Pandolfo nominated for Masterton

Islanders forward recognized for perseverance and dedication to the sport

Friday, 03.16.2012 / 6:27 PM ET / News
By David Hochman
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Pandolfo nominated for Masterton


Perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication defined former Minnesota North Star Bill Masterton to a tee. In the four decades since his death, the National Hockey League has honored his memory by annually awarding the Masterton Memorial Trophy to an NHL player who exemplifies those same qualities.

Every NHL team’s beat reporters nominate one player from that team for this prestigious award. This year, a select group of New York-area writers chose Jay Pandolfo as the Islanders nominee for the Masterton Memorial Trophy.

“It’s an honor to be nominated for the Masterton Trophy,” Pandolfo said. “Some of the guys that have won this before have come back from a lot more than I did, so to be named among those guys means a lot. Anytime you’re honored like this, it’s special.”

Past winners have overcome illnesses and injuries to return to the league as successful players. But it’s Pandolfo’s commitment to the game and determination to finding a way back to the NHL that made him the Islanders candidate.

After 13 seasons with the New Jersey Devils organization, Pandolfo found himself without a team following an injury-plagued 2009-10 season. At 35-years-old, free agency did not bode well as teams were adding youth. He eventually caught on with the Columbus Blue Jackets AHL affiliate Springfield Falcons with a tryout in November 2010.

He played 12 games for them before his surgically-repaired shoulder started giving him issues again. Pandolfo took about six months to regroup mentally and physically before deciding last June that he wanted to give the NHL another shot. The Islanders gave him that shot with a tryout in September.

The Islanders gave me an opportunity for a tryout and I can’t say enough about them. Garth Snow, Jack Capuano and Charles Wang gave me the chance to continue my career here; it’s meant a lot to me.” - Jay Pandolfo

The team gave him the opportunity, but Pandolfo skated away with it. After the struggles of the prior two years, he couldn’t let it go that easily.

“It was tough – I wasn’t sure if my career was done or not,” Pandolfo said. “I didn’t think it was, so I stuck with my training and everything. I thought if I could get back in shape and stay healthy, I could hopefully help the team.”

Help he has. At 37, Pandolfo is the second-oldest player on the Islanders next to fellow camp-tryout-turned-veteran-leader Steve Staios. He’s been a steadying presence on the fourth line all season long, providing valuable forechecking and penalty killing to a team still learning those intangibles it takes to win. And he’s enjoyed it.

“It’s been great to be back,” Pandolfo said. “This organization is headed in the right direction and I’m glad to be a part of it. It’s a young team that’s taking the right steps forward and I think this is team is going to be one of the top teams in the league in the next couple years. They’re just learning the way to win and I’m happy I can help with that.”

After missing an entire year of action, Pandolfo proved that he could still cut it in the world’s greatest hockey league. These past six months have served notice to 29 other teams that couldn’t or wouldn’t take him on. Now, he’s playing at the highest level and showing some bright, young stars what it takes to stay at that level. Even though many were surprised with his re-emergence in the NHL, after the year Pandolfo’s had, no one would be surprised with an appearance in Las Vegas this June.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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