The sports world for what it is, challenging seasons are often accompanied by interesting offsets. Within a week, the Canadian received two. First, win the first-choice lottery. Next, he saw Carrie Price be elected among the three finalists for the Bell Masterton Cup.
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Opened in 1968, this trophy was awarded to the NHL player who demonstrated the best example of determination, perseverance and sportsmanship in hockey.
Today, the trophy is often awarded to a player who has returned to the game after sustaining an injury for several months or after suffering from an illness.
But there was a time when players won that honor at the end of their careers. As a tribute to emphasize an athletic path.
What sets Price is that it can very well fall into both categories.
The Anaheim Lake goalkeeper returned to goalkeeping on April 15 after missing his first 74 games of the season due to off-season knee surgery.
This put an end to the nine-month period of inactivity. During this, in October, he joined the NHL Player Assistance Program.
His return was limited to five matches. Five games in which he still seemed to have a problem with his painful knee. Which has many saying that we may have attended the last games of the 34-year-old Man in the Mask.
Even he, meeting with the media for the last time of the season, did not deny this possibility.
“If that’s the end, this is a great way to do it,” he said on April 30, the day after the Canadian season ended.
This “beautiful way” was Habs’ impressive 10-2 victory over the Panthers, at a warm Bell position.
Those were also those few seconds he took to greet his wife and children sitting in the stands, while the match was taking place near him.
Moreover, during the same press conference, he somewhat talked about his happiness to be with his loved ones.
“The most important thing is to set your priorities. Spending time at home puts my family’s life in perspective.”
Photo archive Martin Alari
Waiting for the plan
These are the words of a man who seems to have begun to think about the calm and orderly little family life, watching his children grow up and being present at every important stage of their lives.
He will likely know more about his future when he gets the second medical opinion he was considering getting. Obviously, the analysis was hoping it would be a little different.
It is enough, at the very least, to allow him to make a plan, including another operation or not, which will allow him to approach his usual abilities.
Because, again, he is the one who said it: “I don’t think I can survive a full season. There are still many questions. Fortunately, during the summer I will have time to think about it.”
The other contestants
Zdeno Chara of the New York Islanders and Kevin Hayes of the Philadelphia Flyers were the other finalists.
At the age of 45, Chara was the oldest player in the ring. That didn’t stop him playing nearly 19 minutes, on average, per game. He set the record for most games for a defender by surpassing Chris Chileus 1,651.
For his part, Hayes, who had to undergo three surgeries between the summer of 2021 and January 2022, has dealt with injuries throughout the season. He eventually managed to play 48 matches. He dedicated his season to his brother Jimmy, former Blackhawk, Panthers, Bruins and Devils striker who died on August 23 of fentanyl and cocaine poisoning.
The winner is determined after a ballot is held among 32 divisions of the Professional Hockey Journalists Association (PHWA).
Canadian winners over the years
- Max Security 2011-2012
- Sako Koivu 2001-2002
- Serge Savard 1978-1979
- Henry Richard 1973-1974
- Claude Provost 1967-1968