3 ways to make things right in the John Scott All-Star mess
The NHL clearly bungled the John Scott situation, but there's still time to save face.
The former Arizona Coyotes pugilist was traded to the Montreal Canadiens and immediately banished to the AHL's St. John's IceCaps over the weekend after reportedly refusing requests from both the league and the Coyotes to bow out of the All-Star Game, after fans voted him into the contest as the Pacific Division captain.
Scott told reporters Sunday that his participation in the event was still uncertain, and that he hasn't heard anything from the NHL about a resolution.
If he remains buried in the AHL through All-Star Weekend, Scott has the right to file a grievance against the league with the help of the NHL Players' Association.
Much of the public relations damage that's been done as a result of this debacle appears to be irreparable, but here are three ways the league and the Canadiens organization can start making things right:
Pay him his money if the Pacific Division wins
The new 3-on-3 All-Star format includes a $1-million winner-take-all prize, which works out to more than $90,000 per player, or about $83,000 per head if Scott is included along with a replacement.
That might seem like chump change compared to many NHL salaries, but the latter amount represents 14 percent of Scott's $575,000 contract.
Sure, the Pacific Division is the worst in the NHL, but if its All-Star squad featuring the likes of Corey Perry, Joe Pavelski, and Drew Doughty manages to win the tournament, Scott is entitled to his share of the prize.
It's not just that he deserves it, though. The league would benefit from a public relations standpoint by offering Scott his portion of the winnings - and the NHL needs all the positive press it can get right now.
Allow him to be with, or closer to, his pregnant wife
Scott's wife is expecting twins in the next couple of weeks, which would put her due date right around the time of the All-Star Game. He told reporters Sunday that she left Arizona for Michigan following the trade.
This is the hardest, and most human, element to the whole mess. The Canadiens aren't at fault for any of it, but they do have an opportunity to help.
It would have made a lot more sense for the Coyotes to just trade Scott to the Detroit Red Wings, or another team closer to his wife's family, in the first place. But considering the circumstances, there's a more realistic alternative available.
Making another trade would be time-consuming and probably difficult considering cap concerns, but the IceCaps and Canadiens could simply allow him to take paternity leave before the break, given the fact that the AHL's All-Star events overlap with the NHL's midseason festivities.
If he's ultimately banished from All-Star Weekend in Nashville, the least the Canadiens could do would be to let Scott go home to be with his wife a couple of days beforehand.
Let him play
The league can't heal all of the wounds in this debacle, but this is how it can do the most to repair its image, and turn an ugly situation into a feel-good story.
As Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo Sports pointed out Sunday, Bernie Nicholls and Sandis Ozolinsh both played in previous All-Star Games for their original teams after being traded prior to the event. There's precedent here, and Scott likely knows it.
The veteran forward was voted Pacific Division captain, and whether he's an elite player or not, the fans chose him democratically, within the parameters promoted by the league.
Scott's obviously not a star, but he is an All-Star, and the NHL needs to honor that fact. Allowing him to play in the All-Star Game will give this PR disaster a happy ending, help fans forgive, and restore some of their faith in the league they love.