Congrats to Mika Zibanejad on winning the Steven McDonald Award

Mika Zibanejad smiles as he poses for a photo after winning the Steven McDonald Award. AP Photo via Getty Images courtesy Rangers.

They waited a bit longer to present the Steven McDonald Award. As expected, this year’s winner is Mika Zibanejad. Number 93 has been a consistent force for the Rangers in a down season.

Even though he didn’t add any goals or assists to his team-leading 72 points (30-42-72) in a disappointing 4-1 defeat to the Senators tonight, it didn’t matter. As NYPD sergeant Conor McDonald noted during a heartfelt speech about what his father meant to him, the 25-year old Zibanejad was better than he’d ever been while doing it with a smile on his face.

Congratulations to Zibanejad on winning the 2018-19 Extra Effort Award! He certainly is worthy and should be viewed as the favorite to become the team’s next captain.

The game itself was a letdown. The Rangers never led and didn’t play particularly well. It was yet another depressing reminder of how they are when Henrik Lundqvist starts. He remains stuck on 18 wins. Coach David Quinn had wanted to get him to 20 so he could continue that streak. That’s out. I can’t see him getting the final four games with Alexandar Georgiev sitting out in a back-to-back.

At least Lias Andersson had a good moment at MSG by having his best game as a pro. He became the youngest Blueshirt to score a shorthanded goal since Niklas Sundstrom in 1995. Andersson was all over the ice and showed more confidence offensively throughout.

What I’ll remember most of all was what Conor McDonald said during a emotional speech. It truly was great and had me almost in tears.he sounded a lot like his father, who must be very proud of his son looking down. I’ll just leave this here. Wow!

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of Hudson administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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