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ANAHEIM – Group texts went back and forth between San Jose Sharks players during the NHL All-Star Skills Competition and NHL All-Star Game.
Mostly they were about former teammate John Scott and how the hulking enforcer who spent the 2014-15 season in San Jose was handling the weekend. Not often do hockey players pay much attention to the All-Star festivities. A lot are on vacation and try to get away from the game.
But Scott, who was voted into the game as a Pacific Division captain with an internet fan vote, left a large impact on the Sharks’ room. Enough to where Pacific Division teammates Joe Pavelski and Brent Burns carried Scott off the ice after their team won the 3-on-3 competition, along with $1 million to be distributed to the group.
During the three days in Nashville, it felt like he was more a part of the Sharks than any team in the league. Scott was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens after his selection to the game. Since the deal he had been in the minors with Montreal’s AHL affiliate, the St. John’s IceCaps.
“Johnny … it was great to see that,” Sharks defenseman Justin Braun said. “He was a great teammate while he was here and to see that turn out the way it did couldn’t have gone any better.”
Sharks players had a reaction to most parts of Scott’s weekend. From the skills competition – where he wore an All-Star jersey while the rest of his teammates wore team jerseys – where he took part in the hardest shot, to the game itself where he scored two goals, the weekend left a mark on his former teammates. His first goal, where he reacted with a mega celebration seemed to draw the most attention.
“Just to see him get that one and the big celebration and everything with Pavelski and Burns being out there for it, just a great moment for everyone involved,” Braun said.
The oddness of Scott’s place in the game was apparent to the Sharks – especially in the skills competition where he looked out of place in his jersey. Scott received a standing ovation from the Bridgestone Arena crowd before the hardest shot.
“It was a unique situation there and we’d like to have seen him in some type of colors. It’s not easy being that guy, I’m sure,” Pavelski said. “He had to wear the NHL jersey in the skills competition and he handled it great. That’s his personality and that’s the type of guy he is, so it was fun.”
Players weren’t surprised at how Scott tried to make the weekend as fun as possible and took it in stride. That’s the way he was when he played for the Sharks last season. He scored three goals – a career high – in 38 games in San Jose.
Former teammate Mike Brown liked how Scott cracked up when the Nashville fans booed a stone-faced Patrick Kane.
“That’s typical John Scott right there,” Brown said. “He starts doing that and you start laughing also, so he’ll get you going like that.”
Even people who weren’t with the Sharks when Scott was there could sense a vibe around the player and what he meant to San Jose.
“It also gave me a real idea of what I already had heard of what a respected guy this guy was around the room and the team here and the time he spent here,” first-year Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “That spoke volumes about the impact he had on this group when he was here last year.”
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