Ever since last year’s John Scott spectacle took over All-Star festivities, many in the hockey world have wondered if the NHL might change the way players can be voted in by fans.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, that won’t be the case.
“I’m told there’s going to be no substantive changes to All-Star balloting,” Friedman said during Saturday’s Headlines segment on Hockey Night in Canada. (Watch the segment in its entirety at the top of this post.)
“So if you were expecting that this kind of write-in thing would not be able to happen again,” he continued, “I’ve been told no substantive changes.”
Scott was thrust into the spotlight when a grassroots effort to get him to Nashville went viral and resulted in league commissioner Gary Bettman eventually allowing him to take part in the All-Star Game as the fans’ write-in candidate of choice.
The veteran journeyman, of course, went on to be named the game’s MVP in a good-news moment that saw his teammates rally around him and had fans chanting his name.
There’s even a movie in the works.
Friedman opined that the outcome of the fan vote, though not what the NHL initially intended, turned out well in the end.
“It was controversial, to say the least, but it worked out very well for John Scott and the league,” he said. “It was a great show in Nashville.”
Kelly Hrudey on the other hand, did not agree, calling the whole thing “a disaster.”
“I know the NHL thinks it was a great PR move, but I think it was a terrible decision,” he told Saturday’s panel. “I think it chips at the history of what the All-Star Game is and the importance that the players, for many years, have cherished that honour to go. And to make a mockery of it was wrong.”