The Return of Prust

Update: 11:46
The Montreal Canadiens defeated the New York Rangers 3-1 Tuesday night for their fifth straight win. It was a very sluggish, uneven game for the most part. It was a definite grind it put type of game, perfect for the Rangers of 2012, but not 2013. The game lacked any sort of energy or got nasty at any time, with Prust not fighting against his former team. Prust played on the third line for the most part, and he had some very nice looking shifts. Prust had some great offensive chances on Lundqvist and helped set up the goal ahead goal 1 minute 48 seconds into the third, when Prust slid a cross-crease pass to Alex Galchenyuk, who hit the wide open net. Prust is clearly missed by the Rangers team, for his great grind it out play, as well as what looks like an improved offensive game. The teams will meet again Saturday in Montreal.

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<He's back! Picture taken today with Rangers super fan Dancing Larry>

Tonight, the New York Rangers play the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden. This game was a game I circled when the schedule came out following the end of the lockout, mostly because former Rangers player Brandon Prust will be making his return.

Who was once thought of as a “throw in” in the trade that the Rangers made with the Calgary Flames in 2010 to acquire center Olli Jokinen. While the trade may be viewed by most as a fail due to Jokinens minimal impact he had on the team, as well as that awful shootout shot he took against the Flyers in the last game of the season with the playoffs on the line, I still view this trade as a win. It was a win because of Prust and the impact he had on the team.

Prust may not score many goals or fill the stat sheet, but he is a very important player. On the ice, he instantly became a fan favorite for stepping in for his teammates and fighting. If a star player got hurt or messed with by another teams goon, Prust was always there to drop the gloves. While he may not be that big for an enforcer, a mere 6’0”, Prust was always able to hold his ground and take on guys bigger than him. Prust is a very good fighter, and rarely lost a fight.

Besides fighting, Prust did a lot for the Rangers. He helped add to that grinder mentality the team established last year. Prust was very good killing penalties and could chip in some goals here and there. After the 2012 season, many Rangers fans were hoping for Prust to stay, but he was offered a 4 year, 10 million dollar deal from the Montreal Canadiens. That is one year and four million more than the Rangers offered, and Prust took the money.

Now he is playing in Montreal, one of the biggest, most loyal hockey markets in North America. Prust’s stats so far include 12 minutes of ice time, has four points, 27 hits, 2:30 average penalty kill time and five fighting majors. The Canadiens are enjoying a renaissance season, currently sitting at 10-4-1 after what was a miserable year of hockey in Montreal.

While the contract Montreal offered Prust was absurd, it sucks the Rangers couldn’t keep him. He is clearly missed in the locker room, and on penalty kills. Players and coaches have chimed in on Prust since hes left.

After Prust signed with Montreal, Tortorella said “we will miss him. He is a glue guy and became a big part of the locker room. Everyone in the room liked him and he loved it here.”

Ryan Callahan spoke about Prust, saying, “he was a key part of our team. You could put him anywhere in the lineup. He is a big part of the identity that we created. It will be exciting to play him tomorrow and I expect him to be at his best.”

Will Prust fight anyone tonight? While the Rangers were near the top of the league in fighting majors last season, there has only been one fight in the month of February, and that was on Valentine’s day. Before that, the last fight was January 26th! If Prust does decide to fight, it will probably be Arron Asham. I haven’t warmed up to the idea of Asham being a Ranger just yet, so if this fight goes down, even though I bleed Rangers blue, I will quietly be rooting for Prust. That will be one time and one time only.

Prust was involved in the infamous three player puck drop brawl last March

Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds and Brandon Prust were both in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct and fighting respectively. After their penalties expired, both men came back onto the ice, and immediately fought

One of Prusts fights while on his current team, the Montreal Canadiens.

 

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