CHICAGO -- Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery is the Hawks’ 2012 Bill Masterton Trophy nominee, given out annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Emery had hip surgery in 2010 due to a condition called avascular necrosis. He said it was a “longshot” he’d ever play again.
“It seems like a while ago that I’ve had that operation done,” Emery said after being informed he was nominated. “That’s something I look back on as a tough time but also a growing experience and made me realize how much I really appreciate being able to play the game.”
Emery’s recovery was an arduous process culminating with his return to the NHL last season with the Anaheim Ducks. He went 7-2 for them down the stretch helping the team into the playoffs. Emery was also nominated for the Masterton at the end of last season. This year he is 15-9-3 after coming to training camp on a tryout.
“It was different,” Emery joked. “I hadn’t had a tryout in 10 years or something.”
He won the back-up job -- as well as a contract -- and has flirted with being the starter this season. He said he was “humbled” by a second consecutive nomination.
“It was a difficult thing,” Emery said of his comeback. “There is a lot of things people don’t see as well so when people recognize you for it, it’s nice.”
All 30 NHL teams nominate a candidate per their local chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The Masterton Trophy winner will be announced at the NHL awards show in Las Vegas this June.