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|Brandon Dubinsky reacts to winning the 2008 McDonald Extra Effort Award. Dubinsky, who was in the Blueshirts' starting lineup, skated across the ice to receive his award from the presenters. |
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, the 21-year-old rookie who came into the Rangers' 2007 training camp not knowing if he'd be on the opening-night roster and finished the season centering the team's No. 1 line, was named the winner of the team's 20th annual Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award on Friday night.
Honored in a special pregame ceremony by New York City police officer Steven McDonald, Dubinsky accepted his award prior to starting the Rangers' game against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden.
Dubinsky was selected as the winner in an online vote conducted on newyorkrangers.com. 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. Joining McDonald for the presentation before the Rangers and Islanders contest were McDonald's wife, Patti, and son, Connor, as well as Rangers legend Adam Graves, who won the award a record five times during his playing career.
McDonald, who was shot and injured in the line of duty in 1988, gave a speech to congratulate the entire Rangers team before Connor McDonald announced Dubinsky as the winner. One year ago, he famously uttered the word "Win" as the team closed in on its playoff berth. On Friday night, with the Blueshirts having already clinched a playoff spot, McDonald urged them to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup "sixty days from now."
McDonald also spoke of his lifelong love of the Rangers, dating back to his childhood in New York and Long Island. He said that for him, there was nothing better than the annual opportunity to present this honor, except the thought of seeing this year's team go on to win the Cup.
On behalf of the organization, Graves presented the McDonald family with a check for $25,000 to the Steven McDonald Foundation.
Dubinsky has recorded 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points in 80 games. He is currently in seventh place among rookies in the NHL in points and was named Most Valuable Player of the 2008 NHL Young Stars game, notching two goals.
The McDonald Extra Effort Award is Dubinsky's second in the Rangers organization. In 2006, he shared the Lars-Erik Sjoberg Award with Nigel Dawes as the Rangers' top rookie performers at training camp.