And just what does that all of that mean? Is it a comeback-of-the-year award? Does it go to the feel good story of the year? Does it just go to somebody because he’s a ‘nice guy’? I think you can find winners over the years in every one of those sub-categories.
Still, more often than not, it’s “Comeback of the Year”. And Max Pacioretty fits that category perfectly. Of course he’s not alone out there. There will be twenty-nine other nominees including probably, Sidney Crosby who may or may not have a second in-season comeback from that concussion he suffered last season. Among other concussion returnees include the Blues David Perron and the Devils Petr Sykora. Tomas Fleischmann of Florida has had a good year after two blood clots on his lungs ended his 2010-11 season. Mark Streit has played every game for the Islanders after a shoulder injury eliminated the previous season. . How about Daniel Alfredsson who’s been a key part of the Senators resurgence. And, if you want in-season comebacks you can’t ignore Ryan Miller who is carrying Buffalo on his back after finally shaking the concussion Milan Lucic gave him back in November?
I like Pacioretty to be one of the three finalists for the award. Despite the diagnosis of Dr. Mark Recchi, he’s come back from not only a concussion but a broken neck to become one of the league’s top-ten goalscorers. Guaranteed Sidney Crosby will be a finalist because, well….because he’s Sidney Crosby. I like Fleischmann to be part of it, but the way the Senators have gone this year, who’s to argue with Alfredsson?
And next year? Dare Canadiens fans hope that Andrei Markov is on the short list?
Theodore – Career year after his son’s death.
Sullivan – Returned to finish off his career after missing two years due to multiple injuries
Blake – Played a full season despite having leukemia
Kessel – Missed 12 games due to testicular cancer. Only 12 games, for cancer.
Selanne – Came back from potentially career ending knee surgery to score 90 points
Berard – Overcame an eye injury that left him legally blind
Koivu – Came back from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
I think I might have leaned more toward Erik Cole, who was Carolina’s nominee. Cole came back in much the same circumstance as Pacioretty. He came back to score 26 goals after suffering a fractured leg and broken neck vertebrae to score 26 goals. Cole didn’t even make the final three in the voting.
In 2010, Washington goaltender Jose Theodore won the Masterton based solely on the fact that he and his family had lost an infant son died during the season. a personal tragedy to be sure.
More often than not, the local well is dry of candidates. Mathieu Darche was the Canadiens nominee last year. I guess the “perserverence? part of the description fit. He had played for 12 different professional teams in eleven years?
They gave the 2010 Masterton to Washington’s Jose Theodore, solely because his son had died in his infancy during the season.