Saturday, February 10, 2007

Masterton Trophy Pick

The Bill Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. In some way, it is a lifetime achievement award to a player who has overcome hardship to carry out or continue a successful career.

This year, I would award this trophy to Owen Nolan of the Phoenix Coyotes. Nolan has had an injury plagued career. In fact, it looked like it would be over when he had knee surgery in 2005. His knee was not sufficiently healed to play in the NHL last season. The Phoenix Coyotes took a chance on him this year, despite the fact that he had not played a hockey game since 2004. After two injury plagued seasons, where most people would have announced retirement, Nolan is back. He is making a solid contribution to the Coyotes and currently is fourth in team scoring with 31 points.

The other player worthy of mention is Phil Kessel of the Boston Bruins. He is a rookie who missed a month of play due to testicular cancer surgery. While cancer is serious, his was caught early enough to not be life threatening and he hasn't had a long enough career to display the perseverance and dedication that Nolan has - fighting through various injuries and two years on the sidelines to come back and make a positive impact to his team.

Owen Nolan has worked very hard to get back to the NHL and play at a high level, thus he is the best pick for the Masterton Trophy this season.


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