Typically the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is someone who has overcome a major injury, but that’s not the only way you can get nominated for the award. Take Corey Potter, who is the Edmonton chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association’s nominee.
Potter’s story is one of defying the odds. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL entry draft, Potter spent four years with Michigan State University before he played in a single minor league game. From there, he spent the next six seasons playing primarily for AHL squads. Over that span, he participated in just nine NHL games and going into the Oilers’ 2011-12 training camp, he was already 27 years old.
At that point, if you haven’t established yourself as a regular in the NHL, you’re probably not going to.
“It has definitely been a long road for me,” Potter said. “At some points you start to question yourself, if you can make it to that next level. You think that maybe you should head overseas or take a different route or start using your education. But I truly believed that I had something to give and that I could make it to that next level. I just never really gave up on it.”
Potter finally got that opportunity when he earned a roster spot on the Edmonton Oilers. Since then, he’s led all Oilers’ defensemen with 20 points in 53 games. He’s also in logging nearly 20 minutes per contest.
Next season Potter will have to prove himself all over again, but he’s prepared for that.
“You can’t get too comfortable,” he said. “You have to try and get better every summer, get bigger and stronger and faster. You can’t let up or lose your competitive edge at all. There’s a lot of people in the AHL waiting and fighting for spots.”
He should know.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.