The Washington chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has nominated Capitals defenseman Tom Poti for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, annually awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
Poti, 36, missed two full years with a fractured pelvis and various groin issues before earning a spot on the Capitals’ roster in January’s training camp.
“I still wanted to play,” Poti said Monday, after learning of his nomination. “I still had the passion inside me. Hockey’s still fun for me to this day and I wanted to do everything I could to get back.”
Poti underwent months of rehab and began training camp with the Hershey Bears before being recalled for the Caps’ season opener on Jan. 19.
“I wanted to have no regrets,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest things. I didn’t want to say, ‘Maybe if I tried a little bit harder.’ I didn’t want to have any what ifs.”
Poti played in 16 of the Capitals’ first 28 games this season and recorded two assists and was a minus-2 in those games. He has missed the past 17 games with a back injury suffered when Steve Ott cross-checked him from behind on March 17.
Poti said it’s tough being out of the lineup, “but a bad day in the NHL is a good day anywhere else.”
Goaltender Jose Theodore is the only member of the Capitals who has been honored with the Masterton Trophy, winning the award in 2010.