Friday, 10 December 2010
Sportsmen I love: Part One. Brandon Prust
A relatively new love - but a love nevertheless.
On a recent trip to New York I developed a passion for ice hockey - and more specifically, the New York Rangers.
I have already written about that (CLICK HERE) but for some reason I found myself ending my ten day trip with a massive man crush on the Blueshirts' #8 Brandon Prust.
Not the star of the show by any means. He won't get as many goals as Gaborik or as many shut-outs as Lundqvist. He operates mainly on the lower lines and is as likely to wind up in the bin as he is set the game alight with a moment of magic.
But, in strange way, that is probably part of the appeal. Hard-working, a team player and (hopefully) a fans' favourite in waiting.
After the first game, I went to the NHL shop and snapped up a Prust jersey. The man in the shop didn't know how to pronounce his name. They didn't have any already printed and it was touch and go when they thought they had run out of Rs.
Then on my next trip to Madison Square Gardens, nobody else had his name on their top. I began to panic. I worried I had snaffled a top with the hockey equivalent of Wes Brown.
A few kinds words from neighbouring fans reassured me. And my wife said, not really helping, that Prust was the best looking player. Thanks. That is JUST the criteria a fledgling hockey fan should base his jersey choice on...
Having fairly quickly picked up on the pros and cons of players' performances, I began to appreciate Prust all the more.
Adept at killing power plays, always ready to drop the gloves and more useful in possession than he seemed to be given credit for.
He stats for this season show nine points - three goals and six assists. Solid enough, but one criticism could be his lack of goals, with just nine in 144 NHL games.
Having arrived earlier this year in a trade with Calgary Flames, Prust was later signed to a two-year, $1.6 million contract, so his immediate future looks to be in the Big Apple.
If internet forums are anything to go by, supporters are warming to him - due in no small part to his role as the team's unofficial enforcer.
Hopefully by the time I next visit NY for a game, I won't be the only one in a Prust shirt.