The Masterton Trophy is given out to the NHL player who represents the best qualities of dedication, endurance, and a commitment to play. The award is usually given out to a player that has returned to the ice after battling serious illness or injury. This year’s nominee has battled through several injuries and has proven that he’s willing to come back and do what he can for his team. This year’s nominee for the Boston Bruins is defenseman Adam McQuaid.
McQuaid has had a rough last twelve months playing in the NHL. He was unable to play in last year’s post season due to an injury caused by a hit from the Washington Capitals‘ Jason Chimera. (Makes me wonder if #54 is going to look up an old number for that hit in tonight’s game.) After the Bruins early withdrawal from the post season(at the hands of the Capitals), McQuaid went back to his normal work out routine. Unfortunately, he was sidelined with a far more serious problem just after the lockout was starting.
McQuaid suffered a minor injury while practicing with Bruins players in early October. That injury caused blood clots to form in his arm, causing it to swell. By the time the official diagnosis was made(Thoracic Outlet Syndrome- TOS occurs when compression at the superior thoracic outlet wherein excess pressure placed on a neurovascular bundle passing between the anterior scalene and middle scalene muscles. [Essentially, a life threatening pain in the neck.]) #54 required near immediate surgery. One operation removed the life threatening clot. The second required the removal of a rib and muscles in his neck in order to stop this from happening in the future.
As a survivor of two strokes, I know how medical treatment can up-end your life. The blood thinners and the inactivity can really bring an active live to a standstill. I personally felt for McQuaid, because he was going through something I had went through when I was twenty-seven. After the operations, the blood thinners should have sidelined McQuaid for up to six months. Good grace was with him though. His recovery had exceeded expectations and he was back on the ice by December. (If that’s not a Christmas miracle….)
McQuaid was ready to go in time for the intra-squad Bruins scrimmage. McQuaid even stepped up to fight AHL Bruins’ brawler Bobby Robbins. While Robbins did get the better of McQuaid in that bout, that Adam could actually get on the ice at all was amazing. In this season, he also sustained a shoulder and a lower body injury. (That last injury was courtesy of Pittsburgh’s nominee for the Masterson, Matt Cooke. You might remember Jack Edwards going on a colorful over the top rant on that subject.)His dedication and extreme work ethic have driven him to work hard and get back on the ice faster than expected each time. With the possibility of Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, no player this season has taken such severe life altering injuries, and gotten back on the ice so quickly this season.
“To be honest I think I’ve matured mentally because of all this.” said McQuaid when interviewed about his nomination. ” I’m trying to take a positive approach to everything. Unfortunately injuries are a part of the game, but I don’t want to change the way I approach the game. Maybe I put myself in situations where I can get dinged up, but I can’t change the way I play. It’s definitely something I’m going to reflect on at the end of the year.”
If anyone has earned the right to be described as dedicated to his sport and his team, Adam McQuaid has. I’m thrilled the Boston sportswriters really got it right this year.
The last Bruins player to win the Masterton Trophy was Phil Kessel in 2007. Kessel was battling testicular cancer that season.