Scott’s Removal a Bush League Move by the NHL

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A Bush League Move by the NHL

Say what you want about John Scott. I certainly took issue of him trying to pick on Phil Kessel during a pre-season game in 2013. But the latest move to prevent the now Montreal Canadien to appear in this year’s all-star game has to go as one of the lowest points in NHL history. Yes, even lower than his election to this year’s game in Nashville.

Scott was recently named by fans as the Captain of the Pacific Division all-stars. But he is not what you normally consider an all-star. Scott rarely scores goals or makes plays, he doesn’t block shots or takes away scoring opportunities. He is what we in the hockey world like to call an enforcer. These guys are more known for dropping their gloves and duking it out with their opponents. While some feel these types of players do nothing to promote hockey, their character and demeanour attracts the average Joe, namely you and I. You know, the ones that actually pay money to watch them play. It can be said that Scott doesn’t deserve to be in the All-Star, present company included. But this is what you get when you leave the rosters up to those with no vested interest.

Scott being named as a captain of an all-star team is a punch to the gut — deservedly in my opinion — to those who say the NHL does nothing for its fans. They are the ones who called on the league to remove Scott. They don’t care how it is done so as long as the ends justify the means. So much for integrity. The next time you hear them say they speak for the true hockey fan, just keep in mind that they are sharpening their knives as they say it.

The NHL has tried every avenue to remove Scott from the All-Star game, sending him to the minors, and now Arizona trading him to the Habs. This to me is a bush league move by a professional sports organization. The NHL has no guts to accept the results. If Scott’s election to the all-star game is a problem then by all means do something to fix it so that it never happens again. But to not accept and acknowledge the fan’s decision is no different than pissing on someone’s grave. It is appalling and outrageous. So much for the customer being always right. That’s a thought I never gave any credence but it will be a test for those who stand by it.

Also see:

Outsiders Strike Again
People Don’t Watch Sports, Fans Do
Leafs Nation Needs a Housecleaning

UPDATE (January 19, 2016):

Sportsnet is reporting that John Scott will indeed be in the All-Star Game.

UPDATE (January 31, 2016):

John Scott and his Pacific Division team wins the All-Star 3-on-3 tournament. Scott scores two goals and is named MVP.

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How to Determine Who’s MVP Worthy

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How to Determine Who's MVP Worthy

There is lots of talk about who should win the American League Most Valuable Player. Even Don Cherry is weighing in. He and just about everybody else, including me, believe Blue Jays 3rd Baseman Josh Donaldson is the front-runner to be the American League Most Valuable Player. Donaldson would be the second Blue Jay to win the award and the first since George Bell in 1987.

Donaldson has been on fire since he was acquired from Oakland in the off-season. He has not only hit home runs and driven in runs, he has done so in situations where the team needed to score to win the game or at least stay alive. Add to it, Donaldson has been superb in the field. Take his diving catch in the stands in Tampa Bay back on June 24th for example. Those things have allowed the Blue Jays to challenge the New York Yankees for the American League East pennant and Donaldson to supplant Jose Bautista as The Guy in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse.

While Donaldson has put up the numbers to prove he is MVP worthy, there are some who feel Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels should win it because… well, he’s Mike Trout. Seriously. It seems the name alone is enough for a player to be declared the best in the league, ignoring the numbers and the contributions the player makes. If you apply that way of thinking in the NHL, Sidney Crosby would be the Hart Trophy winner each and every season and the Habs would be Stanley Cup contenders each and every year. And believe me, there are fans of the Canadiens who are stupid enough to believe it.

What this also show is numbers are only part of the story. There are other intangibles that need to be considered. Things that can’t be measured in numbers like saving runs at critical times, being a leader on the field, and how his presence in the line up makes his teammates better. If the MVP race was determined by head-to-head meetings, Donaldson would win it hands down based on what went on over the weekend. But those three games do not make you baseball’s best player. If you want to go by the numbers, as of August 24th, Donaldson is hitting .302 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. Trout is batting .297 with 33 dingers and 73 runs driven in. Then you factor in WAR (wins above replacement), a little statistical element designed to put a value in the player’s contribution, where Donaldson has a slight edge at 7.2 compared to Trout’s 7.0 according to FanGraphs.com.

I remember when Blue Jays pitcher Pat Hentgen and Yankees hurler Andy Pettite were going up for the Cy Young award in 1996. Baseball analyst Peter Gammons felt Pettite should be the favourite even though he trailed Hentgen in just about every pitching category. Gammons believed in the fact that because Pettite was pitching for a contending team in the Yankees and Hentgen was on a Blue Jays team sitting last in the division, it was enough to give Pettitte the Cy Young. Fortunately, the baseball writers collectively used their common sense and Hentgen ended up winning the award. Gammons may have had his ego bruised as a result but his brain fart did little to put a dent into his high baseball IQ.

But back to Donaldson and Trout. The MVP race in the American League is far from over. Gregg Zaun feels Trout should win over Donaldson only because of the position he plays in Centerfield, a position deemed more defensive-minded (Shortstop, Catcher, 2nd Base) than say at 3rd Base. But there are a lot of things to factor in when choosing a league MVP and they have just as much weight as playing on a winning team or makes dazzling plays. You have to be careful how you base your argument for MVP. I don’t think you can narrow it down to one or even two things. Simply put, there is no formula to picking a winner. Those who had Trout’s name already on the ballot at the start of the season better find some Liquid Paper.

Also see:

Don’t Judge a Game by the Scoreboard
Why We Like to Lay Blame and Not Give Credit
Everyone’s a Critic