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Return from injury makes Hossa a worthy Masterton candidate

by Bob Verdi / Chicago Blackhawks
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Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks’ world-class right wing, has been nominated for the 2013 Bill Masterton Trophy by the Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Every season, a player from each of the 30 National Hockey League teams is selected as a candidate for the trophy, which honors the memory of Masterton, a member of the Minnesota North Stars who died of a game-related injury in 1968. The award represents “perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

Hossa suffered a severe concussion after being felled by Raffi Torres, then a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal last April 17. Torres received a lengthy suspension and Hossa endured months of rehabilitation and doubt. For a couple weeks following the injury, he spent a majority of his time in bed or in darkness, contemplating whether he could continue a career that has Hall of Fame credentials. But Hossa refrained from lashing out at Torres.

“In the beginning, it was really, really difficult,” Hossa told Blackhawks beat writers upon learning of his nomination. “You start thinking, ‘What if this? What if that?’ in the future. But thank God, everything went pretty good.”

Hossa was cleared by doctors in November and joined the team when the NHL lockout ended in January.

Hossa’s charitable efforts are noteworthy; he sponsors “Hossa’s Heroes,” a non-profit organization that offers community service, educational support and hockey equipment to needy families in Chicago and his native Slovakia.

“I love to help out,” said Hossa, who enjoys great respect throughout the NHL and is a popular teammate. “Everything is so expensive. It’s a hard time for parents, not just in Slovakia but all over.”

Pit Martin of the Blackhawks earned the Masterton Trophy in 1970 after he issued a bold off-season critique of the team, then helped it toward a last-to-first leap with 30 goals. Bryan Berard, who played for the Blackhawks despite being declared legally blind in one eye, won in 2004.

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