John Scott steps back on the ice this weekend for the first time since his whirlwind MVP-winning experience during NHL All-Star Weekend, having become a father to twin girls and gotten movie offers in the interim.
"Oh, man, it's been crazy," Scott said over the phone Thursday from his family home in Traverse City, Michigan. "It's nice to get everything settled down here and get everything back to normal."
It began months ago as a social media lark, the idea of a fan vote forcing longtime enforcer Scott -- he has five goals and 542 minutes in penalties in 285 games -- into the NHL All-Star Game. Scott himself wasn't sure what to make of it at first and wasn't sure he even wanted to go. But he warmed up to the idea, even though the league hadn't, discouraging him, according to Scott, from attending. His trade from the Arizona Coyotes nearly ended his All-Star trip -- he was voted in as captain of the Pacific Division but was traded to the Montreal Canadiens, who are in the Atlantic Division, and then sent to the minors. But a furor by the fans influenced the league into keeping his All-Star invite in place. Then he took center stage at the All-Star festivities in Nashville, Tennessee, buried the hatchet with commissioner Gary Bettman, scored two goals and won MVP, again by popular vote by the fans. The stuff of movies? Well, as it turns out, maybe.
Scott was scheduled to travel to St. John's, Newfoundland, on Friday and resume his pro hockey career, with the American Hockey League's St. John's IceCaps hosting the Toronto Marlies on Saturday and Sunday. Back to the grind, which is fabulous.
"It'll be nice to [be] back playing hockey and doing my thing. I'm actually really excited for it," Scott said.
"This has been the longest break I've had, ever," he said. "But I play like 7-8 minutes, I won't be too out of shape, I'll be able to keep up."
He could have been somewhere else this weekend. He had an offer to hang out at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto. His agent, Ben Hankinson, got calls from a few companies offering to have Scott attend some NBA All-Star events.
Enticing, but Scott immediately turned it down. His job is to play hockey, and the St. John's organization (the main farm team of the Canadiens) had already been very gracious, he said, in allowing him this much time at home to be with his wife and newborns.
"I would have loved to have done it, it would have been so cool," Scott said of attending NBA All-Star Weekend. "But, obviously, I have to go back to St. John's and play."
Again, this is the part of Scott that so few people have understood. Yes, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Michigan Tech alum made it to the NHL with his fists, but he's always been passionate about playing the game. It's that passion that has him back on the AHL ice this weekend.
"Back to work, even if it's in the AHL, that's fine with me," said Scott, 33. "It's pro hockey, and I'm still getting paid to play. It could be a lot worse. Obviously, I'm leaving my family and the girls, which is tough, but I am excited to go and play hockey again."
It's going to cost him, though.
"Before I left St. John's, I was joking with the guys, I said, 'If I win MVP in the NHL All-Star Game, I'll take you out for dinner,'" Scott recalled. "So, I owe the whole team a dinner when I get back. It'll be nice."
At home, Scott is now father to four girls, which is to say he already has asked his wife about keeping their options open.
"I told my wife I still want to shoot for that boy," Scott said, chuckling. "She's a little nervous about that; I said, 'We have to, we got to go for one more.'"
Right after All-Star Weekend in Nashville, his phone was exploding, but things are back to normal now.
"It was busy right after; the next three days were nuts, with interviews, with people calling, friends, people coming out of the woodwork that I had totally forgotten about, that was just crazy," Scott said. "But it's calmed down now. It's nice. I'm back to being just John Scott, normal hockey player, not, like, crazy-superstar guy."
Ah, but his agent has movie offers. That's not for just a normal hockey player.
"Which is insane. I would have never in a million years thought anyone would want to make my life into a movie," said Scott, laughing. "I'm a pretty boring guy when it boils down to it. I don't know if there's going to be a lot of subject matter. We'll see."
In all seriousness, though, NHL All-Star Weekend and the manner in which Scott handled himself in the wake of controversy certainly endeared him to many people and opened up some avenues for life after hockey.
"That maybe has opened up my doors post-hockey to maybe TV or radio if I wanted to go into that," said Scott, an Edmonton native. "I don't know, hockey is probably going to be over within the next couple of years, if not this year. I haven't really put too much thought into it, but it has definitely opened up a lot more doors, the whole All-Star thing as far as how it went and how it ended. It's exciting to know that there may be opportunities after it's over."
In the meantime, he's still waiting for that 2016 Honda Pilot he won as All-Star Game MVP to find him. He hasn't gotten it yet.
"We're still working on that; I guess it's hard to get cars up to Traverse City, Michigan. It's still in the mail," he said, laughing.
If there's one more hope left in him, it's an obvious one. A call-up from the Canadiens would be grand.
"I hope. Because I did the Rangers and I did the Blackhawks and now I could do the Habs," said Scott, referring to his time with Original Six teams. "It would be nice. I've always [liked] Montreal, I love that city. I don't know -- who knows? -- but I think I could help them."