John Scott saga comes 'full-circle' with NHL recall
Enforcer to make Canadiens debut Tuesday night
The roller-coaster second half of John Scott's hockey season looks as though it will end on a good note.
The Montreal Canadiens announced on Sunday evening they had recalled the six-foot-eight forward from its American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John's IceCaps, with whom he's been playing since the NHL's all-star break.
The Canadiens, clear of any playoff chances since their March 26 loss to the New York Rangers, told fans through Twitter the enforcer-turned-all-star MVP will play a single game on Tuesday at the Bell Centre (7:30 p.m. ET), the team's second-last home game, against Florida.
Canadiens assigned forward Michael McCarron to the AHL IceCaps, and recalled John Scott from St. John's tonight.—@CanadiensMTL
"Obviously, I'm excited that they called me on Sunday night and said to get ready to be called up to the team," Scott told reporters on Monday. "Any chance you get to put on the jersey of an Original Six team is pretty exciting, so it was a good call."
The Panthers, who played in Toronto on Monday, have clinched a playoff berth and will compete in the Stanley Cup post-season for the first time since 2012 and fifth time in team history.
Scott hasn't played in an NHL game since New Year's Eve when he was still an Arizona Coyote.
"It's kind of cool how everything's come full-circle. It's good to be back in [an NHL] room. I haven't met most of the guys yet. Half of the team I met in St. John's, though. It's good to be up here and kind of experience what it's like to be a Canadien."
The Scott saga of the 2015-16 season began when the NHL made a mistake it had already made before: they let the fans decide. Scott, a career enforcer, shot to the top of the leaderboard in the fan vote when it opened in early December. And the-then Coyote stayed at the top, the league claiming if the single-point star still held the top spot come closing he would captain the Pacific Division.
Scott at first tried to talk his new fans down, telling the Arizona Republic "I don't want to have my name in the headlines for this reason," but came around to embrace the joke. (Scott wasn't the only one. Jaromir Jagr also asked fans not to vote for him and would also go on to captain the Atlantic Division). He went on to win the vote.
The NHL didn't seem to find the joke as funny, despite having earlier played along. The 33-year-old Scott was traded to Montreal and immediately sent to the IceCaps, leaving his captainship up in the air. He was now playing for the AHL affiliate of a NHL team in a different division.
Scott penned a first-person article for The Players' Tribune, a publishing platform for professional athletes, claiming someone with the NHL at one point asked him "Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?"
After some confusion over if he would be allowed to play, Scott ended up leading the Pacific Division — wearing a generic NHL sweater rather than that of his former or new team — to an All-Star Game win. He scored two goals en route and was again voted by fans on Twitter as all-star game MVP.
Days later, Scott's wife Danielle gave birth to twin girls.
With Montreal's playoff chances already looking slim and with no news of a return from injury by No. 1 goalie Carey Price, there were calls to keep Scott on the team's roster, but he was kept him in St. John's and has been playing the enforcer role there since.
Team excited to have him
"We want to show our respect because he's been a real pro since he joined us," said Canadiens coach Michel Therrien after the team's practice Monday. "And we wanted to give him the opportunity to play a game with the Montreal Canadiens."
P.K. Subban said he looks forward to joking around with his new teammate and that "he's going to come in and help our team."
Subban didn't comment on the status of his neck injury, which has kept him off ice since early March. He won't suit up for the Habs on Tuesday, but has resumed practicing with the team.