Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy awarded annually to an NHL player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game.
Markov was selected as the nominee from the Canadiens in a vote by the Montreal chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The Masterton trophy winner is chosen at the end of the regular season by a vote of PHWA members.
Markov missed most of the past two seasons due to injuries. He tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee twice and underwent two ACL reconstructions.
He has played in all of the Canadiens’ 45 games to date this season and has the highest average ice time – 24:18 – among the team’s defencemen. A key fixture on the Habs’ power play, Markov got off to a strong start but has struggled defensively of late – his plus/minus differential is -12 – as has the team, which is mired in a late-season slump. Markov’s 27 points – nine goals and 18 assists -is the fourth highest on the team. He is tied for fifth in points among NHL defencemen.
Masterton played for the Minnesota North Stars. He died two days after being injured in a game in 1968 when his head struck the ice.
Five Canadiens have won the trophy named after him since its inception that year – more winners than from any other NHL team.
Former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu earned the honour in 2002 after his remarkable return to play near the end of the regular season after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Max Pacioretty won the trophy last year after an impressive comeback season in which he led the Canadiens in points. In a scary, controversial incident the previous season, Pacioretty was knocked unconscious when his head hit the stanchion near the Boston Bruins’ bench as he was checked by defenceman Zdeno Chara.
The other Canadiens to win the Masterton are Serge Savard, Henri Richard and the late Claude Provost.
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