Energetic and thoughtful centre Dominic Moore hasn't had a chance to catch his breath, even though the season for him and his New York Ranger teammates ended three weeks ago.
Since the Los Angeles Kings bettered the Rangers in a five-game Stanley Cup final, Moore was named the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the game. Moore, who was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent, and the Rangers also were engaged in contract negotiations since the end of the season. He inked a two-year deal worth $1.5-million US a season earlier this week.
The 33-year-old Moore has played for nine different teams in his nine full NHL seasons, and he's twice played for the Rangers, the club that drafted him in the third round after his freshman season at Harvard in 2000.
"It's nice to have that set," Moore said. "I'm grateful to be a Ranger. I really like our group there and to be part of that group.
"We came up a little short obviously. But there were some good memories along the way, for sure."
Moore took a sabbatical from hockey last year as his wife Katie's 16-month battle with cancer came to and end. She passed away in January 2013 from a rare form of liver cancer.
After a year away from the game, it wasn't easy for Moore to find his groove. But he certainly kept up his reputation as a big-game playoff performer in the Rangers unexpected run to the final.
"It was an amazing last two months to the season," said Moore, who has scored 10 goals and 24 points in 69 career playoff games. "It took me a while to get back up to speed. There were no shortcuts. But to think about how far we went as a team after the way we started the season was something that was very rewarding personally.
"You live to play in those big games and I was grateful to be playing in those games. Hopefully, we can build on that for next year."
3rd annual charity event
Moore doesn't have time to relax now that the season's ended and his contract has been signed, sealed and delivered. He's been busy putting the final details for the third annual Smashfest, a charity ping-pong tournament in downtown Toronto that will once again see NHLers and other celebrities go head-to-head on July 24.
The event, which has amassed $120,000 combined in its first two years, raises money for concussion and sport head injuries as well as rare forms of cancer and has become a popular night for Moore's peer group in the NHL.
"I think it's a combination of a bunch of things," Moore said. "It's different. It's so unique and all the players have such a good time being there. It's so interactive with other guests and fans. We're able to be in a different atmosphere that we normally don't see each other.
"It's all about fun. I know some of the guys weren't sure what to make of it. But everyone who has been there comes away excited and happy they were there. So that's what we have tried to build on."
There are matches in both doubles and singles at Smashfest. In the doubles competition, a NHLer is matched with a fan. In the first Smashfest, Daniel Winnik's team won the doubles and Ryan Shannon beat his former Tampa Bay Lightning teammate, Moore, in the singles final.
Last year, Stephane Veilleux, who played with Moore with the Minnesota Wild, won both the doubles and singles competition. He beat Martin St. Louis in the singles final.
There is a ping-pong table in a staple in most NHL dressing rooms, something for teammates to exercise their competitiveness against one another.
"People ask me why ping pong?" Moore said. "Well, obviously I love to play. Every dressing room has a table and the guys get so competitive.
"I thought this would be a great way to showcase the players' personalities in an entirely new way. Not only that but to bring it out to the public in a fun and unique way."
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