COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Raffi Torres for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the club announced April 2. The award is given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
A year after missing 49 games due to a knee injury in 2007-08, Torres missed 29 of the 2008-09 season's first 43 games and registered one goal and three assists for four points and eight penalty minutes in the 14 games played. He has rebounded to collect 11-3-14 and 15 penalty minutes over the past 32 games and has scored a career-high six game-winning goals to lead the Blue Jackets in that category.
As a member of the Edmonton Oilers in 2007-08, Torres missed the season's final 49 games after suffering a knee injury at Detroit on December 15. Acquired from Edmonton in exchange for center Gilbert Brule on July 1, he suffered a shoulder injury during the preseason and missed the first 10 games of the regular season. He returned to action against Chicago on November 1 and appeared in 14 games before missing the next 19 contests due to knee surgery.
The winner of the Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the conclusion of the regular season. The trophy was first presented by the NHL writers in 1968 in honor of the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited the qualities for which the trophy embodies, and who died on Jan. 15, 1968. Last year's winner was Toronto's Jason Blake. Previous Blue Jackets nominees for the award include: Kevin Dineen (2000-01 and 2001-02, finalist both years), Luke Richardson (2002-03), Manny Malhotra (2003-04), Duvie Westcott (2005-06), Fredrik Norrena (2006-07) and Pascal Leclaire (2007-08).
The Blue Jackets return to action Saturday when they visit the Nashville Predators. Game time from Sommet Center is set for 8 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio HD will begin with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 7:30 p.m. The game also will be broadcast live on the Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Blue Jackets Radio Network and flagship stations WBNS-AM/Sports Radio 1460 The Fan and WWCD-FM/CD101 beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for remaining 2008-09 regular season home games are on sale now at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, The Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can purchase tickets by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at www.BlueJackets.com and www.ticketmaster.com. In the event the Columbus Blue Jackets qualify for the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, individual game tickets for all first round home playoff games at Nationwide Arena will go on sale Saturday, Apr. 11 at 9 a.m.