It\’s hard to win the Bill Masterton trophy. The trophy is awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Bill Masterton winners usually have very touching stories during the season. This year\’s finalists are Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators, Andrew Cogliano of the Anaheim Ducks and Derek Ryan of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Speaking of touching stories, Anderson probably had the most touching in all of the \”big four\” leagues. His wife, Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer early in the season, and Anderson missed more than two months to be with her. Both times (he took two different breaks) he came back, Anderson posted a shutout, including one against the Oilers he\’ll never forget. He led the Sens to the playoffs this year with a 2.28 GAA and .926 SV%.
Cogliano was nominated for a different reason. This is actually the 4th time in 6 years he\’s been nominated. That\’s because of his iron-man streak. Since 2007-08, Cogliano has played in 786 consecutive games, never missing a game in his career. He had 35 points (16 goals and 19 assists) this year.
An old rookie in the NHL is around 24. Ryan is a rookie, and is 30. He was undrafted, and played in junior, college, Swedish and AHL hockey since 2003. In 67 games this year, Ryan scored 29 points (11 goals and 18 assists).
I think Anderson will win. He missed so many games with a family issue, and led his team to the playoffs. That isn\’t easy to do. If he loses, I\’d be surprised.