Sens goaltender Craig Anderson has been named as one of three finalists for this year's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
For those unfamiliar with the the Masterton, it is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey and that seems like a fitting description to Anderson's 2016-17 season.
Anderson very publicly dealt with a lot of adversity this year when it was announced by Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion that his wife Nicholle had been diagnosed with cancer. Dorion met with the media on on October 29th, 2016 to speak on behalf of the couple and the very next day Anderson stopped all 37 shots he faced to blank the high-scoring Oilers to cap an emotional night in Edmonton.
Video: OTT@EDM: Anderson shuts out Oilers in return
"When you see the person you love the most on earth and what they're going through, his ability to block it out to focus on his teammates...I don't know how you could put that into words," Dorion told the media on Monday afternoon. "He comes here and he's as good a pro as I've ever seen in my NHL career."
Just one week after Nicholle Anderson's diagnosis was made public, the Senators hosted their annual Hockey Fights Cancer night at Canadian Tire Centre and of course her husband got the start in goal. As a tribute to his wife, Craig chose to wear the #23 on his Hockey Fights Cancer warm-up jersey...her favourite number.
Anderson spent a large portion of the season on leave from the team to be by his wife's side while she underwent cancer treatment and appeared in just 19 games prior to resuming his duties as the Sens' starting goaltender on February 11th. In true Craig Anderson fashion, he shut out the Islanders 3-0 in his return.
His contributions to the Sens success this season are still being felt and now include a first round win over the Boston Bruins. Something he was able to lock down on Sunday evening with his wife in attendance.
"Some of those saves he made yesterday in the third period when we were on our heels...I don't know how many goalies in the game make saves like that," Dorion raved. "And at the same time, his wife is in the crowd and she hasn't seen him in close to three weeks. It just speaks so much about his focus for the game but at the same time his love for his family, his love for his wife and it was great to see her after the game. We're doing this for ourselves and our organization but at the same time for what Nicholle is going through."
Video: Craig Anderson greets wife Nicholle after Game 6 win
For updates and to keep track of Nicholle's progress, visit stickbynik.com.
The NHL Awards are set to take place in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 21 at T-Mobile Arena and Anderson will be joined by teammate Erik Karlsson who received his fourth career Norris Trophy nomination last week.