San Jose, Calif -
|San Jose Sharks' Claude Lemieux (32) is guarded by Vancouver Canucks' Kevin Bieksa (3) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
The San Jose chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association announced today that San Jose Sharks forward Claude Lemieux has been selected as its 2009 nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. The Masterton Trophy is awarded each season under the trusteeship of the PHWA to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
One of the most successful and passionate players to ever play the game, Lemieux made a remarkable comeback to the game of hockey this season following a five-year absence. He is the oldest active forward in the NHL (43) and the second oldest player (Chris Chelios, 47).
During his 21-year career, Lemieux has won four Stanley Cups with three different teams (1986 with Montreal, 1995, 2000 with New Jersey, 1996 with Colorado). He is tied-for-fourth all-time in Stanley Cup Playoffs games played (233), ninth in goals (80), third in game-winning goals (19) and 23rd in points (158). He was the Conn Smythe Trophy in 1995.
Drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round (26th overall) of the 1983 NHL Entry Draft, Lemieux made an immediate impact in his first professional season. Despite playing only 10 regular season games with Montreal, he appeared in 20 Stanley Cup Playoff games, posting 16 points (ten goals, six assists) and 68 penalty minutes en route to helping the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup
His success continued at each of his NHL stops over the next 20 seasons with stops in New Jersey, Colorado, Phoenix and Dallas.
|San Jose Sharks' Claude Lemieux (32) takes to the ice on a shift change, during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks in an NHL hockey game Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) |
After being out of the game for five years, Lemieux decided he wanted to continue playing the game he loved. Sharks Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Wilson afforded Lemieux the opportunity to play for the Sharks Asian League affiliate, the China Sharks and he later signed an AHL contract with the Worcester Sharks of the American Hockey League.
In 23 games with Worcester, Lemieux posted 11 points (three goals, eight assists), 24 penalty minutes and was a +2. He was signed by San Jose on Dec. 29 and played in his first game with San Jose on Jan. 20 vs. Vancouver
Lemieux played in his 1,200th career game on Jan. 29 vs. Phoenix and registered his first point, with an assist vs. Los Angeles on Feb. 20, since March 9, 2003 at San Jose with Dallas. He recorded his first penalty minutes as a Shark with a five-minute fighting major (Theo Peckham) and a 10-minute misconduct on Feb. 17 vs. Edmonton
The Masterton Trophy winner is selected from a poll of the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season and a $2,500 grant from the PHWA is awarded annually to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund, based in Bloomington, Minn., in the name of the winner.
The PHWA first presented the Masterton Trophy in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton, a player with the Minnesota North Stars, who exhibited to a high degree, the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Masterton died Jan. 15, 1968 following an injury suffered in a game.
Former Shark Tony Granato received the award in 1997.