fans of the other teams where their tears go.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annual to the NHL player who who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey, and is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association. All 30 teams' local chapters vote on a nominee, with the league winner selected from that group.
While the trophy usually goes to a player who has returned to action for a serious injury or illness, the award's criteria are loose enough that various forms of "perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication" can be recognized.
All 30 teams have announced their nominees for this year's award. Here's a look through the league at some of the players who were honored.
Edmonton Oilers: Ryan Smyth - Perhaps no player in the past 20 years has been as strongly associated with the Edmonton Oilers as Smyth, who has shown tremendous dedication and perseverance by continually getting out of bed in the morning anyways.
Carolina Hurricanes: Dan Ellis - Would be a great choice for the award assuming it comes with some sort of cash bonus, according to Twitter comedians who just realized they still have a few "Dan Ellis Problems" they forgot to use three years ago.
Toronto Maple Leafs: James Reimer - The 25-year-old has admitted that he was touched to receive a special plaque congratulating him on being the starting goaltender who finally led the Maple Leafs back to the playoffs, even though he could help but notice it had Roberto Luongo's name scratched out and his written over it in pencil.
Tampa Bay Lightning: BJ Crombeen - The hard-working forward will likely have his ballot punched by several voters, including those from Philadelphia who will keep punching it long after it's clearly done.
Colorado Avalanche: J.S. Giguere - Is a long-shot for the award based on betting odds posted in Las Vegas, we assume, if that was the sort of place any of us were allowed to go without getting yelled at by Old Man McCrankypants, mutter all his young teammates bitterly.
Winnipeg Jets: Ron Hainsey - The Jets' defenceman and key NHLPA figure has shown incredible dedication in continuing to compete hard all year long despite the fact that he will never play hockey again after this season, according to all 30 NHL owners as they twirl their mustaches evilly.
Minnesota Wild: Josh Harding - Returned to the NHL as a goaltender just months after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, but hey, great job being old Vinny Prospal, I'm sure you've got a real shot at winning this too.
Nashville Predators: Pekka Rinne - Has inspired a generation of fans with his valiant effort to somehow make it as an NHL goaltender despite having to play with a body so big that he can fill the entire net without moving.
Ray Whitney, Dallas Stars - His nomination specifically mentions his dedication to waiting until the season is over before throwing his teammates under the bus, so come to think of it they may have the wrong "R. Whitney".
Philadelphia Flyers: Kimmo Timonen - The veteran defenceman has spent the last six years working closely with the developmentally disabled or disadvantaged or whatever the proper term is these days for Flyers goaltenders.
Pittsburgh Penguins: John Wilkes Booth - Just to troll Jack Edwards.
Los Angeles Kings: Jonathan Bernier - Was nominated for his perseverance in his role as a backup goalie who never plays, in what experts agree is a sobering reminder that maybe we don't actually need a nominee from every single team for this award.
Montreal Canadiens: Andrei Markov - Was nominated based on the sportsmanship he displayed in the first three games of the team's playoff series with Ottawa, which he spent elbowing Senators players in the throat instead of directly in the temple like all of his teammates.
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