The nominees for the Bill Masterton Trophy, presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, were revealed earlier today. To no one’s surprise, Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators was among the finalists.
The Andersons’ journey has been well-documented this season. Nicholle had been diagnosed with cancer late in the summer, and Anderson took time off to be with her through treatment. Andy still finished with a .926 save percentage on the season, despite a huge chunk of time missed in the middle of the year. And the scene of him earning a shutout in Edmonton, his first game after announcing Nicholle’s diagnosis, and breaking down as the final buzzer sounded won’t be forgotten.
The other finalists were Andrew Cogliano and Derek Ryan. Cogliano was nominated for his 786-game iron man streak (833 if you count playoffs), not having missed a game since he entered the NHL. Ryan was also an interesting story, going undrafted and playing his first NHL game this season at age 29, a game which featured his first NHL goal. Both have clearly shown dedication to hockey, but I have a hard time seeing anyone but Anderson winning this award after all the press they received this year.