NASHVILLE – John Scott sat on his teammates’ shoulders while fans chanted “M-V-P! M-V-P!” and the NHL finally got out of the way.
The people spoke up for Scott again Sunday night, making the career journeyman enforcer an All-Star MVP as a write-in candidate after voting him into the new 3-on-3 All-Star tournament as captain of the Pacific Division.
Scott scored twice during the tournament, bringing cheers from fans and smiles from teammates who relished every moment as Scott captained the Pacific to a 1-0 win in the championship.
“It’s just another one on the list of stuff that I cannot believe is happening,” Scott said of being picked as MVP. “I never in a million years would have believed I was at an All-Star Game, the fans would be behind me like that and score two goals in a game. You can’t put it into words. You can’t write this stuff.”
The NHL changed the format after last year’s All-Star Game featured 92 shots and a combined 29 goals, the biggest offensive display in the game’s 60-year history. This time, these stars combined for 116 shots and 23 goals.
Their inspiration was the 3-on-3 overtime approach for a tournament pitting the four divisions against each other in 20-minute games. The winners of the first two games advanced to a third-period championship.
“I broke a better sweat than last year for sure,” Philadelphia Flyers and Metropolitan Division forward Claude Giroux said.
Goalies split the work with a 10-minute portion each and actually got the chance to stop shots rather than be targets in the net. The Wild’s Devan Dubnyk played in the second game, stopping eight of 13 shots in a 9-6 Central loss to the Pacific.
Florida’s Roberto Luongo and Jonathan Quick of the Kings each made great saves to keep the first 10 minutes of the championship game scoreless, and Quick stopped Jagr in the final seconds before intermission. Thr Scott, the personable enforcer toiling for now in the minor leagues, stole the show.
Scott will return to the AHL to Newfoundland in Canada with lots of prizes after fans chose Scott over the finalists offered by the league’s hockey operations — Luongo, Calgary forward Johnny Gaudreau or Edmonton forward Taylor Hall.
Scott’s two goals tied Hall, Daniel Sedin of Vancouver and Nashville forward James Neal for the most goals at this event.