Chicago Blackhawks defenseman John Scott, left, and Los Angeles Kings right wing Kevin Westgarth fight during the second period of a game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Sometimes it's hard to separate the criticism of a player from the player himself. Whenever we complained about John Scott, it didn't have much to do with Scott himself. After all, he is what he is. A severely limited player who can't really do anything but occasionally punch another player in the face, usually without any reason or results. He's basically a sideshow. But it's not his fault he was put in the lineup far too often, unless of course he was threatening people with a gun or had pictures of the "dead girl, live boy" variety. He is what he is. The angst comes from those who decided to use him.
Positives: Gimme a sec on this one.....hold no, I'll get this.....nope, nothing comes to mind. Broke a dude's nose, which was kind of funny. Had some pretty hilarious quips to the press I guess. Other than that? Yeah, nothing.
Negatives: If we're just talking about the player here, the fact that he can't skate and has no hands led to a lot of useless hockey. Couldn't be trusted with more than five minutes when the Hawks defense had injury emergencies, and when at forward it was even worse. While they love to talk about a "physical presence", that physicality doesn't matter if you're arriving to the scene five seconds too late, as Scott was. But the main criticism of Scott is that he was used at all, which isn't down to him. Like Ron Burgundy and the telemprompter, if you give Joel Quenneville this kind of tool that doesn't really help anything, he will use it. We saw it with Matt Walker two years ago. Scott's presence in the lineup caused far too many people to have to skate far too many minutes to make up for the minutes he couldn't take. With the Hawks up-tempo system, it's vital for them to rotate through four lines as much as they can. And they couldn't do that with Scott in the lineup. This is probably part of the reason why they blew so many 3rd period leads, simple fatigue. But it's not Scott's fault that he can't take those minutes, he's always been that type of player who couldn't take a regular shift. The fault lies with those who brought him here and those who used him. After all, when your puppy eats your Sports Illustrated before you've read it, he's just being a dog. It's you who didn't teach him better.
Contract Status: Inexplicably signed for one more year at $575K.
Keep Him Or Ship Him: To anyone with at least three neurons between the ears, this one's easy. Scott should be bought out, leaving only a 250K hit on the cap but no longer taking up one of the 50 contracts you're allowed to have. He at least should be stashed in the minors, but that would take a spot away from a prospect who could used the ice time more. But it's unlikely that Stan Bowman would admit this mistake, as glaring as it is. He's already talking up Scott to improve over the summer to be a regular d-man, which simply isn't going to happen. There's no reason for it, but Scott will almost certainly be on the roster next season. Our only hope can be that he doesn't dress for more than five games, and none in the playoffs. Because that's a joke.