Pittsburgh Penguins: Rob Scuderi, Your Metropolitan Division All-Star Captain?


Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi continues to rise up the All-Star vote leaderboard despite his stock continuing to fall on the ice.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi and Arizona Coyotes forward John Scott might be NHL All-Stars in 2016. Why?

When the NHL announced that the 2016 All-Star game would be a 3-on-3 tournament between the top players from each of the four divisions, they also mentioned that the fans would be allowed to vote on who would captain each of those divisions.

Undeterred by previous fan attempts to stuff the ballot, such as last year’s Latvian surge for Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons, the NHL has allowed the voting to be rigged once again.

John Scott is leading that fan vote two weeks into the month of December.

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The very same John Scott who has just 5 goals and 6 assists in his eight year career. The 6’8 enforcer with an engineering degree whose attempt to drop the gloves with sniper Phil Kessel started a line brawl in Toronto, among other things.

John Scott representing the Pacific Division as it’s captain for a 3-on-3 All-Star tournament is not without it’s irony, however. As Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski notes, “watching John Scott lug his ass up and down the rink in a 3-on-3 tournament with the best offensive players in the world ranks near the top” of his reasons to care about the All-Star game.

I could think of few players less suited for non-stop 3-on-3 hockey. Except one, perhaps.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi has seen a campaign arise to get him elected to the festivities as well.

With the hashtag #ScuderiASG, the internet has worked it’s magic to push Scuderi to 20th overall in the voting. He sits just behind Penguins star Evgeni Malkin who is 19th. Sidney Crosby is 12th in the voting.

The 36 year old defenseman has four assists and is plus-four on the season despite an increasing number of defensive lapses. Age has certainly caught up to Scuderi. With turnovers and inconsistency dominating his game, he’s also grown prone to a nasty habit of backing away from oncoming attackers.

Right now Scuderi is specializing in uncontested shots on Marc-Andre Fleury’s net.

The potential of seeing Scuderi and Scott on the ice against the likes of Vladimir Tarasenko and Tyler Seguin will create compelling television for some. I’m one of those people. I want to see the stars of the league stick handle and accelerate around them.

I want to see Rob Scuderi and John Scott in the skills competition.

Last season John Scott was asked by San Jose Mercury News writer David Pollak if he could get up to speed in time for his first game as a San Jose Shark. He replied that “my game speed isn’t that high, so it won’t be too hard.”

Could Scott finish the NHL Fastest Skater Competition with a respectable time?

How quickly could Scuderi skate the cones in the NHL Skills Challenge Relay? If they are voted into the All-Star game, we might actually see the answer to these questions.

There are others who see this movement for John Scott and Rob Scuderi as a disgrace to the game. That list includes Nashville Predators general manager David Poile, who called Scott’s position atop the leaderboard “not an appropriate situation”.

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If you are the Pittsburgh Penguins, would you really want Rob Scuderi as the ambassador of your franchise over the likes of Crosby or Malkin? If we’re going off of this season’s play, you could argue that no Pens player deserves to be voted in ahead of Marc-Andre Fleury.

While John Scott’s position seems firm, it looks unlikely that Scuderi will surpass his teammates and Alex Ovechkin.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying watching the league squirm a little.