On January 1, the National Hockey League published a link on its homepage to the NHL All-Star Game fan voting.
This was notable because it was the last day of voting for the four divisional team captains at the event in Nashville later this month; it was also notable because the NHL has been summarily ignoring the fan vote since noted goon John Scott of the Arizona Coyotes shot to the top of the leaderboard.
That leaderboard link now brings you to this page, announcing that the voting is closed. On New Year’s Eve, the page looked like this: Scott, still leading, with Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames a distant seventh in the balloting for the Pacific Division captaincy.
At 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday night, Scott was still leading.
As we’ve previously written, the NHL enacted “Operation: Maybe This Will All Blow Over” when it comes to the fan campaign to get Scott – 11 games played, one assist, 25 penalty minutes, having yet to crack nine minutes of ice time in any game this season. They shuffled links to fan voting down NHL.com. They haven’t sent out a single press release detailing the leaders in the fan votes, unlike every single all-star game since the advent of electronic mail.
That'll change today. The NHL told Yahoo Sports that it will release the winners of the fan vote and the captains for the four divisions.
Did Scott win the vote? All indications from the NHL is that he has. (Given that the only people voting appear to be the Scott activists, it's hard to imagine he hasn't.)
The conventional wisdom in the Winter Classic press box was that it won’t matter. That Scott will decline the invitation -- but would he be suspended?! -- or perhaps won't be a Coyote when the All-Star Game rolls around.
But if he Scott decides he wants to appear in the All-Star Game, the NHL will play along with the fan's whim.
The best case scenario for all involved? Scott plays; the NHL All-Star Game gets a profile boost from mainstream media who give it more press than it’s gotten in years, even if it’s to be in on the joke; and the enthusiasm Scott exhibits at the event is infectious, turning a joke campaign into hockey folk heroism.
That’s better than the alternative, which is to treat the John Scott vote like a fart in an elevator, which has been the response for the last month.
Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.
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