Today the NHL announced Daniel Alfredsson, Max Pacioretty and Joffrey Lupul as the three finalists for its Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded annually to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. The winner is determined by the balloting of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association after each organization has one player nominated for consideration.
Historically, the award tends to be given to the player who has overcome some significant injury or obstacle in their life. Given the context of the award, I'm surprised that Rick Nash hasn't received more historical support because he's been hamstrung playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
For Alfredsson, the PHWA recognition is not without warrant. (Albeit, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the All-Star Game Alfie love in, helped raise his profile around the league.) Last season, nagging hip and back issues plagued him; causing him to miss 26 games. After undergoing corrective surgery on his back to address a nagging nerve issue that sapped him of his strength and power in his skating ability, no one knew how he was going to his body was going to respond. Certainly, no one could have predicted that he would play in 75 games and produce his highest goal output (27) since the 2007/08 season.
Fortunately for Alfredsson, the balloting took place prior to last night's game against the Rangers.
At least he had the wherewithal to soothe Greening's nerves.
Over at NHL.com, they had this write up on Alfredsson's candidacy:
The 39-year-old Alfredsson showed his dedication in deciding to return for a 16th NHL season after needing offseason back surgery. He also would be returning to a team with a new coach hired after a 13th-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
All Alfredsson has done is lead the team on and off the ice. He had 27 goals -- including the 400th of his career -- 59 points and a plus-16 rating, and was named an All-Star captain.
Not only is Alfredsson highly regarded for his skill and leadership on the ice, but off the ice he's been a leading advocate for mental health causes with the Royal Ottawa Hospital and the Do It For Daron Foundation, which honors the memory of the daughter of assistant coach Luke Richardson.
But perhaps Greg Wyshynski from Puck Daddy put it best by stating, "if you really want Daniel Alfredsson as your example of "dedication to hockey," let's give him the Masterton after he plays a full season at a $1 million salary in 2013."