It was announced earlier today that the Toronto installment of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Stephane Robidas as the Maple Leafs nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
In case you need a quick refresher on what the Masterton Trophy actually is, the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is awarded each NHL season to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Each season, all 30 NHL teams have one player selected as their nominee. The list is eventually dwindled down to three finalists, and then a winner is chosen from that group.
Tough to argue with Robidas as the Leafs choice. Now 38 years old, Robidas battled back from a pair of serious leg injuries last season that some thought may force him into retirement. Robidas, a long-respected NHL player and leader, worked tirelessly to get back onto the ice and played in 52 games for the Leafs this season before his season was shut down due to injury. Say what you want about his on-ice performance, but you can’t question Robidas’ commitment to the game.
Robidas is going up against the likes of Kris Letang (who suffered a stroke last season), Marc Staal (who has battled back from a serious eye injury), Pekka Rinne (who missed 5 months last season with a hip infection), and Devan Dubnyk (who has had a career resurgence after playing for 5 teams in one calendar year). In this sense, Robidas seems unlikely to win the trophy. He is among the more deserving candidates though and it seems possible that he could become a finalist.
In any event, it’s a nice little story and you’ve got to feel happy for the guy.
You can view the full list of Masterton Trophy nominees here.