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Paul Ranger for Masterton? Ummmm no.


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  Paul Ranger has been nominated as the Toronto Maple Leafs selection for the Bill Masterton trophy for dedication and perseverance to the game.


  A sixth round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 2002 the big skilled blueliner finished his career in juniors with Oshawa before turning pro in 2005. The following year he cracked the Lightning blue line rotation and for three years was a steady puck moving blueliner who peaked at 10 goals and 31 points in 2007-08. The following season on January 27th 2009 in a chippy game against the Canadiens he separated his shoulder. He had surgery less than a month later ending his season.

  The following year he came back, had a goal and 2 points in the clubs first 8 games and then inexplicably walked out of the dressing room and off the team. No answer has ever come from the Ranger camp as to why he left the team.

  Rumors have circulated for years. He possibly missed his high school sweetheart, he is suffering from clinical depression, some other form of mental illness, the most prevalent is that during his recovery from shoulder surgery he became addicted to pain medication. He certainly would not be the first. 


  He became hockey's version of where's Waldo. Darren Dreger tweeted a few years ago that he was coaching kids in Ontario. He did go back to college in Ottawa for a time. He spent three years away from the game that he had played since early childhood.

  In 2012 his agent approached the Leafs about attempting a comeback. The Leafs signed him to a contract and he spent all of last season with the Marlies, shaking off the rust and proving that he was recommitted to the game that three years previous he had walked away from.

  This year he became emotional when he made the Leafs out of camp.

 "Last year (a season with the Toronto Marlies to re-affirm he wanted back in) was a new beginning for me. This is another step on my journey. God, it brings me to tears again ...”

After a few seconds to compose himself, Ranger was ready to look forward and not back at the unspecified personal issues that caused the Whitby native to leave the NHL.

“I’d rather not go there to be honest, leave the past behind,” he said, though he agreed there were gnawing moments when he thought he’d lost the game for good.

  It was hoped he could be a top four puck moving d-man which has not exactly worked out. He has slipped to the 7th d-man playing in 50 games with 4 goals on the season and being in and out of Randy Carlyle s dog house. He has bulked up and lost some speed but relies on the physical game and a crisp first pass.

  Anyway, went long but the point is i have a hard time considering any player who walked away from the game for three years for an award that honors dedication and perseverance to the game. His comeback is a great story, his being emotional and professing love for the game is wonderful. Obviously we do not know the whole story and must respect his privacy. The odds are that he has inner demons be it depression or the very possible addiction problem with pain killers and that is remarkable in and of itself but the Masterton? No. Sorry i went so long.

Edited by yave1964
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I don't know if Ranger will win the trophy or not, but I think he's an easy nominee from the Leafs perspective.


The fact is we don't know why he took his hiatus. We have no way to know if it was a trivial or selfish reason or if it was a perfectly legit reason.


Fact is something caused him to not be able to play, which for a guy who seems to love hockey so much...it must have been hard. I don't think this is a case of giving up, I think this is a case of outside issues interfering with his career. Coming back now is perserverance on his part, and I think he deserves consideration.



I think it does show the type of dedication and perserverance that the Masterton is all about. Maybe not a win, but consideration for sure.

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