David Backes is the Bruins nominee for the Masterton trophy this season. Perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey are in Backes’ blood.
Perseverance - Earlier this season, Backes underwent surgery to remove part of his colon after suffering a bad case of diverticulitis. He was back on the ice in no time, recovering faster than was expected. Later this season, he also suffered a laceration to his leg after colliding with Tampa Bay forward, Yanni Gourde. This season, Backes has missed more games than he has in his whole career.
Sportsmanship - Backes is one of the most sportsmanlike players in the game. Being a good sport can be pretty tough these days, especially in the NHL. If a player from the opposing team goes down, Backes is one of the first players to make sure the opponent is okay.
Dedication - I'm not sure I can name someone who is more dedicated than Backes. I mean, coming back from colon surgery in no time really shows his dedication to the sport. I’m sure being out of the lineup right now frustrates him. He’s dedicated to the sport and helping his team win hockey games.
This is the first time Backes has been nominated for the Masterton. Backes had this to say in a Globe piece by Kevin Paul Dupont:
"You take the situation in front of you,” said Backes. “And I believe that it is 20 percent of what happens to you and 80 percent of how you respond to it. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by good doctors, good people, family, support, people praying for me to get better … and be a member of a team that’s doing good things this year.”
Past Bruins winners of the Masterton through the years include Charlie Simmer (‘86), Gord Kluzak (‘90), Cam Neely (‘94), and Phil Kessel (‘07).
Charlie Simmer took home the award in 1986 after overcoming serious ligament damage to his knee to score 60 points. Gord Kluzak won it in 1990 after overcoming severe knee injuries. Cam Neely won it in 1994, “to recognize his valiant efforts to return to NHL action after suffering career-threatening injuries.” Finally, Phil Kessel won it in 2007 after missing 12 games due to testicular cancer.
The most recent winners of the award are Devan Dubnyk (‘15), Jaromir Jagr (‘16), and Craig Anderson (‘17).
Will David Backes be the next Bruin to win the Masterton?