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Blackhawks goalie Jeff Glass’ long journey to NHL earns him Masterton nomination

Jeff Glass made his NHL debut this season at age 32. (Getty Images)

There were probably a dozen times goaltender Jeff Glass could have given up on his NHL dream — when he went from Canadian hero for backstopping the 2005 World Junior champions to the ECHL; when he was in Year 4 of his minor-league career; when he was in Year 7 of his KHL career; when he was enduring 45 straight days of Siberian snow.

But even in his 30s, 13 years removed from his greatest triumph — his roommate during those World Juniors? Brent Seabrook — Glass believed. For his patience, perseverance and dedication to the sport, Glass was chosen as the Masterton Trophy nominee by the Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. All 31 chapters nominate a player, and the winner is then voted on by the PHWA at large.

“When I came back [from Russia], I knew I was going to have to start from the bottom, but I didn’t realize quite how far down,” Glass said on Saturday from Rockford, where he’s been playing with the IceHogs. “It took me a while to really kind of get on the radar anywhere. It probably took me a year to get here. And then these guys gave me a chance. I’ll forever be thankful for that chance. I’m a huge believer in work ethic and sticking with it. Got a chance and tried to make the most of it, still am trying to make the most of it.”

Glass finally reached the NHL at age 32. In his NHL debut, he made 42 saves in an overtime victory at Edmonton, before making 35 saves two days later in his hometown of Calgary. In all, he played in 14 games, going 3-6-3 and serving as an inspiration and role model for teammates young and old. He was sent back to Rockford on Feb. 15.

For Glass, now it’s about getting back to the NHL.

“My goal was never to go up and play a game and get out of there,” he said. “It was to be a full-timer. I think I took the first step towards doing that. I’m fortunate the way it turned out. But I really still believe I can play at that level.”

Never a doubt

The question of whether Dylan Sikura would sign with the Hawks after his college career ended or pursue free agency hung over the entire season. But now that he’s signed through next season, and likely to debut on Thursday, Sikura said it was never really in doubt.

“There’s obviously some people that would doubt, but the big focus for me at school was just to focus on what I had at school there,” he said. “There’s a reason I went back for my senior year there, to try to win. I just tried to stay grounded there and keep this whole Chicago thing in the background until my college season ended.”

Status Crow

It’s been obvious for some time that Corey Crawford wasn’t going to play again this season. But Joel Quenneville still wouldn’t rule him out on Monday. In terms of his workouts, Quenneville said that Crawford has been “off for a bit” and that his odds of playing again were “going down rapidly.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews is still day-to-day with an upper-body injury, and Quenneville had no update on Anthony Duclair, who injured his leg March 10 in Boston.

Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

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