Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty has won the 2012 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”
Pacioretty staged a heroic comeback after suffering a fractured vertebrae and a severe concussion on a Zdeno Chara hit in Mar. 2011. After missing the remainder of the regular season and playoffs, Pacioretty came back with aplomb in 2011-12, setting career highs in goals (33), assists (32), points (65), game-winning goals (five) and shots on goal (286).
The Connecticut native also put himself in the history books by becoming the first American-born player to score 30 goals for the Canadiens.
Pacioretty edged out Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson and Toronto’s Joffrey Lupul for the award.
Past Masterton Winners
2011 Ian Laperriere (Philadelphia)
2010 Jose Theodore (Washington)
2009 Steve Sullivan (Nashville)
2008 Jason Blake (Toronto)
2007 Phil Kessel (Boston)
2006 Teemu Selanne (Anaheim)
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Bobby Orr says he likes Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson quite a bit for his offensive game. (Ottawa Sun)
The Philadelphia Flyers are vampires. That’s the reason why they stink in day games, right? (Broad Street Bull)
Jason Arnott gets a week off and it’s not for a vacation. (Post-Dispatch)
Are the Predators going to be kicking themselves at the end of the season for all their missed opportunities to catch and pass the Red Wings? (Tennessean)
Speaking of the Wings, you can add Darren Helm to their injured list. (Red Wings)
Martin St. Louis is Tampa Bay’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy. (Tampa Tribune)
Some of the Winnipeg Jets don’t care very much for how their crowd acts. Perhaps you’d like to go back to Atlanta then? (Globe And Mail)
Finally, your goal of the night came courtesy of… Colorado’s Matt Hunwick? You better believe it. (NHL)
The Masterton Trophy in the NHL goes to the player that shows the most perseverance, dedication, and sportsmanship in the game. Every team nominates a player and it’s often the most heart-warming award given out at the end of the year.
The Pittsburgh Penguins’ nominee this year isn’t Sidney Crosby like many assumed it would be. Instead, as Seth Rorabaugh of Empty Netters reports, Matt Cooke gets the call as this year’s potential winner out of Pittsburgh.
Last season, Cooke had one of the most controversial and dangerous seasons we’ve seen out of a player, winding up his season being suspended for latter part of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. After being read the riot act by both his team and the league, Cooke’s 2011-12 season has been incredibly different.
Gone are the dirty hits and indignant attitude towards opposing players and in their place Cooke showed what he’s capable of when playing it straight.
He’s hit a career high in goals this season and he has just 30 penalty minutes on the year. More goals than minor penalties? Who would’ve thought that were possible after how things ended last season.
Cooke’s case for the Masterton is a fascinating one and puts a spin on things in a different way. Considering how well he’s playing and how clean he’s doing things, Cooke’s gone from being the poster boy for everything that’s wrong with the league to being the icon for how anyone can adapt themselves to the game. We’re guessing Bruins fans won’t quite see things so kindly.
The Masterton Trophy is one that’s earned through persevering through hardship and setting an example for those on and off the ice. Making the specification between on and off the ice is needed this year since the 2011 Masterton Trophy winner didn’t play in a single game this season. Ian Laperriere missed the entire 2010-2011 season after dealing with the after effects of the concussion and eye injury he suffered in the playoffs last season when he took a puck in the eye as he blocked a shot.
The shot nearly cost Laperriere his sight in the eye and gave him a concussion thanks to the force of the shot. The blow convinced Laperriere that wearing a visor was the right move for his well being and perhaps against his own better judgment he returned later in the playoffs as the Flyers eventually lost to Chicago in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.
Laperriere beat out Anaheim goalie and former Flyers teammate Ray Emery as well as Calgary’s Daymond Langkow for the award. Emery returned to action this season after overcoming a degenerative hip condition which doctors used a radical surgery to help him overcome and return to the NHL. Langkow missed nearly the entire season before returning to play after suffering from a neck injury when he took a slap shot off the stick of then teammate Ian White last season. The fact that both of them came back to play after such horrible injuries is beyond inspiring.
That Laperriere took home the award this season is a bit of a surprise given that he didn’t play a game, but his insistence that he’s going to stay in hockey be it on the ice or off it helped win over voters. Laperriere stressed that dedication to the game after tonight’s ceremonies.
“I don’t think it’s ever going to leave, to tell you the truth. Maybe it will, I don’t know. Maybe when I’m 45 and can’t get out of bed, but I don’t know,” Laperriere said. “I’m born and raised in Montreal and hockey is my life. If I do come back it’s going to be great but if I don’t I’m still going to be involved in the game because that’s all I know, and that’s what I’m passionate about.”
“It’s one thing to be passionate about and it’s great if you can find that and I found something, 32 years of it and I won’t lose it that easy,” he concluded.
Some may argue about Laperriere winning the award, especially among other highly qualified finalists, but if nothing else his words proved exactly why he’s this year’s Masterton winner.