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GDT: Around the NHL Week of March/April (31-04) 2014

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The Penguins have nominated Kris Letang for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Letang, 26, was diagnosed with a stroke in late January. He has not played since, but is practicing with the Penguins. Teams are not mandated to provide detailed specifics about injured players, but Letang lobbied the Penguins to make his condition public to raise awareness about stroke. Lowell MacDonald (1973) and Mario Lemieux (1993) are previous Masterton winners for the Penguins. The trophy honors the late Bill Masterton, who died in 1968 after sustaining an injury during a game. Letang was a finalist for the Norris Trophy (top defenseman) last season.

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The Hurricanes have nominated Manny Malhotra for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Malhotra was struck in the eye with a puck near the end of the 2010-2011 NHL season, forcing him to undergo two eye surgeries in a span of a week. The Canucks, his team at the time, announced that Malhotra would not be returning for the regular season or the playoffs, erring on the side of caution. Despite these claims, Malhotra would return for the Canucks playoff run, playing in a limited role during the Stanley Cup Finals against the Bruins.

The following season would be Malhotra’s first full season since the eye injury and it would not go well for the center. He would eventually lose his third line role to rookie Cody Hodgson and then-coach of the Vancouver Canucks Alain Vigneault would say at the time that Malhotra was a shadow of his former self. Malhotra would be Vancouver’s nominee for the Masterton trophy that year, but the award would be given to fellow Canadian Max Pacioretty, who returned to have his most productive season after suffering a fractured vertebrae.

Malhotra’s career appeared to be finished in the 2012-2013 season, as the Canucks put the veteran on Injured Reserve (IR) a month into the season. General manager Mike Gillis called the decision the “hardest thing I have done in this job”, but said that it was far too risky for Malhotra’s long-term health to continue to play. Malhotra said the decision was taken out of his hands as he wanted to help the Canucks reach his long-term goal – to win the Stanley Cup. After being put on long term IR, the veteran struggled to find a team willing to sign him when he hit free agency at the end of the year.

Eventually, the Carolina Hurricanes offered Malhotra the chance to play again. Signing a tryout contract for their minor league affiliate at the beginning of this season, Malhotra proved many of the doubters wrong when a combination of his play in the minors and Carolina’s desperation to fix a major deficit in the faceoff circle earned him a 1-year deal with the Hurricanes. Since signing the deal, Malhotra has ranked among the league leaders in faceoff winning percentage and has been named an alternate captain for the Hurricanes. He has become a leader in the locker room, never afraid to speak his mind during the Hurricanes’ tumultuous times.

“That just comes along with being a veteran player,” said Malhotra. “When I was younger I sort of watched and learned. As you get older it’s your responsibility to kind of bestow what you’ve learned and what you see out there.”

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Wow NJ loses another shootout. 0-11 I believe. Ridiculous.

I don't even like the Devils but it shows how lopsided the shootout is. NJ could be a top end talent and easily playoff team but because games are decided over 1 on 1 match ups based on raw skill and not team talent teams like them are hardly relevant.

I don't even dislike Bettman as much as the next guy but I loathe the shootout. It is a completely different category and standing itself.

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