Brian Elliott is becoming a master in Masterton nominations.
The 33-year-old goaltender was chosen as the Flyers' 2019 finalist for the award that recognizes the one player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to ice hockey.”
The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted Elliott as the nominee.
This season marks the fifth time in Elliott’s career he has been a representative for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy despite never winning the award. He was nominated four times during his five years with the St. Louis Blues.
“It’s definitely a meaningful award — your dedication to the game,” Elliott said. “I’ve always been a guy that just loves the game, loves to be at the rink and around the team. Whenever you get nominated for something like that, it’s definitely humbling.”
In his first season with the Flyers, Elliott suffered the first significant injury of his career during a game in Arizona on Feb. 10, 2018, extending his body to make a save. The injury required major surgery to repair the abdomen and core muscle area. Doctors realized Elliott also required hip surgery, but the Flyers' netminder postponed an additional surgery in an attempt to be ready for the playoffs.
“He could have gone in and had them both fixed and been ready for September, but he wanted to play at the end of the year. Credit to him, he’s a high character guy and a battler,” former GM Ron Hextall said.
Once the Flyers were ousted in six games to the Penguins in the first round of the playoffs, Elliott had the second procedure — hip surgery — and proceeded to remain in Philadelphia throughout the offseason under the watchful eye of the Flyers' training staff.
Elliott believed he had “turned the corner” this season before suffering a recurrence of his hip injury in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 15.
That setback forced him to miss another three months of action this season.
“It was definitely a test of your mind and trying to stay positive when you have some dark days, but that’s what the game is all about,” Elliott said. “You want to come back and have that drive and have that power, and execution that you had before the injury. It was such a challenge and when you can come out on the other side, either winning a game or overcoming an obstacle, I think that’s the biggest joy you can get out of it.”
Of the 31 team nominees, the PHWA will select three finalists who will attend the NHL’s awards ceremony in Las Vegas once the season has concluded when the winner will be announced.
The Flyers have had three players win the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy that has been awarded every season since 1968.
Ian Laperriere was the last in 2011 after suffering post-concussion syndrome following a slap shot to the eye and face while blocking a shot.
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