The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA) have officially named Boston Bruins forward David Backes as the team’s nominee for the Bill Masterton Trophy.
The award, given out annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey”, will be presented this June at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. Each of the NHL’s 31 teams has a player nominated by the local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PWHA), but the list is whittled down to just three official nominees by the NHL in advance of the award ceremony.
No doubt about it, if there’s one player who has persevered through this season it’s Backes. The veteran winger has had both his mental and physical strength tested this season after suffering through a debilitating illness and a devastating injury.
First, Backes underwent emergency surgery back in November to remove part of his colon after a complicated bout of diverticulitis. Then just last week we suffered a nasty laceration just above his knee courtesy of an accidental skate cut from Tampa Bay Lightning rookie Yanni Gourde.
Ouch. That’s ugly.
To say that this season has been a nightmare for the 33 year old veteran is an understatement. But as you might expect, he’s not taking any personal credit for his ability to stick things out. “I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by good doctors, good people, family, support, people praying for me to get better … and be a member of a team that’s doing good things this year,” he said upon hearing about the nomination.
Classy words from a classy player. Congrats on your nomination, David. You’ve earned it. Now heal up and get back in there in time to help our boys bring home another Cup.
DeBrusk rejoins teammates
According to a report from the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont, Boston Bruins rookie Jake DeBrusk has joined injured teammates Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy in skating drills, but has been ruled out for tonight’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
The 21 year old DeBrusk has been out of the lineup since suffering an injury in the Bruins’ win over the Carolina Hurricanes nearly two weeks ago. The winger appeared to suffer and upper body injury when he crashed into the end boards during the second period. While today’s news has to be seen as encouraging, it still doesn’t give Bruins fans a timetable for his return.
In 64 games with the Bruins this season, the 6’0”, 185 pound DeBrusk has 14 goals and 39 points. Not bad for a 21 year old rookie. Not bad at all. It shouldn’t really come as a surprise however, as he tore up the AHL with the Providence Bruins last season with 19 goals and 49 points in 74 games. The former first round pick (14th overall) by the Bruins in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has gotten off to a very nice start in his NHL career. Hopefully, he can cap off his impressive rookie season with a productive Stanley Cup Playoffs run.