Well, that’s not strictly true. Prust is also able to clear a pretty big paycheque.
But wow that was quite a performance from Brandon Prust against his “former team”, wasn’t it?
I mean, the Canucks as a whole were horrible in both games in New York, but oof, that was bad. I haven’t seen that many shots fired in New York since Lucky Luciano invited “Joe the Boss” Masseria to lunch on Coney Island.
But yes, suffice it to say, Ryan Miller played great. Brandon Prust, on the other hand, did not. Not only was he horrible, especially in the Rangers game, but he also wind up as the centre of attention going into that game.
Now, there has been plenty of discussion and supposition about why exactly Prust was in the lineup when Jake Virtanen had been scheduled to draw back in, but that’s kind of glossing over the point. What we really should be discussing, is why Prust vs. Virtanen is even a choice to be made.
The only facts we know for certain are that Virtanen, who sat for the Islanders game, was supposed to be back in the lineup and that Canucks’ president Trevor Linden cited a change in plans to get Prust in against his old team (old being the key word there) and that managing an lineup requires a “delicate dance”. So while we can assume it was the case, we don’t actually know that Prust was complaining to Desjardins about taking a turn in the press box.
What we can say, is that Linden either outed Prust for whining or threw him under the bus. And when it comes to delicate dances, one false step and you’re either going to wind up bruising somebody’s toes or with your foot in your mouth:
Anyway, here’s the point. I have long been on record as saying that Jake Virtanen should be back in junior. Not necessarily just because of this year, but also because it’s going to be that much harder to start him in Utica next year now.
But, if you’re going to keep him in the NHL rather than letting him get ice time in all kinds of situations in back in junior, for God’s sake, actually play him in the NHL. It’s bad enough that Willie severely limits his ice time when he does play, but then you’re also going to keep him out of games altogether? Just so you can play Brandon Prust?
Why is that even a choice?
I get that you have an extra winger on the rosters, even after humiliating Chris Higgins and banished him to Utica. But if you want to rotate guys in and out of the lineup, there are better er…worse? choices than Virtanen. Heck, he is currently the only winger on the team above water when it comes to controlling shot attempt rates:
By a mile.
If you want to platoon players, why don’t you platoon Dorsett and Prust? Do you really need both of them in the lineup at the same time? Just what impact do those two have on the ice that you don’t get from any of the other forwards? Other than more work for your goaltender, I guess.
So yeah, I really couldn’t care less whether Prust complained, whined, demanded or asked politely about playing against the Rangers. Heck, I really don’t care if he actually didn’t say anything. The fact that it’s Virtanen and Prust fighting for that last roster spot is just one more indication that the decision-making in this organization still leaves something to be desired.
And we’ll get another test of that decision making in the near future when we see whether or not Prust is still on the team after the trade deadline. At this point, I’m not convinced he won’t be. But if he is gone, there is one clear set of winners from taking him off this roster:
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