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Masterton Nominations

I have never thought that the Masterton Trophy nominations make sense.  They do them while the season is still underway, which allows for the possibility that something happens to change the circumstances of a nomination before the season is over.  Each team nominates a player regardless of if they have anyone who is a serious candidate.  Could you imagine if the other awards were run this way?  Does it really matter who the Columbus Blue Jackets would nominate for the Calder Trophy or the Tampa Bay Lightning might pick for Norris?  We know neither nominee has a hope of winning the award.

What is the Masterton Trophy for anyway?  The NHL says The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey, but what does that mean?  Teams seem to nominate players for being veterans or for overcoming an injury or for sticking around the game as a fringe player and eventually winning an everyday role or in some cases for being a good guy that they want to celebrate.

I have interpreted the Masterton Trophy as being an award for the player who overcomes the biggest hardship to be a significant NHL player.  This is a player who loses significant time due to injury or disease and comes back as a key player.  There is little point giving the award to a player who makes questionable impact in his comeback, which is largely a ceremonial thing where the player is allowed one last chance to play before retiring.  I try to give it to a significant player who overcame a significant hardship to succeed this year.

With that in mind I picked Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins as my choice for the award.  Bergeron lost most of the 2007/08 season to concussion.  It wasn’t clear if he would ever be the same player again, but he has been the Boston Bruins top scorer, a member of the Canadian Olympic Team and one of the better defensive forwards in the game this year.  Bergeron has recovered from the hardship and become a significant NHL player.

The hockey writers in Boston disagree with me.  They nominated Mark Recchi for the award.  Recchi is a future Hall of Famer, who at age 42 is the third highest scorer on the team.  He has played a long career, which clearly shows dedication to hockey, but what hardship did he overcome?

At any rate, here are the Masterton nominees (or as many as I could find - some have not been announced yet)

Anaheim - Teemu Selanne (he won the 2006 Masterton and cannot win it a second time - so I do not understand his choice)
Atlanta - Jim Slater
Boston - Mark Recchi
Buffalo - Paul Gaustad
Calgary - Craig Conroy
Carolina - Rod Brind’Amour
Chicago - Brent Sopel
Colorado - Matt Hendricks
Columbus - Jared Boll
Dallas -
Detroit - Tomas Holmstrom
Edmonton -
Florida - Bryan Allen
Los Angeles - Brad Richardson
Minnesota - Guillaume Latendresse
Montreal - Jaroslav Halak
Nashville - Joel Ward
New Jersey - Patrik Elias
NY Islanders -
NY Rangers - Chris Drury
Ottawa - Matt Carkner
Philadelphia - Michael Leighton
Phoenix - Vernon Fiddler
Pittsburgh - Bill Guerin
St Louis - Erik Johnson
San Jose - Jed Ortmeyer
Tampa Bay - Kurtis Foster
Toronto - Jonas Gustavsson
Vancouver - Henrik Sedin
Washington - Jose Theodore

If you know of any other nominations, please leave a comment with a link and they will be updated.

At this point, I would think the best Masterton picks (after Bergeron) in order are Kurtis Foster, Brian Pothier (Carolina has not nominated him) and Fernando Pisani.  Each looked as though their career may be over, but each has come back.  They are ranked in order of their achievements in the NHL this year.  Two of their respective teams have announced nominees yet, so it will be interesting to see which of these players actually get nominated.

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com