First, let's get the business out of the way: the 3-on-3 format absolutely works. The novelty has clearly not worn off of the NHL's newest overtime layout, this time repurposed for the All-Star Game. Some tweaks may be needed in the future — because really, offsides in an All-Star Game? — but it's clear that this game mattered more now with the intensity of the 3-on-3 evident in almost every shift played.
The real heart of this weekend, however, is John Scott. What originally was a grassroots effort to troll the NHL for allowing fans to vote in players went from a mere annoyance to the league to a full-blown PR nightmare. The Scott saga has had every twist, turn, up and down in the book, yet somehow it became the NHL's most uplifting story of the year. Scott was welcomed with open arms all weekend long, from fan signings to his big media scrum and his standing ovations on both nights of events.
The only way this could have ended was with an MVP trophy in one hand and a million dollar check in the other for Scott. It almost didn't happen either, as like before, the NHL kept John Scott's name off the ballot when it came to fan voting for the game's MVP. Searching the #VoteMVPScott hashtag on Twitter, however, would tell you all you needed to know about who the fans thought deserved the accolade the most.
Scott didn't have too shabby of a tournament either. In fact, he was the star, not just all weekend long, but all game long on Sunday. In total, he had two goals, one mock fight with Patrick Kane, and he dunked on Jeremy Roenick so hard we almost thought this was the NBA All-Star Game instead.
The weekend belongs to Scott, no questions asked and rightfully so. Scott walks away from his time in Nashville with a million dollars (potentially), a new car, two goals scored, many hearts won, and not only a victory as the Pacific Division captain, a win over something the NHL so desperately tried to stop.
John Scott might never play another game at the professional level, but that's OK. This weekend was his moment to ride off into the sunset like the NHL folk hero he became.
Atlantic Division 4, Metropolitan Division 3
Right yes, there was other hockey happening on Sunday that we should probably mention. The first game of the All-Star tournament got us started between the two teams in the Eastern Conference, the Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions. Kris Letang got the first goal of the day for the Metropolitan team, but his teammate from Pittsburgh gave us one of the best goals of the tournament.
Ultimately, Evgeni Malkin's goal wouldn't stand up as the Metropolitan Division game winner, as the Atlantic stormed back for two straight goals. P.K. Subban netted the final tally of the game and despite a tense last few moments, the Atlantic took home the first win of the evening thanks to some really solid defense.
Yes, defense in a 3-on-3 All-Star tournament. You heard that right.
Pacific Division 9, Central Division 6
This game had more of last year's high-scoring affair, thanks to the 15 combined goals in the 20-minute match. Hometown favorite James Neal put the Central up first early, but the cheers for the Nashville forward were drowned away when John Scott drove home his first goal of the game.
Six goals were scored in the first half, with three split by each team. The Pacific then pulled away from the Central in the final 10 minutes of the game with four straight goals. The Central were able to cut the lead down to two on their next two tallies, but it was the Pacific's game all the way as the home crowd had to say goodbye to their Predators.
Edmonton's Taylor Hall netted a pair along with Scott, and, yes, goaltending did make an appearance in this game thanks to the Ducks' John Gibson!
Pacific Division 1, Atlantic Division 0
Ocean puns aside, this game was a pure goaltenders duel, and in an All-Star game no less! Roberto Luongo did what he does best for the Florida Panthers and made some quite remarkable saves, especially considering most goaltenders like to take this weekend a bit more on the relaxed side.
Luongo displaying a classic goaltending style. pic.twitter.com/qnlnoD3LFB— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) February 1, 2016
Even so, Corey Perry was able to crack the next netminder in line in Ben Bishop for the game's only score. Perry almost had two, if it wasn't for a coach's challenge that ruled goaltender interference on Hall.
Yes, this All-Star tournament really had it all, folks.
From then on out, it was just a waiting game. There were rumblings of course when Scott's name didn't appear as one of the three options for the NHL's MVP of the game, but they didn't matter in the end anyway. Scott was the tournament MVP, as it should be, and the Pacific won an All-Star Game that finally seems to have gotten on the good side of the reset button.