Last Tuesday afternoon, the Ottawa Senators announced that André Benoit had been voted by the Ottawa media as the team's nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
If you're not familiar with the trophy, here's the Wikipedia description:
"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. The winner is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association after each team nominates one player in competition. It is often awarded to a player who has come back from career- or even life-threatening illness or injury."
Although André Benoit has more than earned the nomination, I took a fair and balanced approach to considering Ottawa's other potential candidates.
- Plus: He and his wife Caitlin were recently introduced as the new honorary chairs of Roger's House, an Ottawa charity which provides a home away from home for sick children and their families.
- Minus: Neil misinterpreted the meaning of "home away from home" and now every child is locked in the penalty box.
- Plus: Received a major boost to his career after playing on a line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis in Tampa Bay.
- Minus: He still needs a boost to get over the boards.
- Minus: Fans would have liked for him to continue last year's success on the first line alongside Spezza and Michalek.
- Plus: If fans liked it, then they shoulda put a ring on it.
- Plus: By securing an NHL job with Ottawa as an enforcer, Kassian has risen above his complete inability to contribute offensively.
- Minus: Has not risen off the bench.
Guillaume "Guyet" Latendresse:
- Plus: Returned after a case of whiplash and recurring concussion issues.
- Minus: Also returned with a case of beer and recurring skating issues.
- Minus: Hasn't been able to secure a role in the lineup despite injuries to other players.
- Plus: Has been able to secure the world record for most "y'knows" in a minute.
- Plus: Persevered through several injuries.
- Minus: Has several more to persevere through.
- Plus: Michalek was so enthusiastic to hear of the lockout ending that he asked the driver of his Czech league team's bus to drop him off in the middle of nowhere.
- Minus: The bus driver didn't realize that Michalek meant Kanata.
- Minus: Hasn't quite met fans' expectations after coming over from the Swedish Elite League.
- Plus: To be fair, it's not possible to fill Daniel Alfredsson's shoes while he's still wearing them.
- Plus: Has been compared to former Ottawa Senator fan-favourite Mike Fisher.
- Minus: Not for his community work, but for his shot accuracy.
- Minus: Has missed most of the season with a back injury.
- Plus: Showed dedication to the organization when he complied after the team asked him to bulk up last summer.
- Minus: Took it as an open invitation to eat nothing but cheesecake.
- Plus: After having sustained a hip injury in the AHL, Cowen wasn't able to collect his NHL paycheck, but he was able to dedicate a lot of his time to local charities.
- Minus: Local charities have pleaded with Cowen to stop coming around begging for money.
- Plus: Has logged big minutes for Ottawa this year despite his age.
- Minus: Has logged bigger minutes Googling "Seniors discounts in Pittsburgh."
- Plus: Zibanejad overcame a potentially life-threatening health risk.
- Minus: My mistake. Apparently horse meat isn't actually life-threatening.
- Plus: Has solidified himself as one of the best possession players on the team, according to his impressive CORSI and Fenwick numbers.
- Minus: "Doesn't want it enough" according to Gord from Carleton Place.
- Plus: Has made a miraculous return from a gruesome achilles injury that should have kept him out all season.
- Minus: His recovery is less impressive once you consider his game has no Achilles heel.
- Plus: Eric outperformed expectations when the team thrust him into a large defensive role.
- Minus: Could show more dedication to the team by changing his name to Erik.
- Minus: Due to both injuries and a poor play, he's fallen down the depth chart, leaving him as the team's 8th best defenceman.
- Plus: After one practice two weeks ago paired with Karlsson, he looks like the team's 2nd best defenceman.
- Plus: Methot has already become an active member in the Ottawa community by encouraging Senators fans to donate blood.
- Minus: This came after Methot threatened to donate all of Scott Howson's blood if someone didn't get him out of Columbus.
- Plus: Has shown dedication to the Ottawa community by opening up a brew pub in Nepean.
- Minus: Kanata would have been a more ideal location for Latendresse's pre-game meal.
- Plus: Overcame a life-threatening throat injury after receiving an attempted clearing pass in the neck.
- Minus: Nobody is allowed to mention life-threatening throat injuries without Dean Brown hunting them down.
- Minus: Alfie was one of the finalists for the award last year, but narrowly lost out to Max Pacioretty.
- Plus: The NHL promises not to let the Montreal Police Department have a vote this year.
- Plus: Waited patiently in Binghamton for 3 years before earning a backup role in Ottawa.
- Minus: Waits too patiently in the crease for 3 shooters to put the puck past him every shootout.
- Plus: Despite fans writing him off as Robin Lehner's backup before the season even began, he has shown perseverance by posting the best Sv% and GAA in the league.
- Minus: He can't quite put a finger on why.
I encourage our readers to submit their own nominations in the comments.
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Thanks for reading.
Radek Bonk's Mullet