Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Adieu, John Scott

Posted By on 02.28.12 at 02:13 PM

The Blackhawks made a trade for a much-needed defenseman at the deadline Monday, bringing in Johnny Oduya. In the process they gave up on John Scott, trading him to the New York Rangers.

"Big John" Scott is 6-foot-8 and 270 pounds and was known as one of the fiercest fighters in the NHL. Yet he was a jolly if not a gentle giant, and I know I won't be the only one to miss him.

Scott is one of the most effective enforcers in the league, and the Hawks needed that protection for their emphasis on slighter, flashier skills players, like Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp. But there was a more considered aspect to Scott, as when he was quoted last year by the Tribune as saying, "I don't think people understand the nerves and the kind of mindset that fighters go through. I've stayed up nights not sleeping a wink because I know I'm going to fight someone the next day. It's one of those situations where it's not natural to go out and fight every day or to have that constant threat of a fight, even though it might not come."

He was equally thoughtful—and equally mournful—on learning of the trade.

The sad fact is Scott simply wasn't a complete hockey player. While he offered personal protection to the Hawks' skill players, he was also a liability on the ice, whether playing defense or forward. In the Hawks' home win over the Blues last week, Scott was teamed early on left wing to squire Kane and Jonathan Toews, but he put the Hawks in a hole at the end of the first period when he was slow to trail the Blues' Andy McDonald to the goal, and he scored. The Hawks came back to win with three goals in the third period, but that sort of miscue was simply too frequent for Scott, and in the end the Hawks made the decision to bring in a steadier, more reliable defenseman to help their playoff push.

So farewell, John Scott. New York is going to love you. And you'll be missed here, just not as much as you might have been if you'd been a better overall player.

I'm also not excited about trading Roger Miller's "Big Bad John" for ELO's "Do Ya" as stadium break music, but that's the sort of deal a team sometimes has to make to compete.

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