Since my contibutions to Wednesday’s Daily News print version are limited to NBA basketball and NCAA Division III diving, I thought this would be a good forum to let Kings fans know that Derek Armstrong has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The award is supposed to be awarded “ to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.” More recently, and unfortunately, it has become the NHL’s version of the comeback player of the year award, which explains why Luc Robitaille, who was a couple good deeds short of Gandhi status last season, didn’t win it. So Armstrong is a longshot but he’s a very worthy choice. In addition to the extensive charity work he does, you won’t find a more solid citizen in the Kings’ dressing room, and in hockey that’s really saying something. Without fail, he’s polite, honest and good natured.
On the ice, Armstrong is one of those guys who isn’t brilliant at any one thing, but he’s good at many things. Here’s all you need to know: Armstrong has a plus-14 rating on a team that has been in last place in the Western Conference for a big chunk of the season. The next best number is Michael Cammalleri’s plus-8. The Kings made sure to lock up Armstrong with a contract extension before the end of the season. They didn’t want him to get away and they want him to be around to mentor some of the kids in the next couple years.