Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Three Career Goals

I'm not one to make light of any player who plays in the NHL. From first-line superstar to fourth-line grinder, they all have earned a contract to play in the NHL. That's more than I can boast with regards to my hockey career. The man to the left is one of those fourth-line guys who has earned a contract that, at the time of the signing, was widely panned as one of the most unnecessary contracts ever handed out. Tonight, John Scott showed that he can play a little hockey as well as throw some knuckles when needed. And a guy making a lot more money than Scott was the victim of his sniper-like ability.

Scott has played in 237 NHL games including tonight's affair against the Washington Capitals. He has tallied a mere two goals in that time while piling up some 430 penalty minutes. At 6'8" tall, he's a towering figure on the ice, and becomes even scarier when he decides to drop the gloves with someone.

But what if he used his size to score goals? How intimidating would he be flying down the wing? Maybe Washington's Brooks Orpik can tell us what that's like.
Let's get one thing straight here: Brooks Orpik's defensive play there was horrible. He literally watched Scott fire the puck top-shelf on Braden Holtby, and did nothing to try to prevent the goal in any way, shape, or form. Sure, he might have realized that it was John Scott with the puck on his stick, but he's still an NHL player. The moment you take an opponent lightly is the moment you've lost the game. Orpik committed a major sin in not defending against Scott, and it turned out that Washington lost the game tonight.

John Carlson, for his part, looked like he was auditioning for a winger position as he stood at center ice as Orpik made the pass to Evgeny Kuznetsov who promptly turned the puck over to John Scott. Carlson's positioning allowed him to pick up the second Shark into the zone, but he was horribly out of position to support his defensive partner in Orpik. I'm not sure what Trotz's rules are for defensive zone breakouts, but I can't see having your second defenceman at center ice while the puck is deep in your zone as a sound defensive strategy. But I'm no NHL head coach, so what do I know?

Just for fun and because I have the space to do so, let's take a look at John Scott's two other NHL goals for fun. Let's start with John Scott in Buffalo potting a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.
Joffrey Lupul was the player checked in the Buffalo zone, leading to the odd-man rush for the Sabres. Lupul is also the #19 who can't catch the wide-open John Scott in the slot area as he stared at the open net after Bernier had misplayed the puck seconds before. Another defensive miscue works well for Scott.

It appears there's very little video of Scott's first NHL goal available. As a member of the Minnesota Wild, Scott scored his first NHL goal on November 15, 2009, against Michael Leighton of the Carolina Hurricanes in a 5-4 shootout loss. That means that for as well-known as he was to fans as a Chicago Blackhawk, John Scott actually never scored for them. At least we have video of two of his three career goals, though.

Remember, kids: never take an opponent lightly. They play the game just like you do, and will probably have the last laugh if you don't take them seriously. Don't be an Orpik - play every shift the right way!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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