Over the last few days, the New York Rangers have been encouraging fans to go vote for the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award, which was discussed on a prior BlueLineStation article, yesterday. You may have read some articles arguing who should be given this award, and may have even made your own decisions on who is best fit for this award, and tonight the New York Rangers announced this award was presented to Mats Zuccarello.
With the award going to former captain Ryan Callahan the last two consecutive years, this year’s award was seriously up for grabs. Few were surprised when Mats Zuccarello was announced as the winner. This has been a break out year for Zuccarello who, despite being out with a hand fracture after the Olympics, has 19 goals, 39 assists, and leads the team in points with 58. With his height being listed at only 5’7″, and nicknamed “The Hobbit”, Zuccarello plays with the heart and drive of a man who is twice his size. He is an incredible team player, and never backs down from fights with guys who have a foot, or more, in height on him.
Not only is Zuccarello a great player on the ice, but he is also an incredible individual off the ice as well. In interviews, Zucc is always humble and gives credit to all other team players before his self. He’s always optimistic and always finds a way to put a smile on your face in interviews. You can’t mention Zucc without recognizing his ongoing “bromance” with Swedish team mate Carl Hagelin, who he has mentioned is his best friend on the Rangers team. This season the Rangers have even given Zuccarello his own ZUUCCC chant, which has been heard numerous times at Madison Square Garden this season.
Given the great player that Zuccarello is, it should be no surprise to anyone who has followed the Rangers when he was named the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award winner. Zuccarello is a great player and the New York Rangers fans have a lot to look forward to coming from Zuccarello.