From the Macomb Daily…
Tomas Holmstrom was the Detroit Red Wing nominated for the Masterton Trophy, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Perseverance? Yes. Dedication? You bet your sweet bippy. Sportsmanship? Well…perhaps if no one can understand what he’s saying, which is a pretty fair possibility.
I have a confession. After last year, the post-season, and the beginning of this year, I didn’t think that Mr. Holmstrom had much left in the tank. He was getting injured more often than usual, and wasn’t really producing at the rate we had grown accustomed to.
I have an even worse confession. It was because I didn’t think he was going to make it past this year that I actually talked my dear old mother out of buying a Holmstrom jersey in leu of a Johan Franzen. Well…she’s since given the Franzen jersey to my dad, bought herself the Holmstrom jersey, and makes sure to remind me of my misguided advice every time Holmstrom pops in another huge goal late in the game.
I don’t even know who else is nominated for this right now, and honestly, I don’t care. What player in the league, whether he’s dropping the gloves every night or not, puts his body on the line and fights through pain more than Tomas Holmstrom? The answer is simple: no one. Not a single person in the league…in the HISTORY of the league is better at standing in front of the net, getting punished by cross-check after cross-check, slash after slash, face-wash after face-wash the way that Tomas Holmstrom does night in and night out. He takes such a beating that he has to wear kevlar reinforced equipment. He sacrifices his own safety on almost every shift that he takes in every game that he plays…who else can you say that about?
Dedication? Perseverance? No one tops him in those regards, especially this year when he’s had to battle through the injuries and yet be as productive as he has been. The only Achilles heel in this award is that “sportsmanship” word. Some people view him as a diver. But this isn’t the Selke for gentlemanly play.
The fact that this is the first time he’s been nominated for this award (the first time he’s been nominated for ANY award) is a joke. Give him the trophy. He shut me up, and I’m damn happy to be saying that.