Oskar Lindblom Nominated for Bill Masterton Trophy
Hey, I'm back! School is out, which means that I can spend less time writing about books and history and more time writing about hockey. Surprisingly, a lot has happened over the 27 days it's been since my last article. We know the details of the NHL's return to play format, and info on how other issues such as deciding hub cities and the draft lottery will play out.
But for now, we're going to talk about something else. All of that stuff will be in a future article(s). This morning, the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced the 31 nominees for the Bill Masterton Trophy. The Bill Masterton goes"to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey." It is named after Bill Masterton, a forward for the Minnesota North Stars who died in 1968 at age 30.
Each chapter of the PHWA (each of the 31 NHL teams has one) nominates a player from their team who they feel meets this criteria. The chapters will come together and determine a winner, which is usually announced at the NHL Awards Ceremony.
Here is a comprehensive list of this year's nominees:
However, Lindblom's season came to an abrupt ending in December, when it was announced he was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a form of cancer. The entire hockey community, even Sidney Crosby, have supported Oskar through his battle, which seems to be going well, according to reports. Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr announced last month that Lindblom was getting ready to begin his final rounds of treatment.
"I'm honored to be nominated for this special award by the Philadelphia PHWA chapter," Lindblom told Flyers contributor Bill Meltzer. "This past season has been a difficult one for sure, but the positive support I've received from my family, my girlfriend, teammates, the Flyers organization and Flyers fans has been a tremendous help and inspiration through these times and I look forward to the day I'm back on the ice. I was very touched to see how many people, whether they support the Flyers or another team, were wearing #OskarStrong t-shirts. I continue to feel your support."
Lindblom is not the only notable candidate for this year's award. Senators forward (and Cherry Hill, NJ native) Bobby Ryan took a three-month leave to battle alcohol problems, then scored a hat-trick in his first home game back. Stars defenseman Stephen Johns went 22 months between NHL games after dealing with post concussion syndrome, returning strong in January to score five points in 17 games. 36-year old Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester suffered a scary cardiac arrest incident on the bench in the middle of a game against the Anaheim Ducks. Oilers center Connor McDavid overcame massive injuries to his leg, somehow returning for opening night and continuing to be the best player in the league. All four are also nominees for the award.
If Lindblom brings home the Masterton, he would be the fourth Flyer to win the award. Bobby Clarke won in 1971-72 for overcoming diabetes en route to becoming the best Flyer of all-time. Tim Kerr won in 1988-89, scoring 48 goals after overcoming severe knee and shoulder injuries, as well as aseptic meningitis. And Ian Laperriere won in 2010-11 after blocking a shot with his face in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs while"continu(ing) to serve the team in several capacities" the next season.