LOS ANGELES – John Scott sat at a table signing autographs at the makeshift Stan Mikita’s Donuts next to Staples Center on Friday before the NHL’s 100 greatest players ceremony.
Scott mugged with onlookers while he put signatures on his book “A Guy Like Me: Fighting to Make the Cut.”
The autograph line was robust for about 45 minutes before it eventually thinned out. When one Los Angeles Kings fan was told it was Scott at the table, she called him a “one-shot deal” and said that Peter Budaj should have made the game this year.
This was a starkly different scene than the previous year in Nashville where Scott, a longtime enforcer made the game on a fan vote and was the center of attention. He led the Pacific Division All-Stars to a victory in the 3-on-3 tournament and was named the game’s MVP. Scott waxed nostalgic, but was ultimately pleased with where he was at this game versus last year’s game.
“It’s two completely different experiences. Last year was cool because I was the guy. Everybody wanted to talk to me. Everywhere I went was chaotic. Now it’s good in other ways,” Scott said. “I can walk around and check out things I haven’t seen before and really be a fan because I am a fan of the game and it’s cool to see al the sights and sounds, so it’s good both ways.”
This was the only planned appearance for Scott over the weekend, and Scott was perfectly OK with this. His wife and their twin daughters came with him from his home in Michigan to Los Angeles for the weekend and plan to enjoy what Los Angeles has to offer. Scott said he will go to Beverly Hills, check out the local beaches but not do much hockey related.
“I’m going to stay away from that and let the guys have their fun. I don’t want to be a distraction for all that stuff and I think if I went it would just be a distraction,” Scott said. “I’ll watch it on TV and that’s about it.”
Even though Scott isn’t the ‘the man’ this year, most fans, outside of the aforementioned Kings supporter, still recognize him and wish him well. This has struck a nerve with Scott in a positive way.
“People are so supportive it’s crazy. For me especially. They really look after me. They really do. I think they have an ownership of my life, which is cool. They hope I do well and that’s really neat and my life is good now,” Scott said. “It’s ‘you still want to take a picture with me? I stopped playing hockey last year and I’m still popular?’ It’s something I really am taken aback by.”
Added Scott, “I guess I always assumed it just dies down and it’s going to end and it’s kind of a weekend thing and all of a sudden I would go back to normal, but yeah, people tend to remember and they do have a stake in my life, which is cool.”
In early December, Scott announced his retirement, a decision he said he’s fully comfortable with. He noted he hoped to still be playing at some point.
“If you would have asked me last year if I would be done playing hockey, you’re crazy,” Scott said. “Now I’m done and just a regular stay at home guy. It has definitely changed my life. Everything happens for a reason and I’m happy with where I’m at.”
Along with having some much-needed family time, Scott is talking about his book and also working with Mitch Albom on the screenplay for the movie about him. Scott noted that Albom has worked hard to ensure the work is true to Scott’s life.
“He basically said ‘I’ll write it … and if there’s anything you really don’t like I’ll change it,” Scott said. “I want you to like this, I want you to really be a part of this movie so that’s how it is. So far there hasn’t been anything I really don’t like, so it’s easy.”
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