John Scott weighs in on feud between Joe Thornton, Ryan Reaves

Scott talks about a text from Joe Thornton on his podcast.

After retiring in 2016, John Scott has found an outlet for his unique hockey perspective: since July of 2018, Scott has hosted a podcast called Dropping the Gloves, where he talks about a blend of hockey news and his own NHL experiences.

In the the April 19 episode, he weighs in on the Columbus Blue Jackets’ victory by discussing his own time under Coach John Tortorella while they were both with the New York Rangers organization. To close out the episode, Scott also speaks about the first round drama between his former San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton and Ryan Reaves of the Vegas Golden Knights.

The feud between the two began after Thornton hit Tomas Nosek high in the second period of Game 3. Thornton was eventually suspended one game for the hit, but in his post-game comments, his initial reaction was that the hit wasn’t a big deal.

“I honestly thought I barely touched him,” Thornton said Sunday. “He just came right back; it was just one of those plays that it is what it is. I think my son hits me like that six times a day, it’s just a weird position to put himself in. That’s all.”

Reaves responded that Thornton may need glasses, due to his age.

When Game 4 rolled around and Thornton was, in fact, watching from the press box, he texted his former teammate about Reaves. Here’s the story as Scott told it on Dropping the Gloves, with light editing for clarity and length:

[Editor’s note: Bolded text comes from his podcasting partner, who is just named as Tim from Web Canopy Studio in previous episodes]

I’m sitting around the kitchen the other day, getting ready to watch the games, it’s — well, it would’ve been early afternoon, and I get a text come across my phone, and it’s Jumbo, the big guy, Joe Thornton. I go, “Whoa!” Y’know, Jumbo texts every once in awhile, but I don’t expect it. It’s during the playoffs, it was before Game 4. He was suspended, obviously, and he shoots me a text — let me pull it up right now [...]

He goes — this is verbatim, from the big guy, Jumbo —

Is he in your phone as Jumbo?

Yeah. Well, that’s his name. And my name in his phone is “Big,” because we were thinking of nicknames and he’s like, “Your nickname’s gotta be Big! It’s gotta be Big!” So I would be coming around the room, and the Sharks locker room is strange — their practice locker room, where we spent most of our time — it’s got two levels. The gym is upstairs and the locker room/lounge is downstairs. So I’d be coming into the lounge to get changed and I’d hear, “BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG!” and I’d be like, “JUMBOOOOOOO!” It was great. I always knew where Jumbo was, and he’d, from the shower, “BIG, GET IN HEREEEE!” I’m like, “I’M COMING JUMBOOO!”

[...] So I get this text. I go, “Cool, Jumbo’s texted me.”

He goes, “I told Reaves that the other night, he would never would’ve ran around with big John Scott on the Sharkies. I told him that Big treated him like a puppy dog.”

Jumbo’s funny. If you know him, you know that would be exactly something that would come out of his mouth.

But I thought that was cool. I was like, okay, this guy is about to watch Game 4 and he sends me this text — that’s just the kind of cool guy he is. And he’s like, “We need to get you out on the team next year.” And I was like, “Jumbo, I don’t know if I can.”

He’s like, “I’ll get you a spot. Call Dougie, we’ll get it worked out.” Dougie’s the GM, Doug Wilson.

It was just cool. I thought that was a cool little story where arguably one of the best players ever sends you a text. He’s like, “Listen, all we need is a good six minutes out of ya, that’s it.” I’m like, “I’m coming, Jumbo. I’m gonna play Game 4, I’ll beat Reaves up and I’ll be done.” He’s like, “I love it. I love it.”

[...] It got me fired up, talking with Jumbo, because of what Ryan Reaves said about him the other day, saying how he’s old and he needs glasses and this and that. [He sighs] It’s like, disrespect. Y’know? To treat one of, if not the greatest passer of all time, who still puts up 40-50 points a year, who’s 37 ... he’s one of the best players ever. Top ten in scoring ever, I think might be top five right now? It’s just the lack of respect.

I get it, it’s the playoffs, you’re trying to get under his skin, but show a little class, Reaves. Like c’mon.

There’s certain guys that just kind of seem untouchable and I think Thornton’s one of them.

Yeah, Thornton is untouchable, Marleau is untouchable, Luongo — the guys who have been around, who have earned the respect? You let those guys be, you know what I mean? It’s not classy. I don’t like it. When I heard it, I shook my head. I was like, “Gosh, I wish I was on the Sharks.” Oh, I would’ve knocked his block off.

Reaves is a very, very tough customer, don’t get me wrong. Watch every one of his fights. Go back and watch ‘em, and you count the amount of punches that he lands. I will guarantee you, in a fight, if he throws five to ten punches, he lands zero, 90 percent of the time. His main move is, “I’m strong, I’m gonna punch your shoulder, and when you’re off-balance, I’m gonna throw another punch and throw you to the ice and I win the fight, ‘cause I’m super tough.” That’s his move.

I fought him. That’s what he did to me. I punched him a couple times, we were going back and forth, I threw a punch and he threw me to the ice. I was like, “Really fun fight, Reavesie. Like, awesome.” Then he wouldn’t fight me after that.

I like the guy. I think he plays the game hard. He’s a good player. I think he’s the toughest guy in the league. Even though he doesn’t land any punches, he’s tough. He’s like super, super tough. But just don’t talk about the legends.

I get it, it’s the playoffs, but you could’ve worded it better. Jumbo could just skate circles around you. I don’t get it. He’s so talented, such a cool guy, and you just say something silly like that. I don’t get it. You know what grinds my gears? Guys who don’t show respect.

It’s clear that Scott’s time in San Jose meant a lot to him and that Thornton played a role in that. Two other episodes of Dropping the Gloves focus on Scott’s time in San Jose, including an episode reminiscing with former Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock.

But the story also offers insight into who Joe Thornton is as a teammate and as a person. In a year when the re-acquisition of Micheal Haley is still controversial, this story offers Thornton’s perspective — whether right or wrong — on the need for those players.

Scott also backs up Evander Kane’s comments on Reaves, who said Reaves’ game looks like “he thinks it’s the WWE” and that he didn’t land a punch when fighting Kane in Game 4.