You’ll often hear it said that the Lady Byng is the award no player wants to win, but that’s not right.
The one that almost everyone wants to avoid has always been the Bill Masterton Trophy.
As Dallas Stars nominee Rich Peverley said, “I don’t want to have attention for something that happened that isn’t good.”
Unfortunately, that’s what it has become.
On the surface, the Masterton sounds honorable enough. It’s awarded to the player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication,” traits to which almost everyone aspires.
But just like the Oscars tend to honor films that feature themes of tragedy, loss and misfortune, the Masterton has become a tribute to the cruelest twists and turns that fate can deal a player. Things have to go awfully wrong before you can take this hardware home.
With that in mind, here are the 29 nominees that have been announced as of Thursday afternoon, April 10 (Colorado, you’re on the clock), along with some insight into why they were nominated by their local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and their chances of succeeding Minnesota’s Josh Harding as this year’s winner.