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by Staff Writer / New York Islanders
LI Chapter of Writer's Association honors veteran defenseman

Islanders defenseman Joel Bouchard has been named the team's nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given at the end of the season to the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perserverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The nomination was made by the Long Island chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

"Our choice was based on Joel Bouchard's effort to return sooner than expected from a serious shoulder injury suffered in the first game of the season and how well he played when he did return," wrote the Long Island chapter of the PHWA in its nomination.

"We also took into consideration his dedication to the team not just on the ice, but off of it. He stood out as a leader within the dressing room and took it upon himself to look out for the rookies on the team, offering guidance, advice and even arranging places to dine on the road.

"The 32-year-old Bouchard's character in making an early comeback from a frustrating injury, in never letting up his determination to be an NHL regular and in his selfless effort to help young players make the often challenging acclimation to the highest level of the sport in the world, to us, is the very definition of what the Masterton Trophy is all about."

Bouchard is 1-8-9 in 25 games with the Islanders this season. With the team's American Hockey League affiliate in Bridgeport, the defenseman was 4-9-13 in 15 games. He has played 364 NHL over parts of eleven seasons.

"This is a fitting honor for Joel," said Islanders head coach Brad Shaw, "and very well-deserved. Joel has played hard for us this season and has been a strong veteran presence. The coaching staff and his teammates congratulate Joel on his nomination."

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