The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded to the player that “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication.” It was awarded last year to Rangers forward Dominic Moore, who lost his wife, Katie, to cancer in January of 2013.
This year’s 30 nominees (one for each team) can be found here at the website of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Nominees include Arizona’s Shane Doan, whose bout with Rocky Mountain spotted fever was well-documented; Chicago’s Scott Darling, who started his pro career with the Louisiana IceGators of the Southern Professional Hockey League; and Minnesota’s Devan Dubnyk, whose NHL career has been resurrected in a most remarkable way this season.
Here’s video of Moore from June:
John Gibson will get another chance to show he should be the Anaheim Ducks’ playoff starter when he goes up against Colorado tonight at Honda Center.
Gibson’s last start was a good one; the 21-year-old stopped all but one of the Devils’ 27 shots last Sunday in a 2-1 victory, after which he was named the game’s first star.
Still, neither Gibson nor Andersen has made it an easy decision for coach Bruce Boudreau. Both young goalies have had excellent performances, and both have had their hiccups.
“I think they both want the starting role,” Boudreau said recently, per NHL.com “We had a tough game in New York and Columbus [last month] and when [Andersen] played two really good games, it was like [Gibson] said, ‘Oh, yeah? OK,’ and he came in and played great. I think they both would like to have it.
“If we go far they’re both going to play, and if we don’t go far, they’re both going to play, because if we’re losing, we’re going to make switches. That’s the way I think of it right now. We’re not married to thinking one is better than the other. When they’re on top of their game, they’re as good as there is.”
Reto Berra will start for Colorado.
Scott Darling likely for Chicago versus Anders Lindback for Buffalo.
Dustin Tokarski for Montreal versus Keith Kinkaid for New Jersey.
Brian Elliott for St. Louis versus Kari Lehtonen (likely) for Dallas.
Louis Domingue for Arizona versus Antti Niemi for San Jose.
The battle to battle ineffectively enough to end the season with the best draft odds will likely remain uncomfortable for fans of the Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres, but at least those extra-awkward games between the two teams are over now.
Of course, it’s the clearest loss for those who enjoy the strange dissonance of it all. The Sabres ended up winning this round 4-1, which essentially means good news for the Coyotes.
It was a closer game than that score indicates, mind you, as Buffalo inflated the difference with two empty-net goals.
With this game out of the way, the Buffalo Sabres move to 50 standings points and six games remaining while the Coyotes stay at 54 points with five games left. The Edmonton Oilers are in third place, yet with 59 points and six games on the docket, they seem unlikely to sink any lower.
The Coyotes and Sabres are likely going toe-to-toe for the last spot, which made for a really odd week for observers. Now they can go back to a rather odd form of scoreboard watching, which seems a little more comfortable for most of us.
This serves as a decent confidence-booster for two embattled goalies in Mike Smith and Anders Lindback, even if the improvements may be merely incremental.
(One would be hard pressed to find a stranger month than what Smith has experienced in March, by the way. He’s put up more-or-less elite individual stats, yet he’s languished with a 3-9-0 record this month. Weird.)
It was a nice game for Andrej Meszaros (two goals) and Rasmus Ristolainen, who hit eight goals in 2014-15 with an empty-netter. Sabres fans might groan at this result, but the players seem happy with a victory, at least: