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Thoughts on Phil, Andrew

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Will Phil Thrill?

The NHL Awards Show is on Versus tonight and Phil Kessel is a nominee for an award -- the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. explains its significance:

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. The winner is selected in a poll of all chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season.

A grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the Masterton Trophy winner.

The trophy was presented by the NHL Writers' Association in 1968 to commemorate the late William Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited, to a high degree, the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Masterton died on Jan. 15, 1968, after an injury sustained during a hockey game. recently published a list of the 28 nominees for the prestigious award, and added a small explanation of each players candidacy. Phil's is below:

Boston - Phil Kessel
In addition to the pressures of breaking into the NHL as a 19-year-old first-round draft pick, Kessel was diagnosed in early December with testicular cancer.

Kessel was actually able to maintain his focus well enough to play a Dec. 9 game against New Jersey, knowing he'd be admitted to the hospital for what proved to be successful surgery on Dec. 12, and then missed only 12 games before returning to Boston's lineup.

He ranked among the NHL's rookie leaders with 11 goals and 29 points in 70 games this season, and was No. 1 among first-year players with four decisive shootout goals

There's no doubt that Phil would fit the bill. Good luck tonight Mr. Kessel!

Also from the following is a list of past Masterton Trophy recipients. I've boldfaced the Bruins players on the list. Former Bruins defenseman Bryan Berard (below right) won in 2004 while with Chicago:

Year    Player    Team
2006    Teemu Selanne    Anaheim Ducks
2004    Bryan Berard    Chicago Blackhawks
2003    Steve Yzerman    Detroit Red Wings
2002    Saku Koivu    Montreal Canadiensh
2001    Adam Graves    New York Rangers
2000    Ken Daneyko    New Jersey Devils
1999    John Cullen    Tampa Bay Lightning
1998    Jamie McLennan    St. Louis Blues
1997    Tony Granato    San Jose Sharks
1996    Gary Roberts    Calgary Flames
1995    Pat LaFontaine    Buffalo Sabres
1994    Cam Neely    Boston Bruins
1993    Mario Lemieux    Pittsburgh Penguins
1992    Mark Fitzpatrick    New York Islanders
1991    Dave Taylor    Los Angeles Kings
1990    Gord Kluzak    Boston Bruins
1989    Tim Kerr    Philadelphia Flyers
1988    Bob Bourne    Los Angeles Kings
1987    Doug Jarvis    Hartford Whalers
1986    Charlie Simmer    Boston Bruins
1985    Anders Hedberg    New York Rangers
John Bishop is the beat writer for He covers the Black & Gold hoping to offer a positive look at the team, not only from the stands and the press box, but also from inside the locker room. A graduate of Boston U. and Northeastern, 'Bish' grew up in Connecticut and moved to the Hub of Hockey in 1993. Since then he has made all four rinks at the Beanpot schools, as well as both Gardens, his icebound homes away from home. Prior to joining the TD Banknorth Garden staff in 2005, Bishop had written for several publications, with his primary focus being college hockey. He coauthored the book Bygone Boston in 2003 and hopes someday to pen a bio of Hobey Baker.

1984    Brad Park    Detroit Red Wings
1983    Lanny McDonald    Calgary Flames
1982    Glenn Resch    Colorado Rockies
1981    Blake Dunlop    St. Louis Blues
1980    Al MacAdam    Minnesota North Stars
1979    Serge Savard    Montreal Canadiens
1978    Butch Goring    Los Angeles Kings
1977    Ed Westfall    New York Islanders
1976    Rod Gilbert    New York Rangers
1975    Don Luce    Buffalo Sabres
1974    Henri Richard    Montreal Canadiens
1973    Lowell MacDonald    Pittsburgh Penguins
1972    Bobby Clarke    Philadelphia Flyers
1971    Jean Ratelle    New York Rangers
1970    Pit Martin    Chicago Blackhawks
1969    Ted Hampson    Oakland Seals
1968    Claude Provost    Montreal Canadiens

Albe Is Already Working Toward 2007-08
Recently re-signed defenseman Andrew "Albe" Alberts is already working out with an eye towards September.

"Three weeks ago I got back from Russia," said Albe from his home state of Minnesota. "I took a week and a half, two weeks off, and then I started working out with Dr. Blatherwick, the coach I have been working out with for the past ten years.

"He used to work with Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota and the U.S. Olympic Teams and he was at Benilde (St. Margaret's), a high school I went to for a few years."

With the motivation provided by his high school coach, and under the remote tutelage of Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides, Alberts, the Bruins fifth pick in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, has been working hard to get ready for training camp.

"I've concentrated on getting stronger," said Alberts. "I want to get faster and put on some muscle so I can come back in good shape."

He will have one more short respite -- in Europe!

"I have a big vacation in Rome planned," said Alberts. "I'm going to a buddy's wedding (in Italy). So I will be there for a week…but beyond that it's working out in the morning, playing golf and going on the boat in the afternoon."

More to come...
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