Capitals defenseman Tom Poti has been nominated for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

The award, voted on by the entire PHWA membership, goes to the NHL player who has best exemplified the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport of hockey. Poti, 36, missed almost two full seasons with a serious groin injury and a pelvic fracture and for a time it appeared his career was over.

But Poti finally began feeling better in the fall, skating again in his hometown of Boston, and by the time the Caps opened training camp in early January following the NHL lockout he was ready to participate again. Poti hadn’t played in an NHL game since Jan. 12, 2011.

“I wanted to play, I still had the passion inside me,” Poti said. “Hockey’s still fun for me to this day, I wanted to do everything I could to get back. I wanted to have no regrets. That was one of the biggest things. I didn’t want to say ‘Maybe if I tried a little bit harder…What if?’ I didn’t want to have any what ifs.”

It hasn’t exactly been a smooth comeback. Poti has appeared in just 16 games and dealt with various minor injuries. Now healthy again, he’s been forced from the lineup thanks to an extended stretch of good play by his teammates, especially left defensemen John Erskine and Jack Hillen.

“A bad day in the NHL is a good day anywhere else,” Poti said. “Just keep working hard and maybe I’ll get a chance.”

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