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.
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.
Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan didn’t receive a penalty for his hit on Penguins defenseman Kris Letang late in the second period of Saturday’s game and the NHL Department of Player Safety doesn’t intend to issue any supplement discipline either, per Fox Sports Arizona’s Craig Morgan.
You can view the incident below:
While the hit wasn’t high and the concussion was instead the result of the awkward position Letang was in and the subsequent fall, some argued that the check was late. That’s not how the NHL sees it though.
“After reviewing the play carefully and from all angles, we have determined that this was an unfortunate result from a hockey play. It is not boarding, it is not charging, he doesn’t hit him in the head. He finishes his check by shoving Letang and unfortunately he falls awkwardly,” a member of Player Safety told Morgan. “It wasn’t really even a violent hit, although resulted in an unfortunate injury.”
Letang was hospitalized as a result of the hit and has a concussion. With Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) also sidelined, the Penguins will be dressing just five defensemen for the time being.
For his part, Doan said, “We have to finish our checks on him. I didn’t mean to hit him in that… you know hit him to stop him from jumping by. You never ever want to see a guy like that, especially of his caliber. Obviously everything that he’s went through the last couple years, you never want to see that so you feel awful as a player when something like that happens.”
Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang was the victim of an awkward hit by Arizona’s Shane Doan during Saturday’s game and was hospitalized as a result. The Penguins revealed today that Letang is out of the hospital, but he did suffer a concussion.
“We’ll see how he feels over the next few days and go from there,” Penguins coach Mike Johnston said.
That puts the Penguins in an unusual situation. They aren’t in a position to send anyone to the minors to make room for a call up because all of the players they have on their NHL roster are eligible for waivers. On top of that, putting Letang or defenseman Christian Ehrhoff (upper body) on the long-term injured reserve list to free up some cap space isn’t an option because there’s less than 10 games remaining on their schedule.
As a result, Pittsburgh will dress five defensemen for tonight’s game against San Jose. In a pinch, Johnston said he would ask forward Daniel Winnik to “play some defense,” per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dave Molinari.
Depending on status of Letang, Ehrhoff, #Penguins could play rest of regular season with 5 defensemen plus Winnik as emergency D. Whew boy.
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the San Jose Sharks at the Consol Energy Center, starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have fallen on hard times and while they did manage to secure a 3-2 win yesterday, it was against the lowly Coyotes. If you exclude games against Arizona, Pittsburgh hasn’t won since March 12.
“We‘re playing so bad right now, it’s true,” Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin said before the start of the Coyotes’ game, per the team’s website. “Not just one guy, it’s the whole team. The last game (Pittsburgh’s 5-2 loss to Carolina on Thursday), I think it’s the worst game of the whole season. It’s not fun to watch.”
Regardless of the opponent, a win’s a win, but tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks will be a much bigger test. The Sharks are six points behind in the playoff race with seven contests remaining, so the chances of them making the playoffs are slim, but they’re coming off back-to-back wins as they desperately try to stay in the race.
“Every win is rewarding, especially right now,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski told CSN Bay Area. “We’re fighting and playing for wins.”
Adding to the challenge for both teams is the fact that they’re playing with depleted defenses. The San Jose Sharks lost blueliner Mirco Mueller (hand) on Thursday and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (lower body) on Saturday. Defenseman Scott Hannan sustained a cut under his eye during Saturday’s game, but he still might end up playing tonight.
On Pittsburgh’s side, defenseman Christian Ehrhoff is out with an upper-body injury while Kris Letang was hospitalized on Saturday following a hit by Shane Doan:
With a 41-23-11 record, the Penguins are tied with the New York Islanders in terms of points in the battle for the second seed in the Metropolitan Division and the first round home-ice advantage that comes with it. Pittsburgh has played in one less game than the Islanders, so they have a bit of an edge in that respect. At the same time Pittsburgh is only three points ahead of the Wild Card seed Washington Capitals, so if the Penguins’ struggles continue, they could slip significantly in the standings.
Doan, who didn’t receive a penalty on the play, said he was trying to finish his check on Letang.
“It’s awful. When it happened, I could tell the way he went into the boards… awkward. It’s just one of those… he’s so good, we talk about it, we’ve got to make sure he doesn’t jump by,” said Doan. “I just went to make sure I got a piece of him so he couldn’t jump by me. He obviously went into the boards awkwardly.
“We have to finish our checks on him. I didn’t mean to hit him in that… you know hit him to stop him from jumping by. You never ever want to see a guy like that, especially of his caliber. Obviously everything that he’s went through the last couple years, you never want to see that so you feel awful as a player when something like that happens.”
Needless to say the Penguins were not happy with the hit.
Ian Cole: "Doan was running around like an idiot today."
Steve Downie, who scored his 14th of the season in the win, dropped the gloves with Doan moments after the hit.
“That’s part of the game,” said Doan of Downie challenging him. “He’s such a character guy on their team, he’s a big part of their team, he scored the goal to make it 2-1 as well. That says a lot about him. That’s the type of guy you want on your team that stands up for your teammates, goes through the wall for his teammates. You hope that they do that for him too. That’s the way teams work. Obviously it’s a testament to his character.”