s disappointing not to be represented,” he said. “That’s all I’m going to say about that.”
There is still the chance that a Coyote could join the game if one of the players on the current Pacific Division roster suffers an injury, but the replacement would likely come from the same team as the injured player.
Two Coyotes spokespeople said Tuesday they do not expect to be represented. In the wake of that news, the Coyotes’ players most likely to be chosen took a positive public stance.
“Fans voted and obviously John’s excited to go,” captain Shane Doan said. “He was one of our teammates when he got selected so that’s kind of unique and cool.
“Obviously there’s some young guys on our team that deserve to go and anybody that is ever given the opportunity to go to the All-Star Game is going to be grateful for it, but that’s for other people to decide; not for people in this room.”
Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson might have been the most logical choice under ordinary circumstances. He represented the Coyotes last season and is tied for the team lead in points this season with 33. He also has six game-winning goals.
“I would love to go but that’s not the case now,” he said. “I’m flying over my parents (from Sweden) and I get to hang out with them here in Scottsdale. I’m really excited about that.”
Ekman-Larsson said the team’s absence from the All-Star Game could be beneficial in the long run.
“It’s good for this team to get five days off and everybody get a chance to rest up,” he said. “If you look at the standings right now, every game is so important for us. It’s going to do us good that he have five days off.
“I’m happy for Scotty that he gets the chance to go. I hope he has a good time there.”
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