John Scott returned to the St. John’s IceCaps this weekend for a pair of games against the visiting Toronto Marlies. The games were the first the forward in nearly two-and-a-half weeks, not counting his MVP performance at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville last month. In the time since, Scott and his wife Danielle welcomed twin daughters to their family.
©Jeff Parsons/St. John’s IceCaps
It’s not an uncommon story in these parts. Dad spends a couple of weeks with his family, enjoying the time together, and then heads back to work at a location a long, long distance away.
For John Scott, the work is not offshore, not out west, not up in Muskrat Falls, but nevertheless he knows the feeling.
Scott left his growing family behind in Michigan this week to return to work at Mile One Centre, playing for the American Hockey League’s St. John’s IceCaps. His game against the Toronto Marlies Saturday was his first in nearly two-and-a-half weeks, not counting that NHL all-star date he did late last month in Nashville.
“I hadn’t even skated in probably a week-and-a-half … and I only got in here early this morning around 3:30, so it was tough,” admitted Scott after playing in the IceCaps’ 3-1 win over the Toronto Marlies Saturday. “But it felt good to get out there with the guys, and kind of cruise around.”
Scott even got some front-of-the-net presence power-play time in Sunday afternoon’s rematch with the Marlies — not his first time with such duty; he once had that role in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres — but mainly saw fourth-line minutes over the weekend.
However, he got first-class treatment from the Mile One faithful Saturday: every time he touched the ice he was cheered, with an MVP chant thrown in for good measure, a nice reminder of the honours he took at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.
He knows the applause was mostly for the way he conducted himself through all that all-star business, and the endless debate on the matter. Should he or shouldn’t he play? Will he or will he not go? Why wouldn’t he?
The cheer was mostly for John Scott, the man, as opposed to John Scott, the behemoth hockey player.
And he appreciates it.
“I think everyone realizes the circumstances I was under and kind of the whole situation, and that people think I handled it the right way and did the right things,” said Scott. “I always pride myself on being a stand-up guy, doing the right things and it’s nice the fans see that and applaud something (that happened) off the ice as well as on the ice.”
His treatment at Saturday’s game was a large-scale rendition of what he’s experienced since Nashville — people basically telling him that they’re happy with how he acted and how the whole play turned out.
It’s what he heard all along his travels back to St. John’s from Traverse City, Mich., where his family now lives. At six-foot-eight, he’s hard to miss or mistake for someone else, plus folks here know his story — and his back story. Therefore, shyness not being a widespread Newfoundland trait, he’s again been made to feel welcome on his return here, starting with that early-morning ride in the back seat of a taxi from the airport in Torbay.
“It’s nice talking to people … even the cabbies (were saying) ‘Glad to have you here,’” he said, as someone more accustomed to dealing with bulletproof dividers in cabs as opposed to open space between driver and passenger
“I actually like it here. It’s a good little community. I’m happy to be back”
The most wonderful thing is that as great as his participation in the all-star game turned out, as heartening as the reception and public perception of him has become, it all ranks second — by a very long shot — on the list of good things that have happened in the life of John Scott so far this year.
At the top of the chart of happy happenings are Estelle Vera and Sofia Leland, the healthy twin daughters his wife, Danielle, delivered 10 days ago in Michigan, sisters for Eva and Gabrielle, little bundles to provide even more joy to a big, big man.
The twins’ names, by the way, are not some sort of homage to Estelle Getty, who played Sophia Petrillo on the Golden Girls sit-com a few decades ago — when it came to TV in his youth, the 33-year-old Scott was probably more into the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles than the goings-ons of south Florida retirees in the 1980s.
“Maybe my wife does (like the Golden Girls), who knows? But she likes the old-school, beautiful names and she’s kind of religious, too, so we looked up the names of saints,” said Scott, when talking about the name-picking process.
He said he, “had a couple of vetoes,” that went unused when making the choices, but could be eventually be exercised as he’s still hoping there might be a son in his future.
“I’ll pick the boy’s name, yeah,” he said, knowing full well that possibility is dependant on a lot of mutual decisions.
And with that in mind — and like any wise man on Valentine’s Day weekend — Scott acknowledged the final word belongs to the head of the household hierarchy.
“She’s the boss.”