The NHL announced the three finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy on Tuesday morning, which is awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. The honor is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.
In addition to the trophy, a $2,500 grant award is given to the Bill Masterton Scholarship Fund in the name of that year's winner.
Crosby has battled injury for much of the last three seasons. Prior to 2013, the Penguins captain had missed a considerable amount of the previous two seasons due to concussion issues. During the course of this season, he missed all of April after sustaining a fractured jaw at the end of March. Despite missing the end of the campaign, he finished tied with Alex Ovechkin for the third most points (56) amongst any other player (four points off the league lead).
In 36 games, Crosby registered 15 goals and 41 assists.
Harding was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November of 2012, which is an incurable autoimmune disease where the body randomly attacks its protective lining of nerves, causing them to scar. Side effects include balance issues, blurred vision and fatigue, which of course makes performing as a professional goaltender difficult. Harding battled the disease and appeared in five regular season contests, in addition to playing in five playoff games.
McQuaid underwent two procedures in September because of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, which caused blood clots to form. One of the surgeries removed a clot from his arm, while the other required the removal of a rib and some muscle from the right side of his neck. Despite an original projection of missing the season, McQuaid returned to activity in December and played on Opening Day.
McQuaid played in 32 games during the regular season, as well as all seven games during the Bruins' first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The winner of the award is expected to be announced sometime during the Stanley Cup Final.