Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Vyacheslav Kozlov Nominated for NHL’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

Atlanta Thrashers forward Vyacheslav Kozlov has been selected by the Atlanta chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association (PHWA) as the team’s nominee for the National Hockey League’s Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. This is the first time Kozlov has been nominated for the award.

Kozlov has registered 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) through 76 games this season and is currently tied for second on the team in points and assists. The 36-year-old forward posted a season-high eight-game point streak from March 8 to March 21, earning 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in that span.

The native of Voskresensk, Russia recorded 41 points (17 goals, 24 assists) in 82 games in 2007-08 despite playing through shoulder and knee injuries which forced him to undergo two off-season surgeries to repair the damage. Kozlov has re-emerged this season as an offensive catalyst for the Thrashers and has already eclipsed last year’s point total by 29. Kozlov has proven to be a vital part of the league’s 10th best power play unit, currently ranking second in the NHL in power play points (42) and assists (30), as well as scoring a career-high 12 power play goals.

“It’s an honor to be nominated for this year’s Bill Masterton Award,” said Kozlov. “Injuries are no excuse but it was important for me to come back strong this year and contribute to helping the team.”

Kozlov has played in 1,121 career NHL games with the Thrashers, Sabres and Red Wings, posting 821 points (346 goals, 475 assists) while capturing back-to-back Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998 with Detroit.

Kozlov was originally drafted by Detroit in the third round, 45th overall, in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. He was acquired by the Thrashers from Buffalo with a second-round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft for a second-round selection and a third-round selection in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft on June 22, 2002.

The most recent winner of the Masterton Trophy was Jason Blake of the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2007-08 season. The winner of the NHL’s Masterton Trophy is selected by a poll among the 30 chapters of the PHWA at the end of the regular season. The trophy was first presented by the NHL writers in 1968 to commemorate the late Bill Masterton. Masterton, who died on Jan. 15, 1968, was a player with the Minnesota North Stars who exhibited to a high degree the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Tickets for all regular-season Thrashers games at Philips Arena can be purchased by visiting, calling (800) 326-4000, or by visiting the Philips Arena Box Office or any Ticketmaster Ticket Outlet.
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