Mark Streit was informed after practice today by Greg Logan of Newsday that he is his team’s nominee for the Masterton Trophy by the Long Island chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Streit is one of 30 nominated players. Three finalists will be selected and the winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas in June.
Streit was noticeably appreciative of the gesture. The Masterton is awarded to the NHL player who “best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” This blog has twice bemoaned that the Masterton selection has over the last 15 years became a Disease of the Year award (Jason Blake over Chris Chelios last season?). Streit’s nomination is in the purest spirit of why the Masterton was created 41 years ago.
After practice today, Streit spoke of being put “in a box” by the Canadiens and his deep desire to become a full-time NHL defenseman. When he was on the verge of unrestricted free agency last summer, Streit told his agent that he was to be available for bidding as a defenseman – not as a sometimes dman, sometimes fourth-line forward, sometimes power play guy.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow told Point Blank today that he and his staff were unanimous in their opinion that Streit could be a first-pair/first power unit defenseman if given the chance. “Mark was the defenseman we wanted to play 25 minutes,” said Snow. “He was the player we wanted to run our power play. Everyone on our staff was part of the conversation, and there was no hesitation.”
Snow would not credit a specific scout for the Streit recommendation, insisting it was a “group effort” and understandably wanting to send the message that they hit or miss as a team. Fair enough. So in the interest of informing fans, here are the gentlemen we understand to be major players in the pro scouting ranks of the Islanders: Ken Morrow, Quebec-based scout Mario Saraceno, Rob Cowie, Toby O’Brien and Chris O’Sullivan.
Take a bow for the signing, scouts. Take a bow for the Masterton nomination, Mark Streit.
ETC: Doug Weight practiced on a yellow jersey line with Sean Bergenheim and Nate Thompson. Weight is definitely out for Wednesday, but hopes to play Friday in Detroit or home on Saturday vs. Philadelphia – maybe both. “No reason if I’m healthy to sit on the sidelines and watch,” the center said.
Andy Sutton said he had a meeting with Garth Snow later in the day and would be better able to provide an update on his status tomorrow.