Top 3 slumping teams that need a John Scott boost
A good ol’ scrap can raise a team from the depths of almost certain defeat, or boost them to excel against dominant opponents. The NHL – and many of the older pundits – may be trying to remove fighting, and the role of the enforcer, from the game.
But for me, one of the reasons that I got into the great sport is because two players are allowed to drop the gloves to stick up for their team mate, to try and inspire them to victory – especially in the very heated and physical match-ups against divisional rivals and playoff bogey teams.
Sure there’s the concussion argument, which is a valid one, but both players opt into the fight and they don’t really take that many hits to the head. Checks to the head other dangerous game misconducts should be eradicated due to the concussions caused, but fighting is often something that two fighters consent to do as much as boxers or UFC fighters do.
The enforcers aren’t just there to pick up fighting majors, they’re there to support their team, protect their stars and youngsters, whilst grinding down the opposition’s more dangerous players – in terms of skill and physicality.
It’s still incredible to see the respect and admiration from the bench – as they tap their sticks and collect dropped gloves – for the man who just fought for their team.
Make or Break
As Henrik “The King” Lundqvist has often said: the post-All-Star schedule is the most crucial time for the playoff hopefuls – many of whom have mega-slumped since the Christmas break.
So why not bring in fan-favourite, All-Star hero, and all-round great guy, John Scott to raise moral? His obvious likeability would boost his team mates and the fans.
Last season, for the San Jose Sharks, Scott was officially penalised for two fights, which both came against divisional rivals.
His fight in Anaheim, against Jackman in late October, surged the Sharks into scoring four unanswered goals thus winning 4-1 and snapping the Ducks’ seven game win streak. Then he fought Derek Dorsett to encourage a 6-2 win in Vancouver.
Now Scott’s not just a veteran enforcer, he’s also loved by almost every NHL fan – whether that’s for good reasons or for bad – he’s a superstar right now.
Top 3 Teams that need a Boost
3. Dallas Stars, 4th worst form at 3-6-1, 12pts safe
They’re 3-6-1 in their last ten and all of their players have slumped recently. Defending the Big D have recorded that only five of 21 Dallas players have actually played well recently. The Stars rank 20th in the league in fights per game (0.22) according to ESPN, most likely because their high flying first half of the season has left little need to boost morale.
So maybe a couple games of John Scott grinding out opposition stars, and fighting for his team, would help the team get their feel-good factor back – lord knows that Scott would bring piles of it with him.
2. Minnesota Wild, 2nd worst form at 2-6-2, 1pt from Wild Card
The Wild have, at times been, very inconsistent this season – injured and out of form star players like Zach Parise and Devan Dubnyk being a major cause – but they’re still looking good to push for one of the Western’s Wild Card spots.
The sudden return to form by Nashville and Colorado has been a big cause in Minnesota dropping out of the playoff spots. But a 2-6-2 record is terrible, one that needs improving if they are to become contenders.
Devan Dubnyk has been on fire in Minnesota’s last four games. He’s conceded 1-2-2-1 in the last four contests – prior to the All-Star break – but, Wild’s record in that time is 0-3-1.
ESPN also records that the Xcel Energy Center residents don’t tend to drop the gloves very often, amounting to a fight every 0.16 games. Maybe a resident enforcer would help turn the team’s spirits around.
The forwards clearly need something to get to them back to playing well. Bring in John Scott who can protect the stars, allowing them to play their game, and – if he needs to – fight the opposition to get the crowd going.
1. Montreal Canadiens, worst form at 2-7-1, 3pt from Wild Card
It just so happens that the team who has the worst record post-Christmas and is most in need of a feel-good factor is the team that already own the rights to the All-Star MVP.
So Montreal need something big to improve their game as it’s not just inferior goal keeping. All of their players have struggled immensely without Price backing them up. Even star defenseman P.K. Subban, by his own admission, has been criminal at times.
Minus the reigning Vezina winner, Montreal still have a strong enough team to make a decent push for the playoffs, they just need someone to rally them into playing solid hockey.
Montreal really should bring big John Scott up from the minors and see how much he can change their team who, to be honest, are just sinking further and further with each passing game.
Time to shake it up and utilise the player that was deemed “necessary” in that unorthodox – blatantly League imposed – three team trade that ripped Scott, and his family, away from their home and top league hockey.
If Montreal don’t make the most of having John Scott then it becomes even more obvious that the NHL purposely screwed (stronger words are due but we’re keeping it clean here) the 6’8’’ enforcer over. They would also miss a golden opportunity to cash in on the fan love currently surrounding the underdog hero.
Follow Ice Nation UK for all the best hockey talk!