ARIZONA Coyotes enforcer John Scott, who has just one point while playing part time in the NHL this season, has been voted into the all-star game.
Scott, who will captain the Pacific Division team, benefitted from a ballot stuffing campaign by Coyote fans in what critics say makes a mockery of the NHL’s decision to allow fans to vote for players.
Three other team captains were elected by fans, comprising Chicago Blackhawks top scorer Patrick Kane, Washington Capitals leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin and 43-year-old Florida Panther forward Jaromir Jagr.
The 2.03 metre (6-foot-8) Scott is known more for using his fists than scoring goals.
Scott has 542 penalty minutes and just 11 points in 285 career games. He has been suspended three times by the NHL in his career, including twice in a two month span last season for attacking Tim Jackman of the Anaheim Ducks.
During the month of December hockey fans were able to cast their votes through the internet for one player from each of the league’s four divisions, with the top vote-getter for each division earning an spot on the all-star roster as a division captain.
The push to get the lumbering 118 kilo (260lb) Scott into this year’s three-on-three format game went viral and the result is that Scott, who scored just one goal in his first five NHL seasons, could line up as a team captain alongside American Kane who leads the league in scoring with 56 points.
It is not known if Scott will take up the offer. Phoenix tweeted a statement from him saying, “And while I would love to experience an All-Star game. I think a few of my teammates are a bit more deserving of a vote.” Kane finished first among all players in the Central Division voting, while Jagr, who will turn 44 in February, topped the Atlantic, the league said in a news release on Saturday. Ovechkin led the Metropolitan.
As part of the new format, the all-stars will take part in a three-game tournament, played in a three-on-three format, and featuring four teams representing each NHL division.
Several players, including Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson and Winnipeg’s Dustin Byfuglien, have expressed their displeasure with the new three-on-three format. Jagr has said he would prefer not to take part as it appears he was also a target of a Reddit and Twitter fuelled campaign to distort the voting.
The remaining 40 players for the January 31 game in Nashville will be determined by the league.