Nov 27, 2011, 10:30 AM EST
If last night was any indication, there’ll be plenty of fireworks at the 2012 Bridgestone Winter Classic.
And Brandon Prust will be the one lighting the wick.
Prust wasted no time getting his Philly hate on Saturday night, dropping the mitts with Flyers center Zac Rinaldo a whopping four seconds into the Rangers’ 2-0 win:
After serving a five minute fighting major, Prust spent the next four minutes figuring out a further plan of attack. That plan (apparently) was to go after Wayne Simnmonds, who engaged in a jousting match with Sean Avery off the opening draw:
Those were Prust’s sixth and seventh fights of the season, moving him to third on the list of most active pugilists. (Zenon Konopka sits atop with nine, Jared Boll‘s in second with eight.) All told, Prust racked up 17 penalty minutes in the first period — not bad for 1:27 of ice time.
“He does it for us all the time,” Rangers captain Ryan Callahan said following the game. “He’s not the biggest guy. Pound for pound, he has to be one of the toughest guys in the league.”
With Saturday’s game the first of two meetings prior to the Winter Classic (the Rangers will host the Flyers again on Dec. 23), both teams came in snarling. HBO aired a preview of 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic on Friday in which both teams expressed disdain for each other — disdain that quickly spilled onto the ice.
“We should probably start this with a tilt, eh?” Prust asked Rinaldo (as told to ESPN’s Katie Strang.) “We wanted to get the rivalry started and we both agreed it was a good idea.
“We just had a little chat. We made eye contact when we got out and it wasn’t too hard.”
If you’re planning to get up in arms about orchestrated violence and coaches sending players out with instructions to fight, consider what John Tortorella told the New York Daily News.
“It’s not up to me, it’s up to him. When I see their starting lineup, I put my starting lineup out,” Torts said. “Home team gets the last change, and it’s up to Pruster. He usually makes the right decisions there.
“He certainly did today.”
In conclusion, the Winter Classic is gonna be awesome.
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 0
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 3
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 15
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 8
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 17
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 15
- Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 62
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 13
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 77
- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 37
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)