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Havlat to be nominated for Masterton Trophy
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Martin Havlat


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Published: 4/1/2009 10:37 PM

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Recognizing Martin Havlat's big comeback season, the Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has nominated the Blackhawks winger for the Masterton Trophy.

The award goes annually to the NHL player demonstrating dedication, sportsmanship and perseverance to the game.

After missing much of his first two seasons with the Hawks because of injuries, Havlat has missed only one game and has 26 goals and 69 points after picking up an assist in Wednesday's 3-1 victory over St. Louis.

"It's an honor to be recognized like that by the Professional Writers Association," Havlat said. "It's kind of new for me, but that's individual and right now my focus is on the team.

"We have (six) hard games before the regular season ends and we're still not in the playoffs for sure. We need to keep focusing on winning some games and me personally helping the team to win."

Havlat appeared in only 35 games last season because of a shoulder injury that finally required surgery, ending his year in March.

He rehabbed the shoulder throughout the summer and, in his contract season, has turned in his best numbers since he scored 31 goals with Ottawa in 2003-04.

"It's been a lot of fun on the ice and off the ice," Havlat said. "It's no fun watching the games from the dressing room or on TV. I had a bad last few years. I just tried to do my work after the surgery (last March) to get healthy for the new season."

Havlat admitted it was frustrating that Hawks fans didn't see him at his healthiest for two years.

"For sure, you come from somewhere the new guy and you come to a new city and a new team and you want to show why people are bringing you here to win games and get them back in the winning track," Havlat said.

"Until I got hurt everything was fine, but you can't control those things. It's hockey and players get hurt in this game. It was just a little too much the last few years, and I'm just happy the way it's going right now."

Change it up: With Dave Bolland unable to play Wednesday because of a sore foot and Troy Brouwer (knee) still out, coach Joel Quenneville mixed and matched his lines while dressing seven defenseman, using Aaron Johnson up front.

Perhaps with an eye to the playoffs, Quenneville put together more of a checking line with Sammy Pahlsson centering for Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien.

Martin Havlat moved up to play with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, while Patrick Sharp went back to center between Kris Versteeg and Ben Eager.

Johnson played left wing on the fourth line with Colin Fraser and Adam Burish.