LOS ANGELES — Late Sunday night, the National Hockey League and the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced that center Michal Handzus has been named as the Los Angeles Kings’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
Handzus has been a leader on a young team and finally has shaken the effects of knee surgery to become a vital player for the Kings. That is especially true on the power play, where he has used his size and skills around the net to become an effective and valuable force.
Handzus plays hard every game and has set an excellent example for his younger teammates of how to persevere through tough times. He had only seven goals and 21 points last season but is well past that this season, collecting 39 points through 78 games.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to honor the late Bill Masterton, a player for the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited those qualities. Masterton died on January 15, 1968, as a result of an on-ice injury.
The award will be among those presented at the NHL Awards Show in Las Vegas on June 18, 2009 at the Palms Hotel and Casino.
Winger George Parros (Anaheim), defenseman Stephane Robidas (Dallas), defenseman Zbynek Michalek (Phoenix) and forward Claude Lemieux (San Jose) were the other Pacific Division nominees.
Nominees for the other divisions were announced last week.
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