HE was the unlikely MVP at the All Star game. Now with a biopic about his life in the works, John Scott knows exactly who he’d cast as the NHL boss that didn’t want him to play in the biggest game of his life.
“Who’s the guy in Inglorious Basterds? The German guy, he’s always a villain in every movie … Christoph Waltz!” Scott continued, “he’s kind of sneaky a little bit. Yeh, he’s perfect.”
You know Christoph Waltz. Hollywood’s go-to baddie, the ultimate villain.
He won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds, or you might remember him as the lying husband of artist wife Margaret Keane in the film, Big Eyes, or as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the evil nemesis of James Bond in Spectre.
To say there’s a little shade between NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the league and Scott, well, that’s an understatement.
But every hero needs a villain, and the drama that unfolded in the lead-up to and during the All Star game was the stuff of legend.
Scott played just 12 games this season with the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens. Over his entire 286-game NHL career — with seven different teams — he has only scored five goals and six assists, and is known more for his ability as an enforcer than a playmaker. But when fans saw a chance to prank the league and exploit their fan vote system for the All Star game, the 33-year-old NHL veteran suddenly found himself included in the star-studded team.
It was a surprise, it was controversial, and most of all it was hilarious. However, while the fans chortled along at the gag, the NHL wasn’t so happy. At first neither was Scott too, but he came around when the league delivered him the ultimate insult.
“When someone from the NHL calls me and says, ‘Do you think this is something your kids would be proud of?’ That’s when they lost me,” Scott wrote in The Players’ Tribune.
“It didn’t feel good,” Scott told Fox Sports Australia.
“I’ve played hockey all my life, it’s what I know and for someone to say ‘oh you’re not good enough’ it’s tough.
“But you look past that and listen to the people who say you can do it.”
Scott was encouraged by hockey bosses not to accept his fan-voted inclusion in the game. But he did. And he played out of his skin, scoring two goals and became the undisputed MVP and winning captain of the Pacific team in the All Star series. He even received the team’s million dollar winner’s cheque and his MVP trophy from the commissioner.
“In the end I did well, I shut up the people who said I couldn’t do it,” Scott said.
“I just kind of smiled and said ‘thank you very much, and have a nice day’. It was a good feeling, that’s all I can say.
“I did probably try a little bit harder in the game, because of all the s**t I went through.”
Scott was traded from Arizona to Montreal shortly before the All Star team announcement and has since been moved down to the AHL, playing hockey for St John’s Ice Caps in the remote north east of Canada.
Scott vows to return to the NHL again, believing there’s still another two or three years of hockey left in him. Until then he’s excited by what awaits in the short term — his biopic and a trip to Australia for the Wayne Gretzky Ice Hockey Classic in June and July.
“I’ve never been to Australia, always wanted to, so I’m pumped to go down there,” Scott said.
“You guys like Aussie Rules football and rugby but I heard hockey is catching on there with your own hockey league.
“Gretzky is the father of hockey here in Canada, so if his name is on something, it’s going to be good. Hopefully I get the chance to meet him and talk shop with him.”
As for the biopic, Scott is a fan of the rumoured working title ‘Hockey Rocky’, but isn’t so sure about who should play the main role.
“Tom Hardy is pretty cool, but I think he’s too short. In skates I’m like seven feet tall and I think he’s just a little guy. Liev Shreiber might be good, but we’ll see,” Scott said.
“It’s crazy, like, who would ever think you’d have a movie made about yourself. It’s humbling and kind of flattering, but I still can’t really believe it.
“When I look back at my career it was funny how it happened, but I think it’ll be a good movie and hopefully people like it.”