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Callahan wins Extra Effort Award

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Forward Ryan Callahan, who has enjoyed a breakout season in his second full year with the Rangers,  was recognized on Tuesday as the winner of the 21st annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, presented by EmblemHealth.

Callahan was selected as the winner in an online vote conducted on newyorkrangers.com as well as in-arena voting during the 2008-09 season. Thousands of Blueshirts fans voted for the award, which since 1988 has been given annually to the player fans believe goes "above and beyond the call of duty" both on and off the ice.

Hard-working Ryan Callahan has scored nearly three times as many goals this season as he had in his rookie year.
In becoming the 14th individual Rangers player to capture the award, Callahan was honored with a special presentation prior to the Rangers’ game against Montreal on Tuesday night at MSG.

New York City police officer Steven McDonald, his wife Patti and son Connor were  joined by Richard Gross, Vice President, Account Management for EmblemHealth, and Rangers legend Adam Graves in presenting the award to Callahan on the MSG ice in front of the Zamboni gate. Graves, whose No. 9 was retired two months ago, won the Extra Effort Award a record five times during his playing career with the Rangers.

McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty in 1988, gave his annual speech to inspire the Rangers players before Connor McDonald announced Callahan as the award winner.

Two years ago, McDonald famously uttered the word “Win” prior to a key game that helped the Rangers clinch a playoff berth. This time around, his speech was also short but pointed.

“I’m thinking that the rest of the NHL thinks our season has come to an end,” said McDonald. “I say no freakin’ way.”

Called a “catalyst” by head coach John Tortorella, the 24-year-old Callahan has recorded 21 goals and 15 assists for 36 points in 78 games.  Now in his third year with the Rangers, he has established career-highs in goals, assists and points, and he leads the Blueshirts with 257 hits.

Callahan has seen ice time in all situations. Since Tortorella’s arrival as head coach in late February, Callahan’s rate of offensive production has soared to eight goals and 13 points in 18 games as he is truly thriving in the coach’s high-tempo system. Tortorella has shown great confidence in Callahan, even recently experimenting with him on the power-play point.

"It's very important to me," Callahan said of the Extra Effort Award. "I try and go out every night and give it my all for these fans here."

At the conclusion of Tuesday night’s ceremony, Gross and Graves presented the Steven McDonald Foundation with a check for $25,000.

STEVEN MCDONALD EXTRA EFFORT AWARD
PAST WINNERS LIST
PLAYER(S) SEASON
Ryan Callahan 2008-09
Brandon Dubinsky 2007-08
Jed Ortmeyer 2006-07
Henrik Lundqvist 2005-06
Jed Ortmeyer 2003-04
Matthew Barnaby 2002-03
Sandy McCarthy 2001-02
Sandy McCarthy 2000-01
Adam Graves 1999-00
Adam Graves 1998-99
Wayne Gretzky 1997-98
Brian Leetch 1996-97
Mark Messier 1995-96
Mark Messier 1994-95
Adam Graves 1993-94
Adam Graves 1992-93
Adam Graves 1991-92
Jan Erixon 1990-91
John Vanbiesbrouck and Kelly Kisio 1989-90
Tony Granato 1988-89
Jan Erixon 1987-88
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