By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
There were some local connections to the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy finalist announcement in the months since hockey returned. Two of the three finalists had local ties.
On Monday, one of them took home the award. Cherry Hill, NJ native Bobby Ryan was named the winner of the Masterton Memorial Trophy, presented to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Flyers forward Oskar Lindblom was also a finalist.
Ryan, a forward for the Ottawa Senators, took a leave of absence from the team back in November and entered the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance program for alcohol abuse. He returned to the Senators on Feb. 25, playing in the final eight games of the season for Ottawa. Two days after his return, he scored a hat trick in a 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
In the eight games played after his return, Ryan scored four goals total and averaged over 16 minutes of ice time.
Lindblom’s story has been well-documented, not just locally, but around the league. He was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in December and worked tirelessly through treatments and chemotherapy, completing treatment in July. Lindblom culminated the comeback by returning to the ice for Games 6 and 7 of the Flyers’ second-round series against the New York Islanders this past Thursday and Saturday.
Voting for the Masterton Trophy and all NHL awards is completed before the playoffs, so Lindblom’s return to the ice was not part of consideration for the award.
Two other Flyers are up for NHL awards later this week. Alain Vigneault is a finalist for the Jack Adams Award, which will be revealed on Wednesday, and Sean Couturier is a finalist for the Selke Trophy, which will be awarded on Thursday.