Brian Boyle and Chris Kreider were among the nominees for the NHL’s Bill Masterton Award, the league’s annual award given to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of hockey, Each team nominates one player for consideration for the Masterton award, which is given out in honor of former player Bill Masterton, the only player in NHL history to die as a result of injuries suffered during a game.
Both Boyle and Kreider have strong cases for the award, as both had their careers and their futures very much up in the air earlier in the season. Boyle, a member of the New Jersey Devils, was forced to miss the first part of the season following a diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia, a treatable form of cancer. Boyle returned to action on November first and has enjoyed a typical Brian Boyle-like season, playing a sound defensive game that also includes an occasional scoring punch. He has 13 goals and 10 assists in 62 games this season and also took part in his first All Star game in January. Boyle is seen by many as the likely winner of this award.
Chris Kreider went through his own rough patch this season when he was diagnosed with blood clots in late December. As a member of the New York Rangers, Kreider was forced to miss almost two full months of play before returning to the team in February. He has 15 goals and 21 assists in a season where he will play the fewest games since his abbreviated rookie campaign in 2012-13.
While the nominations for the two former Eagles are nice, the circumstances under which Boyle and Kreider came about them are unfortunate to say the least. Thankfully, both now have a clean bill of health and, less importantly, have returned as productive members of their respective teams. Kudos to both Brian and Chris on their nominations and best of luck going forward.
The full list of nominees for the Bill Masterton award can be found here. At the time of writing, no nominees from the Anaheim Ducks or Detroit Red Wings have been announced.