Brandon Prust: Quickly Becoming a Fan Favourite
Photo: Francois Lacasse
For years, the Montreal Canadiens have lacked the complete “hockey” player. People everywhere raised their eyebrows when Marc Bergevin signed free agent Brandon Prust to a 4-year, $10 million dollar contract, but just 6 games into the season, Prust has earned every penny.
Brandon Prust is a gritty, two-way forward who is capable of playing both centre and the wings. Prust skates well, hits, fights, chirps, defends all of his teammates, blocks shots and has above average offensive skills. The 110% he gives on every shift; no matter what the score is, is proof that he plays with his heart on his sleeve. A coaches dream is the type of player number 8 is.
Last year while watching Brandon play for the Rangers, I drooled every single shift he was on the ice. No, I was not drooling over his ravishing good looks, rather by the way he plays the game. An already very coachable player, playing under John Tortorella really helped Prust become more of a complete hockey player, rather than just a 4th line energy guy.
To put things in perspective, a blind man could tell who was on the ice just by listening to the crowd. The energy/intensity that Prust plays with is unmatched, but since being put on a line with Galchenyuk and Gallagher, his energy/intensity is contagious. In fact, it took only a single game for this energy/intensity to quickly turn into a goal. Not just any goal, it was Alex Galchenyuk’s 1st NHL goal. Brendan Gallagher assisted on Galchenyuk’s goal for his first NHL point, and Prust also assisted for his first point as a Hab. And of course, it was Brandon Prust who went to grab the puck for Galchenyuk. Prust has since scored his 1st as a Hab on a dish from Galchenyuk, and has already dropped the gloves 3 times against some very tough opponents (Brown, Hendricks, Neil) who are all bigger than him.
Brendan Gallagher was quoted as saying Prust was the “baby-sitter” of the line with the two rookies. This line so far has produced 4 goals under limited ice-time, since being put together 5 games ago. Brandon will not dazzle you with his stick handling, and he wont scare you with his shot, but the unsung-hero role he is playing in a Habs uniform is earning high praise and ice-time from head coach Michel Therrien. The way Prust plays the game, with the stuff he brings to the table, the character he has on and off the ice, and the teammate that he is, number 8 is more than worth his pay cheque.
At the end of tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators, Galchenyuk was given an unnecessary late hit at the buzzer, and who was there to send a message? Brandon Prust.