Oskar Lindblom was a Mastteron Trophy finalist after beating cancer this season, but he did not win the award.
This year it went to Cherry Hill native Bobby Ryan, who took time away from hockey to focus on his alcohol abuse:
Bobby Ryan of the @Senators is the 2019-20 recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” #NHLAwards pic.twitter.com/XoTc2GmdQM
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) September 7, 2020
The Masterton is always a little bit awkward, because we find ourselves in the position of trying to compare struggles that really don’t have anything in common. How exactly does one measure alcohol abuse against cancer? You really can’t, and then we find ourselves arguing on Twitter like this:
Idiot #1 – Bobby Ryan is just a drunk!
Idiot #2 – I agree! He shouldn’t have been awarded anything! Cancer is more serious!
Bottom line is that all three finalists have stories that should be celebrated. Lindblom beat cancer and found himself back on the ice in the playoffs, though the voting took place before that happened, so he might have won if that took place earlier in the bubble. Ryan overcame substance abuse and scored a hat trick in his first game back. Stephen Johns had traumatic headaches and was able to make his NHL return with the Dallas Stars.
We should be applauding all of these guys for overcoming their respective obstacles, and kudos to Ryan for doing just that:
Bobby Ryan, first and foremost, congratulated other nominees and finalists Oskar Lindblom and Stephen Johns.
Says they were both "equally if not more deserving" of the honour of the Masterton Trophy.
— Hailey Salvian (@hailey_salvian) September 7, 2020