NHL Awards: Crosby, McQuaid, Harding finalists for Masterton

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Crosby, McQuaid and Harding are the finalists for the Masterton. (Getty Images)
Crosby, McQuaid and Harding are the finalists for the Masterton. (Getty Images)

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Every year the Masterton Trophy is awarded to the player voters feel "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." It's pretty much treated as the comeback player of the year even if it's not the exact definition.

With that in mind, the three finalists for the award were announced on Tuesday and for the third award already, Sidney Crosby is a candidate. He is joined by Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid and goaltender of the Wild, Josh Harding.

Crosby earned the nomination from the Pittsburgh media for somewhat obvious reasons. He was still battling concussion and neck issues last season until the very end so really, some questions -- albeit minor ones -- still lingered coming into this campaign. They were proven silly by Crosby, who would have run away with the scoring title had he not suffered a broken jaw. Don't forget how long he was out over the past two years from those concussion problems.

McQuaid's season was in jeopardy back in September -- when we didn't even know if there would be a season -- because of blood clots. More specifically, he was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which contributes to blood clots. He had a couple of surgeries to fix the clots on his swollen arm and didn't miss a game.

Last, but certainly not least, is Harding. The Wild goaltender was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before the season began but the idea of not playing never crossed his mind. He had one of the best moments of the season when he made his first start after revealing the diagnosis, and he had a shutout. Harding suffered some complications during the season and was placed on IR, but returned and was called upon in the playoffs when Niklas Backstrom was hurt.

It's tough for me to believe that Harding won't win this award. His diagnosis with MS was very well known and he served as an inspiration to a lot of people by refusing to bow down to his condition.

 
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