Originally reluctant, All-Star John Scott having fun with nomination

So let's begin by admitting that I know how strange it is for a person who believes fighting no longer has a place in hockey and that the All-Star Game should be abolished to be writing about John Scott's presence in Nashville at the end of the month.

OK, we got that over with.

The fact of the matter is that all the tough guys I've known over the years have been some of the more interesting, thoughtful characters in the game.

My stance on fighting has nothing to do with them. They're honest people doing a tough job.

It has to do, of course, with where the game is headed, our knowledge of head injuries, the current litigation at hand -- well, all the obvious stuff.

Which brings us back to Scott.

I think it's funny that one of the game's last true enforcers, one of the last torch holders of a fading profession, has helped give another dying brand -- the All-Star Game -- more publicity than it has got over the past few years.

Two broken traditions helping each other out, as it were.

I asked Scott over the phone Wednesday, fearing my question might be a little far-reaching, whether his fan-fueled All-Star nomination, joke and all, made him think about all the enforcers who came before him, how he might indeed be representing a dying breed when he laces them up in Nashville on Jan. 31.

Much to my surprise, Scott has indeed had that exact thought.

"I hope everyone who has done my job can take a little bit out of this and say, 'You know what? Finally, one of us is getting recognized,'" Scott said. "If not for just fighting all the time, we do bring a lot to the team in terms of doing a lot things that go unseen. It's nice to get a bit of props once in a while for that. So yeah, I think that would be fair to say."

The 33-year-old enforcer has run the gamut of internal reaction since this social media campaign began to get him voted in by fans. It all began in early December when Yahoo's Greg Wyshynski, on his podcast with Jeff Marek, came up with the novel idea of having Scott on the ice for a 3-on-3 tournament.

The idea grew into a groundswell. Thank you, Twitter.

No, yes, no, yes, no, yes -- Scott twisted and turned on the idea of whether he would actually go if voted in. But it grew on him.

"It's funny, every day you get a different opinion from somebody else. You talk to your management, your coaches, your teammates," Scott said. "At first, it was kind of like a joke and I wasn't really a fan of it. I was like, 'Let's end this quick and move on.' And once it started to gain speed and gain momentum behind it, I started to talk to more people and realized, 'This is probably going to happen.' So I had to start to change my tune from, 'I don't want to do this, I don't like this' to 'If it happens, I'll be happy and we'll have some fun with it.'

"At first, it was super negative, I didn't want it to happen, but now it's here and we'll have a good time with it."

Why not, Scott finally figured, who knows how many NHL games he actually has left in him? I mean, you're talking about a guy who's been waived three times this season.

"Especially for a guy like me, I mean, I thought I was done after last year," said Scott, who appeared in 38 games (3 goals, 1 assist, 87 minutes in penalties) with the San Jose Sharks before signing with the Coyotes in the summer. "You just never now when you're going to get the next opportunity. So I'm looking at this as maybe being my last year in the NHL and this is a huge deal for someone like me.

"I would never in a million years dream of going to an All-Star Game. That's crazy. So I figured, 'Why not? Just do it.'"

Besides, all those years of trading punches as a living, why not get a little reward for it? And with the pot the winning team gets at the All-Star Game -- about $100,000 per player for the winning team -- that would be a nice bonus for Scott, whose 2015-16 salary is $575,000.

"It's not even just the fighting part, it's sitting out every other game," Scott said of his gig. "This year, geez, I've only played 10 games, I haven't played at all. But I get bag-skated and worked out more than anyone I know. I do bust my hump here. It's a tough job to be in and out of the lineup and fighting. It's just not very fun. It's good to get a perk from it."

To be exact, over 11 games this season, he has played a total of 69:19 minutes -- about what Erik Karlsson plays over two and a half games -- during which Scott has one assist and 25 minutes in penalties.

But again, everyone knows what this is about. Scott has got mostly encouragement from his hockey family.

"From the people I've heard from, everyone is for it, maybe we'll get more viewership for the All-Star Game, and that would be a good thing," said Scott.

So imagine had I told him back in October that John Scott would be in the All-Star Game and not Sidney Crosby?

"I know, right? I would have said you were crazy," Scott said, chuckling. "But stranger things have happened, so you never know."

Scott's wife and kids and parents will be in Nashville. It will be moment for them to look back on.

Oh, but that 3-on-3 hockey. Surely Scott needs to beg Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett for a little 3-on-3 OT action before then just to get a sense of it?

"I have to talk to him about getting into an actual game first, that's the first step. And we'll go from there," Scott said, laughing.

"But yeah, I will broach the subject next time we go to overtime; I'll give him a nod on the bench and see if he puts me in."

Fat chance of that.

Then again, who ever thought John Scott would be in the All-Star Game?