Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Prust We Trust

In Prust We Trust. That became somewhat of a cult for #TwitterBlueshirts. Since coming over as an extra in a trade with Calgary, Brandon Prust has become a fixture on Broadway. All we heard about him was how tough he was. I'd seen him play and battle all comers. So, I liked his inclusion.

Never did we envision the kind of hard working player he became under John Tortorella. Prust evolved into more than a scrapper in his time here as a Ranger. It's hard to believe the key situations Tort used him for, deploying the popular 28-year old London, Ontario native on a checking line with chief partner in crime Brian Boyle and usually sidekick Ruslan Fedotenko, who also can turn unrestricted in five days.

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't want Prust back. Who ever would've thought a throw in would lead us in shorthanded goals (5) one year and the next tie with Shawn Thornton for the league lead in fights (20)? That's Prust's two full seasons in the Big Apple. Oh. He also played all 82 meaning that's 164 for a pair that saw him become a key player who brings energy to each shift. Was it a coincidence how flat our team looked minus No.8 during a pivotal Game Four of the Eastern Conference Final at New Jersey? They sure missed the physical forward who served a suspension for his elbow on Anton Volchenkov. Unfortunate. Who knew Game Three would be our final hurrah?

It was Prust who started a three-goal comeback in Game Five at MSG with the kind of gritty hustle play you'd expect. A loose puck in which he broke in on Martin Brodeur and flubbed a backhand past him that got the building back in it. I remember saying to Dad at the time they could do it. Lo and behold, Prust's goal was the start of a resilient effort before Ryan Carter broke our hearts. You never had to question the effort of the Blueshirt warrior, whose seven shorthanded goals over two years pace the club. He sacrificed for our team, playing bruised and battered. Amazing to think he never missed a game due to injury.

That's the kind of player Prust is. If he really does test the market and leaves for more money and years, it's his choice. Like many, I don't want him to go. I believe Prust is like Sean Avery- having more value to our roster than anyone else. We saw how well Avery in Dallas worked out. Dion Phaneuf/Elisha Cuthbert aside, it was never a good marriage. They would've found a way out of it. Seeing Prust respond via Twitter to Glen Sather's message that he doesn't think they'll be able to get it done is damaging. There are many Prust supporters who love what he brings.

@BrandonPrust8: “I wish management wanted me back as much as the fans.. Thanks for the love everyone.”

I really think he loves it here. He's become a celebrity. For a good looking guy with a great personality, New York City is as good as it gets. That's why Avery worked even if he was a little rough around the edges. Prust has no baggage. If he can find it in his heart to take one less year and less cash, then he'll be back. If not, he won't be easily replaced. Even if I tweeted bye bye, it's not without concern. The Brandon Prusts and Brian Boyles are what's made our team so tough to play against. Same with Ruslan Fedotenko who played his best hockey against the Devils.

I'm hoping Slats is true to his word regarding our core. But I'm definitely rooting against the GM with Prust. I tweeted the guy twice over the past 24 hours begging him to stay. Here, he can win a Cup. Not that he couldn't say in Pittsburgh. A team that might bid on his services. I think I speak for everyone. I can't picture Prust a Pen. I'd be as sick to my stomach as I was seeing Stephane Matteau don a Devil cap with his son at the Draft.

I'll say it again for everyone to hear:


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