By Brian Compton
NHL.com Staff Writer
It took eight seasons of minor-league hockey for Quintin Laing, who played in the ECHL each of his first two years, to become a full-time player in the National Hockey League.
Eight seasons of long bus rides. Eight seasons of three-games-in-three-night sets. Eight seasons of wondering if he ever would get that elusive call-up.
While he doesn’t crack the lineup every night, the 28-year-old Laing has been with the Washington Capitals since being recalled from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League since Dec. 7, when he was called up for the second time this season. Prior to this season, Laing had just three games of NHL experience, which came with the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2003-04 season.
His determination and unselfish demeanor have landed Laing a nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, which is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association each year to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.”
“I was pretty caught off-guard by it,” Laing told NHL.com. “I’m pretty blown away and humbled by the nomination. To be up for a major award like that, it’s really exciting news. Everyone’s excited back home.”
Everyone’s excited in the U.S. capital, too. That includes former Mississippi and current Washington coach Bruce Boudreau, who, much like Laing, finally landed in the NHL earlier this season after spending 17 seasons coaching in the minors. Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon behind the Capitals’ bench Nov. 22, 2007.