Crosby, Harding, McQuaid named Masterton finalists

Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby, Minnesota Wild goaltender Josh Harding and Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid have been named the finalists for the Bill Masterton Trophy for perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Crosby missed most of the last two seasons recovering from the effects of a devastating concussion and only a broken jaw suffered at the end of March likely denied the former Hart Trophy winner the scoring title this season. He missed the final 12 games of the regular season and finished with 56 points in 36 games while posting a career-best plus-26 rating.

Also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP, Crosby would join Mario Lemieux (1993) and Lowell MacDonald (1973) as Masterton winners from the Penguins.

Harding revealed last November that he had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an incurable auto-immune disease where the body randomly attacks the protective lining of nerves throughout the body. It causes fatigue, blurred vision and balance issues, but Harding managed to play five games during the regular season and made 24 saves in a 1-0 shutout of Dallas in his first start of the shortened campaign.

The award is based on the regular season, but Harding was forced into action in the playoffs after Niklas Backstrom was hurt during pregame warmups prior to Game 1 of the first-round series against Chicago. He wound up playing in each of the five games as the Wild were eliminated by the Blackhawks, and would be the first Wild player to win the Masterton Trophy.

McQuaid underwent a pair of surgical procedures in September after being diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which was causing blood clots to form. It was thought to be a season-ending injury, but the lockout enabled McQuaid to play in the season-opener in January.

In 32 games this season, McQuaid posted a goal with three assists for four points. He also had a goal in Boston's seven-game first-round playoff series win over Toronto.

Four previous Bruins have won the Masterton Trophy, as Phil Kessel was honored in 2007, Cam Neely in 1994, Gord Kluzak in 1990 and Charlie Simmer in 1986.

The local chapters of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association submitted nominations for the Masterton Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season and the top three vote-getters were designated as finalists.

The winner will be announced during the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals.