San Jose Sharks right wing Jed Ortmeyer named as finalist for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

By Jon Swenson - Last updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - Save & Share - One Comment

San Jose Sharks right wing Jed Ortmeyer named as finalist for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy

San Jose Sharks right wing Jed Ortmeyer was named Monday as a finalist for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Defenseman Kurtis Foster of the Tampa Bay Lightning, and goaltender Jose Theodore of the Washington Capitals, join Ortmeyer in contention for the annual award given to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”

The Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy is selected by a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and will be awarded at the 2010 NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 23rd.

Ortmeyer’s situation in San Jose was rather unique. Signed in the offseason along with Manny Malhotra and Scott Nichol, Ortmeyer was considered a veteran “grinder” who could add another layer of defensive responsibility and snarl on the Sharks third or fourth line. A fan favorite on the HMO line in New York (Hollweg-Moore-Ortmeyer), Ortmeyer saw his role drastically diminish in Nashville. After registering 51 games played in 2007-08, he skated in only 2 the following year.

According to a November article by San Jose Mercury News beat writer David Pollak, Ortmeyer nearly walked away from the game after battling a hereditary blood-clotting disorder. The condition initially presented itself after knee surgery performed during his sophmore season at Michigan in 2001. It returned while he was with the Rangers in 2006 as pulmonary embolisms in each lung. “Even then I didn’t really know how serious it was until all of the nurses came in, one by one, and gave me hugs,” Ortmeyer told the Mercury News. “At that point I was like ‘What’s going on?’ And I realized how lucky I was that it pushed through my heart and didn’t cause any major problems.”

After a third knee surgery in Nashville, more blood clots emerged and Ortmeyer had a filter inserted to stop them from reaching critical organs. He missed the first two months of the 2008-09 season with the Predators, but what was termed a “conditioning assignment” turned into 55 games played with AHL affiliated Milwaukee Admirals. Ortmeyer registered 10 goals and 23 points during the regular season, and 7 points during an 11-game run in the AHL Calder Cup playoffs. He skated only twice with the Predators that season.

The Sharks pointed to Ortmeyer’s ability to overcome obstacles when they signed him for 2009-10. According to the Mercury News, Ortmeyer has to take regular shots of an anti-coagulant in order to play in the NHL. He also has a special diet, and uses compression socks to minimize the risks he takes to play. According to the New York Times, Ortmeyer has to wear special rib padding to cut down on the risk of internal injuries, and he undergos monthly ultrasound examinations to detect any potential problems.

“He’s just a very, very driven young man that doesn’t take no for an answer,” his brother Jake Ortmeyer told the New York Times. “I wanted to go out on my terms,” Jed Ortmeyer added.

The Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy is named in honor of the former Minnesota North Stars center and NCAA tournament MVP. Masterson was checked to the ice by a pair of Oakland Seals during a 1968 home game in Minnesota’s inaugural season. Masterson never recovered from the serious head injuries he sustained on the play. The NHL created an award given to the player that best exhibits dedication, sportsmanship, and perseverance.

Since the 1967-68 season, 41 players have received the award including Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely, Lanny McDonald and former Sharks Tony Granato, Adam Graves and Teemu Selanne.

[Update] Hooked on Hockey From a Young Age in Omaha – New York Times.

[Update2] Foster, Ortmeyer, Theodore vie for Masterton –

The veteran forward not only has to work hard each shift to ensure he has a place in the NHL, but also battles a challenging health condition that requires daily attention. At some point each day, Ortmeyer must use a needle to inject a blood thinner directly into his stomach to combat a hereditary blood-clotting disorder that has threatened not only his hockey career, but also his life…

The process is tricky and the timing must be precise. The blood thinner, Lovenox, needs to be in his system during the down time when he’s not on the ice and it needs to be out of his system when he plays or practices so that a hard check or a high stick does not cause fatal bleeding.

[Update3] Ortmeyer A Masterton Finalist The Sharks are excited with Ortmeyer’s Masterton nomination –

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One Response to “San Jose Sharks right wing Jed Ortmeyer named as finalist for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy”

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Time July 1, 2010 at 6:06 PM

[...] Sharks moved in a different direction from Masterton Trophy nominee Jed Ortmeyer. Ortmeyer struggled late in the season after suffering a double hernia injury, the [...]