Penguins notebook: Players understand, sympathize with John Scott's All-Star predicament
January 21, 2016 12:00 AM
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
“I hope he goes to the All-Star game. I hope the building goes crazy for him. I hope that he scores many goals,” Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy said of unconventional All-Star selection John Scott.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy doesn’t know John Scott from Adam, never shared a beer or a conversation with him.
But Scott has become a kind of players’ underdog in his strange ride from journeyman enforcer to a captain in the NHL All-Star game next week.
Lovejoy hopes he lights it up in Nashville.
“I hope he goes to the All-Star game. I hope the building goes crazy for him. I hope that he scores many goals,” Lovejoy said. “I hope his team wins. I hope he raises the All-Star cup … and I hope he wins the car that Phil Kessel once won, and all of those things. You root for a guy like that who has been very positive through a tough situation.”
On Tuesday, the league approved Scott’s participation in the game, despite the fact he was traded from the Arizona Coyotes to the Montreal Canadiens last week and demoted to the American Hockey League. He was voted in by fans through an Internet campaign that started as a joke and a way to make a mockery of the league — a kind of modern day spin on “Carrie” minus the pig’s blood.
“I do feel bad about what he’s had to go through. People can be very mean on social media. We do our best as NHL players to tune it out. It’s part of our job,” Lovejoy said.
“He’s not a guy who should have to go through something like this that is really nothing of his own doing. I think it started out as a mean thing. He handled it well, he embraced it. He wasn’t out there campaigning to be an All-Star. He was voted in. I think he rose above it and went along with it, and embraced it.”
Another player likened the campaign to Internet bullying.
Defenseman Trevor Daley said he doesn’t know Scott personally, either, but has heard nothing but good things about him.
“I do know some guys that do know him. Everybody who has played with him speaks very highly of him. From what I know, he’s a great guy to have around the room,” Daley said. “The situation is what it is. People did vote him in. There are a lot of worse things going on in the world today. It’s his decision, totally up to him.”
The Penguins usually face the rival Philadelphia Flyers at least once before late January, but a quirk of the schedule kept the two from meeting until tonight.
“It’s odd. Doesn’t usually happen that way, but it doesn’t really matter,” Sidney Crosby said. “At this point, we’re kind of worried about ourselves and not who we’re playing as much. We know the situation. We know how close everyone is in the standings. You should see two desperate hockey teams.”
The Flyers (20-16-8) sit one point behind the Penguins in the Metropolitan Division.
The Penguins may feel some deja vu with the weather this weekend, as a major snowstorm is expected to hit the Washington area before their game against the Capitals at 12:30 p.m.Sunday.
On Feb. 6, 2010, the team went through a wild travel scenario after a Saturday night game in Montreal.
The storm, which they dubbed “Snowmagaddon,” forced their flight to divert to Newark, N.J., where the team boarded a bus and endured a harrowing five-hour bus ride in blizzard conditions to make it in time for the next day’s matinee against the Capitals.
“I remember the bus ride,” Crosby said. “Long, long day.”
Kris Letang did not practice with the team Wednesday. He was given a maintenance day, said coach Mike Sullivan.
“With Kris, it’s just going to be a day-to-day process with him at this point. It’s more a maintenance day. We kept him off the ice [Wednesday]. We’ll see how he responds [today],” Sullivan said.
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez.
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