Each spring, NHL.com profiles the nominees for the Masterton Trophy, the League award that goes to a player based on his sportsmanship, perseverance and dedication to hockey.
Reading those stories always is an eye-opener because some of the trials and obstacles players have overcome are really inspirational.
One that especially stuck out last spring was the story of Aaron Voros
, then with the Minnesota Wild
and now with the New York Rangers
. Mike Morreale's profile of Voros' comeback from cancer that threatened to cost him his leg was mind-boggling stuff.
You can check out Mike's complete story here
Voros signed with the Rangers this summer and has gotten off to a terrific start with 5 goals and 4 assists in 13 games. After battling back the way he did, he is deserving of plenty of success.
But aside from the courage of his comeback, there is a lot of character in Voros, of which John Shipley of the Pioneer Press recently chronicled.
After leaving for Broadway, Voros wrote a letter to Wild coach Jacques Lemaire
. No, it didn't complain about ice time, unfair treatment or a litany of complaints you often hear from athletes in other sports.
Voros wrote Lemaire to say thanks.
"There are certain things he didn't forget," Lemaire told Shipley of the note. Voros also told reporters that he owned much of his success this season to Lemaire and the Wild coaching staff.
"It's really nice to see that he appreciates what we did, and all the coaching staff," Lemaire said.
Lemaire said he and his staff worked hard to "make (Voros) understand, if he wants to play, there are certain things he has to do to get there. You know what? He worked at it, and he deserves what he's getting today."
"It's worked out for the best, and I've really found a home here," Voros said of being a Ranger. "But I was proud to play for the Wild; they're passionate about hockey. Trust me, I think of things Jacques said 20 times a game.
"In Minnesota, my ice time was because of injuries, and once those players came back, obviously I moved back into a lesser role," he said. "And to be honest, I probably wasn't as good a player as I am now. I have more confidence right now, and I owe all my success to Jacques and (assistant coach) Mario (Tremblay)."
Lunch is on me
-- Here's another story that should make you happy you're a hockey fan. Surprisingly, it doesn't come from the sports section, but the Voices segment of the Washington Post.
According to the paper, Kelly Black had taken her kids to watch the Capitals practice late last season and they invited coach Bruce Boudreau
to lunch. He declined, but said "next time."
Next time came this week. Once again at practice, 7-year-old Austin Black held up a sign that said; "Coach Boudreau: You promised lunch with me. Today is the day."
Well, a deal is a deal, so Boudreau hustled off to a local lunch spot with Austin, his brothers Aylin and Reese and friend Christian Halbig, all youth hockey players.
"You ready to roll?" Boudreau asked. "What do you guys want? And don't say steak."
"When you get into that (Guy Lafleur) company, it requires two things -- a high-skill level and longevity. It's a combination of looking after yourself and desire. And he's been a dominating winger in this League since he came in."
-- Brian Burke on Teemu Selanne
Chicken nuggets and juice boxes were the order of the day and it's pretty safe to say that Boudreau has cemented 4 hockey fans for life.
You can read the full item here
Caring for mind and body
-- Zach Bogosian
has an unlimited future. Few scouts would disagree with that estimate. So, the broken leg he suffered this week is a real blow to the Atlanta Thrashers
, who love what they have in the defenseman.
Bogosian's break won't require surgery, but he is out indefinitely.
Thrashers General Manager Don Waddell and coach John Anderson
are going to make sure Bogosian is cared for psychologically, as well as physically.
"We'll monitor him more psychologically than anything right now," Anderson told reporters Thursday.
The rookie will recuperate at the homes of some teammates. The Thrashers want to keep him as connected to the club as possible.
"You don't want to feel lonely and by yourself and abandoned because you get injured, especially at 18," Anderson said. "We're well aware of the possible mental things he could go through. We may send him home for a week or two or fly his parents down, whatever we need to do to keep him mentally healthy."
It's never dull
-- David Booth
is developing into quite the fan favorite with the Florida Panthers
and let's say he is a pretty interesting teammate, too.
"He makes bird calls on the road," defenseman Noah Welch
told Ethan Skolnick of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
OK, that's a little different.
"Last year, I remember walking down the hall, and I heard like a duck quack, and I was like, 'What's going on?'" Welch said. "I kind of followed the sound. The door had a latch on. So I peeked in, and there's Boothy with this thing in his mouth.
"He was watching an instructional video on how to make a duck sound," Welch says. "It was so loud, I was probably 12 rooms away from him, and I could hear it in my room with the door closed."
Not so fast, says Booth.
"They're turkey calls," Booth says. "I'm a big turkey hunter. You can do elk calls, too."
With Thanksgiving in the U.S. fast approaching, Booth could be a pretty handy guy to have around. Unless the elk shows up.
"He scored goals for us, was deadly on the power play, killed penalties well. He thinks he can play and I don't disagree with that. At this point in time, we're going in a different direction. Does he have value to us? Yeah, he would. But under the circumstances today, it was pretty difficult to see him fitting in." -- Tom Renney on Brendan Shanahan
-- Fans of the Philadelphia Flyers
and hockey fans in general should be on the lookout for a new book on the team written by NHL.com's own Adam Kimelman.
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Philadelphia Flyers
: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut-Wrenching Moments from Philadelphia Flyers
History is in both online and local bookstores now.
wrote the forward.
Four more years!
-- That's a popular election chant for incumbents here in the U.S., and it was the rallying cry in Canada's capital city this week as the Ottawa Senators
signed their leader, captain Daniel Alfredsson
to a 4-year contract.
The Ottawa Sun reported the contract was for $22 million and considering Alfredsson's worth to the club, it seems like a pretty good deal.
Alfredsson has averaged nearly a point-per-game, picking up 856 points in 861 games. He has been the Senators' captain since 1999 and has spent his entire career in Ottawa.
"The Senators organization and the city of Ottawa have embraced both me and my family as part of this community," Alfredsson said in a statement. "It's an exciting time for our family to know that we'll be able to spend the rest of my NHL career in Ottawa."
"Daniel is the type of person and player that we want to continue building this franchise around," Senators General Manager Bryan Murray said. "We are happy to have him here to lead our team towards the goal of bringing a Stanley Cup to Ottawa."
Never too early
"He's definitely not like your typical Swedish player. He's not fast and skillful like a Henrik Zetterberg. Or big with good hands like Mikael Samuelsson. Or ... Hey, he's Homer. He's one of a kind."
-- Nicklas Listrom on Tomas Holmstrom
-- Before you know it, the 2010 Winter Olympics will be here and there should be some great debate about who makes the respective rosters for both Team Canada and Team USA.
Team Canada Executive Director Steve Yzerman
is going to have his work cut out for him with all the talented players available, and some of those decision will be especially difficult when it comes to starting to add new blood to the team.
But that's a decision Team USA General Manager Brian Burke
already has made. Burke spoke with NHL.com's John McGourty about transitioning the American roster from the players of the 2002 and 2006 Olympics to a much younger group that will excel on the ice at GM Place.
"The team we had at the World Championships this year in Halifax is a transition team," Burke said.
"It's the first American team that hasn't had one of that great group that included the (Mike) Modanos, the (Brian) Leetches, the (Mike) Richters. I mean, that group led us into battle for 15 years. Dougie Weight, Tony Amonte
, Jeremy Roenick
, this is the first time we've gone into war without these guys. That's not saying that any of them won't be involved in 2010. Keith Tkachuk
is off to a great start. He's having a marvelous year.
"But it's going to be a different generation of players that a lot of people in the U.S. aren't going to be able to recognize," Burke said. "... For some of these guys, it will be their first foray onto the international stage. I think we may have some names that people won't recognize because we need some sand in the lineup. To play on the NHL sheet, to play Canada on Canadian soil, we'll need them in the lineup."
Check out the full story here