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Breezer gets a Masterton nod

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL – Perseverance, sportsmanship and devotion to hockey. No three words better personify the Canadiens’ nominee for the 2009 Bill Masterton Trophy, Patrice Brisebois. 

Selected by the Montreal chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, Brisebois is in the hunt to become only the fifth player in franchise history to earn the prestigious honor since the award’s inception in 1968.  With a win this season, “Breezer” will join an elite group of Canadiens’ stars who have earned the honor in the past, including captain Saku Koivu in 2002, Serge Savard in 1979, Henri Richard in 1974 and the trophy’s inaugural winner, Claude Provost in 1968.

A first-time nominee, Brisebois follows in the footsteps of All-Star defenseman Mike Komisarek, the Canadiens’ 2007-08 Masterton candidate. 

“I’m incredibly honored to be recognized by the media for this nomination.  I really wasn’t expecting this,” admitted Brisebois.  “I say it all the time, but I’m just so happy to be here in Montreal, playing the game I love.”

In 58 games this season, the 38-year-old blue-liner notched five goals and added 12 assists to his totals.  In addition to taking over the fifth spot on the Canadiens’ all-time points leader list for defensemen, on March 14, the Montreal native suited up for a milestone 1000th career NHL game.

“It’s been two years since I underwent back surgery and I wasn’t sure then if I would ever play another game in the NHL,” revealed Brisebois.  “I did everything possible to help me realize my dream and I made a lot of sacrifices in the process.  I would like to thank Bob [Gainey], who is also my boss, for giving me this great opportunity.”

Since 1968, the Masterton Trophy has been awarded annually to the National Hockey league player who best exemplifies the qualities of determination, perseverance and sportsmanship.  The winner is selected by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association from each of the association’s 30 regions across North America.  The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is given out in honor of former Minnesota North Stars forward Bill Masterton, who passed away on January 15, 1968 from injuries sustained during an NHL game in his rookie campaign.   

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