Add New York Rangers forward Brandon Prust to the list of NHLers that believe fighting should remain in the game of hockey.
“Fighting is an honorable thing to do,” Prust told the New York Daily News. “A cheap shot is not. When you fight, you’re standing up for a teammate. You look a guy in the eye, ask him if he wants to go, he says he wants to go, and you fight. Elbowing someone in the head is cowardly.”
Prust also downplayed the notion that removing fighting from the game would decrease the number of injuries.
“More guys would get hurt,” he said. “You’d have people running around, going after top players. There have to be consequences for going after a [Marian] Gaborik or a [Brad] Richards.”
If anybody’s qualified to speak about the importance of fighting’s role, it’s Prust. He’s the NHL’s third-most active pugilist this year (with eight fights) and recently received praise from head coach John Tortorella for his willingness to stand up for teammates.
“He has balls as big as the building doesn’t he?” Tortorella said after Prust fought Zac Rinaldo and Wayne Simmonds in a 2-0 win over Philadelphia last month. “He set the tone. Pruster, he’s been in and out as far as my trust in his game. I think his game is beginning to come back. But today, I thought he stood tall, and he set the tone right away.”
If you’re wondering how Prust prepares for battle, here’s video of him working out with UFC lightweight contender Sam Stout: