The New York Rangers official website has opened the voting for the 2010-11 Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award presented by Lightspeed Trading. If you do not already know, the Extra Effort Award is an honor presented to a player that the fan base feels most went above and beyond the call of duty throughout the regular season. Alternate captain Ryan Callahan has been the winner of the award for the past two years, and has made a pretty solid case for a three-peat this year, but in my eyes the honor belongs to someone else this season.
"It's only pain"
That right there is my selection for the Extra Effort Award in a nutshell. Brandon Prust has not missed a single game this season despite dealing with a shoulder injury and other various nagging injuries all year. And not only has he played in every game this season, but he has played in every game this season. There is no night off for Brandon; he brings the same resilient effort to the ice every night, whether he be on the fourth line or the second. He's quickly become one of the more reliable players on the team and has gained full trust from head coach John Tortorella.
Prust is a player that wears his heart on his sleeve, and everything he does is for the team, not himself. I've said this in the past, but in Prust's first game as a Ranger after being acquired at the trade deadline last season, he stood up for teammate Matt Gilroy by dropping the gloves with a member of the opposition after a cheap hit along the boards. Gilroy was Prust's teammate for approximately less than a day, but it didn't matter. There he was, immediately coming to Matt's defense. Incredible.
From that day on, absolutely nothing has changed. Prust is always quick to defend his teammates and engage in a fight, even with the shoulder injury. That's amazing and deserves to be recognized.
But scrapping is not the only way in which Prust has contributed to this team, as he's also done some good things with the gloves on as well. His penalty killing skills have drastically improved since he was first brought here and along with Brian Boyle, he's been nothing short of stellar when down a man. Blair Betts who? Freddy Sjostrom who? Prust filled those shoes quickly and efficiently because of that aforementioned effort and dedication.
In addition to that, Prust has reached career-highs this season in goals (11), assists (14) and points (25). So he's not just a bruiser by any means. Brandon has the ability to contribute on the scoreboard and he has done that this year, at key times too.
I don't want to tell you who to vote for, but make the right choice here. An award and honor like this means the world to a player like Prust - believe me it does - so keep that in mind when submitting your vote.