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Ryan named Bill Masterton trophy finalist

by Matt Tidcombe @matttidcombe

Ottawa Senators forward Bobby Ryan has been named one of three finalists for the 2019-20 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The Cherry Hill, N.J., native played 24 games in 2019-20 that saw him record the 250th goal of his NHL career in the team's season-opener in Toronto on Oct. 2. On Nov. 20, he took a leave from the team to take part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program, returning to the team on Feb. 25.    

In his second game back, and in his first home contest since his return, Ryan memorably scored a hat-trick in a 5-2 win against Vancouver on Feb. 27. 

"I knew Ottawa, being the community that it is, that the reception would be good," Ryan said post-game. "It just got harder to keep the emotions down throughout the game. It was incredible how they supported me. And I guess to contribute. I mean, you can't write that, the way that went. It was just an incredible evening. So thank you to all of them."

On Nov. 20, just before a game against the Montreal Canadiens, the NHL and the NHL Players Association announced the 33-year-old Ryan would be away from the team while taking part in the NHL/NHLPA player assistance program.

After hitting rock-bottom, Ryan decided it was time to get help for his alcohol addiction and after he came back to the team he told his story publicly hoping it may help others who were struggling in life. He spoke from the heart and told his story about how his life had spiralled downhill. Ryan didn't just do this for himself, he took this step for his wife Danielle and the couple's two young children.

The Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy is an annual award under the trusteeship of the PHWA and is given to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Goaltender Craig Anderson  was the first recipient of the award in Senators history following the 2016-17 NHL season.

The other two finalists for the 2019-20 award are Oskar Lindblom of the Philadelphia Flyers and Stephen Johns of the Dallas Stars.  

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