The New York Rangers like all teams are a complex combination of things that make them who they are. The Rangers have the heart and soul guys like Callahan, the skill guys like Gaborik and Lundqvist and guys like Dubinsky who fits part way in both, but what gets overlooked when discussing the Rangers is Brandon Prust who is the guts that holds this team together. Yesterday in discussing the loss of Callahan I talked about how he brings things that the boxscore cannot replace and that was evident at times during last night’s game. What was also evident in last night’s game is that the Rangers have another guy with many similar qualities to Cally. One of the biggest differences in this team this year is how they stick up for one another. With all due respect Cally, and I gave plenty yesterday, he is not the guy that leads that particular charge, Brandon Prust is.
As I said earlier Cally is a heart and soul type player, has skill and shows his leadership on the ice and in the room while playing with a lot of guts in how he hits, blocks shots against anyone. My intention is to praise Prust above all else for the way he plays the game, the ferocity with which he forechecks, battles in the corner, kills penalties, fights anyone to protect his teammates and plays hurt.
The Rangers identity as a blue collar team that loves to forecheck and cycle plays right into the strengths for Prust and all season he has combined with Brian Boyle and whomever the other winger was to produce possibly the Rangers most consistent line because while the skill level is not as high as other lines their work rate has never diminished. It is that fact which forced coach John Tortorella to make the Fedotenko/Avery/Frolov, Boyle, Prust line the third line and even the second line in the absence of Gaborik when initially it was seen as a fourth line. I cannot say how many times this season, but especially the last month where writing a recap of a Rangers game I said that Boyle and Prust were part of the best line of the night.
The rest can which includes discussion of his penalty killing, his fighting, his previously unknown skill, the Avery/Prust question and how we has become an irreplaceable part of this team is here: