After sitting out 104 total games, and the first 23 of the 2010-2011 season due to post-concussion symptoms, Pierre-Marc Bouchard
announced his comeback on November 30. While the excitement built in anticipation of his return on December 1, there was trepidation as well.
Was he really healthy enough, or just sick of not playing? What would happen if he got hit? How long would he be able to go before a recurrence? And would he be the same player that averaged 56 points a season before suffering a hit to the head on March 25, 2009.
Since December 1, the Wild has played 56 games, and Bouchard has played in all of them. He's posted 34 points on 11 goals and 23 assists, including two game-winners. He's shown he hasn't lost his amazing puck skill and flair for jaw-dropping moves, as evidenced with his spin-o-rama goal
against Edmonton on February 22.
Basically, the questions have been answered, and the anxiety about Bouchard can now morph into excitement for a full-season for the dynamic playmaker in 2011-12. It could be the season in which Bouchard is the reigning Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy winner.
Today, the Twin Cities chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) announced Bouchard as a nominee for the award presented to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The Wild has never had a player win the Masterton award, although current goaltender Jose Theodore was last year's recipient, while former defenseman Kurtis Foster
and current farmhand Jed Ortmeyer
Bouchard joins Guillaume Latendresse
(2009-10), Kurtis Foster
(2008-09), Aaron Voros (2007-08), Marian Gaborik (2006-07), Wes Walz (2005-06, 2000-01), Alexandre Daigle (2003-04), Dwayne Roloson (2002-03) and Richard Park (2001-02) as previous Wild nominees.