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Penguins notebook: Letang nominated for Masterton Memorial Trophy

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 11:03 a.m.
 

Kris Letang is in the running for another NHL award.

He is a nominee for the Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to a player that best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. Letang, 26, was diagnosed with a stroke in late January. He has not played since but is practicing with the Penguins.

“It's not the award you ever want to be up for,” Letang said, “but it's also a great honor.”

The award honors the late Bill Masterton, who died in 1968 after suffering an injury during a game. Lowell MacDonald (1973) and Mario Lemieux (1993) are previous Masterton winners for the Penguins. A player from each of the league's 30 clubs is nominated for the Masterton Trophy by that city's chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association.

Teams are not mandated to provide detailed specifics about injured players, but Letang lobbied the Penguins to make his condition public to raise awareness about strokes. He said Tuesday that “it would be great” if the Masterton nomination bring a greater spotlight to the medical condition.

Letang was a finalist for the Norris Trophy as top defenseman last season. He has played in 34 games, scoring 10 goals and eight assists.

There is no time frame for his return to play, but Letang is practicing without limitations.

• Injured defenseman Paul Martin (right hand), is hopeful he can play Thursday at Winnipeg. Martin said Tuesday he will lobby team doctors for clearance because he wants to play in as many games as possible before the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Penguins have six games remaining before the postseason, and Martin has missed the past 18 contests and 44 overall.

• Forward Bryan Rust signed a two-year, entry-level contract. The 80th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Rust scored 17 goals this season with Notre Dame.

• Backup goalie Jeff Zatkoff teamed with the Penguins Foundation to raise money for the Lupus Foundation. His mask, designed specifically for the Penguins' outdoor game at Soldier Field, and a game-used stick are up for auction through April 11 (www.auctions.nhl.com).

— Rob Rossi

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