It was awards night at the Garden, and Ryan Callahan was the biggest honoree.
Callahan, out with a fractured right ankle, Thursday night won both the Players' Player Award, voted by his teammates, and the annual John Halligan Good Guy Award for cooperation with the media, as voted by the New York hockey writers.
Callahan, who won the Steven McDonald Extra Effort Award the previous two years, was greeted with a standing ovation when he hobbled out on crutches, his right foot in a walking boot. He helped present the trophy -- awarded annually in the name of McDonald, the New York City police detective who was shot in the line of duty -- to Brandon Prust.
Prust, 27, who arrived last year from Calgary in a trade that acquired Olli Jokinen, has played in all 81 games, is willing to fight anyone (14 majors) and has been more productive than expected. He is second in the league in shorthanded points and third with five shorthanded goals. Teammates and coach John Tortorella have been amazed at his grit and competitiveness despite hand and shoulder injuries.
Prust, who has been banged up all season, delivered one of the classic lines to reporters in Washington: "It's just pain."
McDonald, who is confined to a wheelchair, referred to the never-say-die nature of the team before Prust, who was in the starting lineup, skated over to accept the award. "We may be one of the last ones in [the playoffs]," said McDonald, who is confined to a wheelchair, 'but we will not be the first ones out."
With Callahan scratched, Marc Staal, wearing an "A,'' was the only player with a letter. Captain Chris Drury remains sidelined after knee surgery, although he skated for the sixth straight day Thursday . . . Carl Hagelin, the Rangers' sixth-round pick in 2007, is playing for Michigan in the NCAA's Frozen Four and is expected to attend development camp after the June draft.