In Defense of Prust

When you’re a fighter in today’s NHL, there’s not much to do in a sense of “practicing” unless you find some willing combatants. Unless you’re just a big goon like John Scott or Steve MacIntyre, hockey fighting actually takes a tremendous amount of balance and skill. The art of skating is now mixed with dodging hay makers while trying to land some of your own. Fighting is a skill and needs not to be taken lightly, especially in the emotional game of hockey. That being said however, fighters aren’t an integral part of the team but when duty calls, you better hope one of your teammates can hold their own. Now we can argue the topic of fighting in the game until the cows come home, but the bottom line is more people are drawn to hockey for fighting than those who walk away because of it. Fighting is unique as it sets hockey apart of all other professional sports – it is here to stay.

Brandon Prust is a natural fighter but he does so much else than just fight, and he would tell you himself, that he is a peacekeeper out on the ice. His leadership qualities are second to none. Last year while on a line with the Gally’s, he called himself the “babysitter”. He also is a terrific trash-talker, when he came up with the famous “walrus” comment directed towards Ottawa Senators head coach Paul MacLean’s disgusting mustache in last year’s playoffs. I don’t need to go to great detail to describe to you what he means to Les Canadiens as I’m sure you watch him as much as I do.

It became apparent today that Prust was absent from Habs practice this morning and is considered day-to-day. Now it is uncertain whether Prust sustained an injury or if he is only sitting out the Habs final preseason game as a precaution, but either way it caused quite a stir on the twitter this morning. I shall paraphrase here, but numerous accounts all basically preached the same message: “Serves Prust right for fighting in the preseason. Just play hockey until the season starts and then fight. #UseYourHead”.

First of all, how fitting and typical it is of all you “fans” voicing your displeasure over Prusty fighting and coming away a bit bruised. Do you boo birds ever get tired of listening to your own tune? One can only speculate, but Prust’s “injury” likely could have came from him beating Urbom’s face in. Now I don’t know about you but I would say fighting is just like skating in a sense where you have to stay in shape, obviously. But also, to keep the rust off and stay sharp, one would think you would have to practice a lot at these skills to remain in tip top form and I highly doubt Prust has been sparring with guys on the ice all summer as his workout routine, other than maybe Ryan White.

Ryan White and Brandon Prust share some fighting techniques at last year's training camp Photo: Allen McInnis , The Gazette

Ryan White and Brandon Prust share some fighting techniques at last year’s training camp
Photo: Allen McInnis , The Gazette

Brandon does however, train with Canadian UFC fighter Sam Stout in the offseason but again, I highly doubt boxing is the same as fighting on ice. My argument here is simple, just like preseason is a chance to test out rehabbed injuries, catch your wind and get in game shape, Prust is getting into game shape. Fighting isn’t a natural thing for Brandon at his size (6’0″, 192lbs) compared to other fighters in the league, so staying sharp with his sparring, balance and striking is essential, and I for one fully encourage him to drop the mitts. The argument you naysayers have is “don’t fight in preseason because you could get hurt.” BUT do you not realize that playing hockey in general is a dangerous game? By your logic, no player should play a preseason game because they could get hurt. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?!!?! If Prust needs to drop the mitts a few times to make sure he’s confident and ready to go on opening night then so be it. Regardless of his “injury”, Prust won both his fights in the preseason, so I highly encourage you all to shut your yaps unless you want to applaude his efforts because frankly, he deserves more praise than he’s given. #UnsungHero

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