The Masterton Trophy [...] is given to the National Hockey League player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. - NHL.com
There never seems to be a shortage of amazing candidates for the Masterton Trophy; the NHL is filled with people who have defeated personal demons or physical ailments, who have persevered through obstacles both professional and personal. They simply personify strength, dedication and character.
And while many of the Capitals embody these traits, there is absolutely no better selection than this year’s nominee, Jose Theodore.
For Theodore, this season has been about dealing with a tragedy unimaginable to most of us – the loss of a child. Anyone who has experienced loss at any sort of personal level knows that just getting through the day can often be a struggle. That Theodore was back at work just a few short weeks after the tragedy was, in itself, a testament to his dedication to hockey; that he has not only rebounded from a shaky start but thrived, a sign of his strength and resiliency.
"I can remember sometimes, it could be a 2-2 game, and you start thinking about your son, or you start thinking about different stuff. Or you could be getting dressed [in pads] and trying to get focused and you get carried away thinking."
After a back-and-forth start to the year, Theodore has firmly established himself as the Capitals’ starting goaltender, stringing together performances that ranged from good to spectacular with very few bumps along the way. He played a key role in helping the Caps win 14 straight games and is unbeaten in regulation over the last 22 games (19-0-3) and counting - a franchise record.
It's what he's done off the ice, however, that reveals his true character. Theodore has turned his personal grief into a way to help others by establishing Saves for Kids - a foundation created in his son's honor that benefits the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children's National Medical Center. Theodore donates money for every save, every win and every shutout and has inspired others to give what they can, as well; his way of giving back to the people who helped his family through a tough time.
Through it all Theodore has been the utmost professional and, over the last few months, a big reason for the Caps' success. He's taken personal tragedy and used it to fuel his performance while helping others, finding strength and comfort in the sport of hockey to help him through this tough time.
In short he has been everything the Masterton Trophy stands for... and more.