New York, NY (Sports Network) - Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jason Blake, defenseman Chris Chelios of the Detroit Red Wings and right wing Fernando Pisani of the Edmonton Oilers are the finalists for the 2008 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
The award, under the trusteeship of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, is presented annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.
In October, Blake was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), a rare but treatable form of cancer. However, he completed the season as one of only three Toronto players to appear in all 82 games. He finished the season with 15 goals and 37 assists and in the month of January he donated $1,000 per goal and $500 per assist to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
Chelios completed his 24th NHL season and ninth with the Red Wings in 2007-08. The three-time Norris Trophy-winner and 11-time All-Star has appeared in 1,616 regular-season games, sixth on the all-time list. In January, the 46-year-old Chicago native became the second-oldest player in NHL history, trailing only Gordie Howe.
Pisani missed the first 26 games of the regular season due to ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammation of the large intestine. He suffered abdominal pain and weight loss and was forced to miss training camp and the first 26 games of the regular season. He made an inspirational return to the Oilers' lineup December 2 in a 4-0 victory at Anaheim and played all of Edmontons remaining games, tallying 13 goals along with nine assists.
The Masterton Trophy winner will be announced Thursday, June 12 during the 2008 NHL Awards.