Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award Candidates
Every season, at the last New York Rangers regular season game, former NYPD officer Steven McDonald, paralyzed in the line of duty, comes out flanked by his wife and son and presents one of the best awards a hockey player can receive. That is the award the fans vote on and lets a player know they appreciate his hard work. The Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner is a title every player will wear with pride.
In New York, it is not always the flashy star that everyone remembers. It is the grinder that the New York fan base tends to fall in love with. Most Rangers fans will find a reason to roll their eyes when they hear the name Theo Fleury, but say the name Jed Ortmeyer, Brandon Prust and Matthew Barnaby and a smile will come to most Rangers fans faces.
That is because a guy like Fluery wasted a lot of his God given ability boozing it up and partying, while playing with the Rangers. The Ortmeyer’s of the world didn’t have the most talent, but they worked their asses off to make a difference.
Without further ado, I present my top 3 candidates for this year’s Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award:
3- J.T. Miller
I hesitate to put Miller on this list but every blog I follow or tweet I see Miller’s name seems to be the current favorite. I am putting him on my prediction to win the award card, but last on my ballot of candidates.
Miller has stepped up at the perfect time to carry the offense when Rick Nash was injured. I just do not see the Extra Effort part for me. He is a top draft pick expected to produce and he has way too many lazy back checks or brain freezes to make him my Extra Effort Award Winner. If we had a coming out party award Miller would top my list, extra effort not so much.
2- Jesper Fast
Can a player be trusted anymore then Fast is trusted by this coaching staff? To me Fast gets the most he can out of the talent he possesses. Should he be a top six forward, no, but when he is put in that role he doesn’t disappear from the responsibility and continues to play a strong two-way game.
From the penalty kill, to late game assignments to hold a lead, there is no player I want out on the ice more to hold a lead. He will not make a stupid mistake and will not cost this team a lead.
If you are on the fence between who to vote for this year a vote for Jesper Fast would be a safe bet.
1- Kevin Klein
Drumroll please……and when I cast my vote this year for the 2016 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award it will be cast for Rangers get dirty defenseman Kevin Klein. When the trade for Klein was made a majority of Rangers fan groaned we gave up on a kid with talent, Michael Del Zotto, for a third pair defenseman with no offensive upside.
Well Klein has proven everyone wrong by being the stay at home solid defenseman we all expected, but shown us he has a great shot and a knack for scoring big goals.
Klein won the award for me the night in Toronto when Ryan McDonagh get hit with a high elbow and the first player to drop the gloves was Klein even though he was just coming back from a broken hand that healed quicker then any one expected. If that isn’t going above and beyond and being the player everyone wants on their team, I am not sure what else has to do.
This is one man’s opinion on the award, let us know what you think and here is the link to vote for your favorite- Steven Mcdonald Fan Voting Page.