Hal Gill nominated for Masterton Trophy

Hal Gill nominated for Masterton Trophy
April 4, 2014, 7:00 pm
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Hal Gill has played in just four games for the Flyers this season. (USA Today Images)

Hal Gill, who turns 39 on Sunday, is the Bill Masterton Trophy nominee by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
 
The award, which Ian Laperriere won in 2011, goes to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
 
Despite being a healthy scratch for 41 consecutive games -- a half season -- Gill was an obvious candidate, given his leadership role on the Flyers in the dressing room and his work with young players, such as defenseman Erik Gustafsson.
 
A former Stanley Cup winner in Pittsburgh, Gill has never complained about his role this year as the club’s eighth defenseman.
 
“A great leader for an older, veteran guy who has been around,” coach Craig Berube said. “What he’s done this year for our team. He’s not playing, but his support for all the guys and his leadership in the locker room and at practice, how hard he works every day, it’s pretty remarkable. He’s a special guy. I have a lot of respect for him.”
 
Gill has played 16 years in the NHL. He’s appeared in just four games this season.
 
The 6-foot-7 defenseman learned from one of the NHL’s best -- Ray Bourque in Boston.
 
“He was a father figure at that time, and I needed to see how to handle myself and carry myself in the locker room,” Gill said.
 
And now Hal Gill has been a father figure for this group of Flyers.
 
“Guys see how hard he works every day and not playing, and it goes a long way,” Berube said.
 
Gill seemed caught off-guard by the nomination.
 
“Lappy blocked shots with his face, so I guess he deserved that,” Gill quipped of the most recent Flyer to win the award.
 
“I’m honored. I’ve never been one for individual awards. A lot of people have persevered through things. ... I guess I’m dedicated. I love hockey. I want to win.
 
“When I’m around younger players, I learn a lot. Skating with [Gustafsson] today, watching the way he shoots, I try to watch what he does and it goes back and forth where we try to learn from each other. I try to be good in the locker room and help the team.”
 
Gill admitted he didn’t think the Flyers would be blessed with so few injuries on the back end that he wouldn’t play but said, “We’ve been really fortunate and have had healthy players and I will never complain about that.
 
“I thought I would help somewhere along the line. I’ve tried to stay in shape and be ready for when my number is called.”
 
Loose pucks
• Steve Downie (whiplash) might in the lineup Saturday against Boston. Berube said it would be a game-time decision.

• Wayne Simmonds and Andrew MacDonald had maintenance days off, but MacDonald is also nursing a right instep injury after blocking a shot in St.Louis on Tuesday.

Looking for Flyers tickets? Buy them through the Wanamaker Entertainment Group.