SAN JOSE – And now for the final word on one of the NHL’s biggest stories of the season (we hope).
Appearing at the Sharks’ 25th anniversary celebration on Tuesday night at SAP Center, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman addressed the league’s decision to allow former Sharks forward John Scott to attend the upcoming All-Star weekend in Nashville, TN on Jan. 30-31.
“The fans spoke in large numbers for the process and he’s going to be joining us in Nashville. There was never any doubt about that,” Bettman said.
“Obviously the fans decided it was important to vote for him, and we respect that. Whether or not we need to make adjustments into the future and ensure that truly All-Star players are there is something we’ll worry about after we go to Nashville.”
Scott was one of four players voted in by fans, but was since traded from Arizona to Montreal. He is currently on the Canadiens’ AHL team, leading to speculation that he would be ineligible to go to Nashville.
The NHL officially revealed on Tuesday morning that Scott was indeed still in line to serve as captain of the Pacific Division team, which includes his former Sharks teammates Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns. Earlier in the week several Sharks, including Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic, expressed their hope that Scott - a popular player with his teammates in his one season in San Jose - would be allowed to play.
Did the league have to make a decision on it?
“No. We had to evaluate the circumstances to make sure we weren’t missing anything,” Bettman said. “But the league never had to make a different decision over the weekend. I know there was a lot of speculation about that. That was not true.”
In 285 career NHL games, Scott has five goals and six assists for 11 points and 542 penalty minutes. In 38 games with the Sharks last season, he had three goals and one assist for four points and 87 penalty minutes, and was suspended on two separate occasions.
In the statement released by the league, Scott said: “I am looking forward to enjoying a fun and unique experience at All-Star Weekend in Nashville with my family. While being voted to the All-Star Game by the fans was not something I expected to happen, I am excited to participate in the All-Star events with my fellow players.”