The nominees for the Bill Masterson award were named today and it’s no surprise that Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins was one of the final three players to be named. Crosby is joined by Minnesota Wild netminder Josh Harding and Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid as the other nominees for the award that honors those players “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” – courtesy of NHL.com.
When reading the description of the award it’s hard to believe that Crosby won’t win the Bill Masterson award this season. Perserverance all but defines Crosby given his bought of concussion and concussion related issues stemming from last season, only to have him return with a vengeance this season and making him all but a shoe in for the trophy.
As mentioned, Crosby’s future was unclear after battling concussion issues that saw him miss the better part of two seasons. But he returned to the game this year and was well on his way to winning the Hart Trophy as the league MVP before a broken jaw sidelined him for the final month of the season. He may still win the Hart this year, but the Masterson is likely to go his way.
Not taking anything away from the other nominees who both boast incredible comeback stories themselves, Crosby has simply had a dominating force on the game this year after enduring potential career ending concussions.
After playing in just 22 games last season, Crosby returned to put up 56 points in 36 games and was cruising to the scoring title before being sidelined with the broken jaw.
Harding’s story is one of incredible courage and deserves the recognition of being nominated. After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in November of 2012, Harding was not about to let the disease take away his hockey career. Rather he battled back to good health to the point where his first start he was brilliant in making 24 saves for the shutout.
McQuaid also had to deal with a life altering disease in Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. The report on NHL.com states that McQuaid had “one procedure removed the blood clot from his arm, while another saw the removal of a rib and some of the muscle on the right side of his neck. The operations were successful, but left McQuaid unable to work out and on blood thinners.”
Another courageous story of how one NHL player refused to accept the possibility of defeat, only to come back stronger this season. Now they are all being recognized for their courage and fine play and while both McQuaid and Harding exemplify the true characteristics of what the Bill Masterson Trophy stands for, it’s Crosby’s impact on the game that make him the clear cut winner in my opinion.
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