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Breaking down Brandon Prust's 2013-2014 fight card

Brandon Prust is known as a guy who will always stick up for his teammates and take on all comers in a battle of fists. But, is he fighting the right people when these situations arise and are his fights helping the Habs?

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Prust was Marc Bergevin's major signing of the 2012 off-season and was brought in to make up for a perceived lack of grit and toughness in the Canadiens lineup.

The lockout cut the 2012-2013 season down to just 48 games and in that time frame Prust dropped the gloves 10 times.

Prust finished the regular season with a 6-4-0 fight record according to Hockeyfights.com which isn't bad considering he was often fighting a few levels above his weight class. He had fights against 6' 8'' Joe Finley and the noted heavyweight goon of the NHL Milan Lucic, and neither of these fights were in his favor.

Habs fans hoped in 2013-2014 Prust would settle down a bit due to shoulder surgery in the off season, and he did fight less, albeit due to another injury. In this past season, including the pre-season, Prust fought 15 times which is the third lowest season total in his pro career. Here's how his 2013-14 fight card looked:

Pre-Season Fights

Fight #1-Matthew Corrente (5' 11'' 187lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Not the smartest fight for Prust in the pre-season as Corrente is essentially a nobody at this time. Both combatants spin each other dizzy while Prust lands the bigger shots. Corrente pushes Prust into the boards and eats a few more shots before the officials step in to break the fight up. In the five minutes both men were off the ice the Canadiens managed a goal by David Desharnais meaning it wasn't all bad.

Fight #2-Alexander Urbom (6' 4'' 216lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Prust gives up a lot of height and weight against Urbom in this pre-season tilt but that doesn't stop it from being a massively one-sided affair. Prust avoids several jabs from Urbom before finding his range and unloading a couple of haymakers that eventually drop Urbom to the ice and force the officials to step in. With Prust and Urbom off the ice neither team managed a goal and no other fights occurred.

Regular Season Fights

Fight #3-Mark Fraser (6'4'' 195lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Fraser

With the Habs down 4-2 late against the Maple Leafs Prust runs into goalie James Reimer and draws the ire of Mark Fraser. Based on the video evidence Prust wanted no part of this fight despite instigating it by shoving Fraser into the boards as he went to make a change. For his actions Prust was pummeled by the much taller Fraser right in front of both benches and gave the Leafs a late powerplay. To say this was a bad fight isn't enough...It was a completely idiotic decision by Prust to try to draw a penalty and it backfired in the worst way possible.

Fight #4-Luke Gazdic (6' 3'' 210lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Gazdic

The Oilers resident goon takes a run at Josh Gorges early on in the game and Prust immediately drops the gloves with the much larger Gazdic and starts a highly spirited tilt. Prust holds his own for a good portion of the fight, snapping Gazdic down to the ice a few times and evading his punches while landing his own. However Gazdic takes control at the end of the fight and manages to drop Prust with a big punch to seal the win for himself. Despite no goals being scored for the Habs following the fight they continued to dominate possession for the remainder of the period (and game). Not a bad fight for Prust at all and it was in defense of a teammate who had been targeted.

Fight #5-Jarred Boll (6' 3'' 195lbs)

HF Voted Result: Draw

Boll throws a hit and includes an elbow that rides up and hits Prust in the head and the two pugilists square off for a fight. Nothing of note really happens as both men tussle in an attempt to gain better leverage on their opponent and no major strikes are really landed at all. In the time both men are off the ice the Habs take a commanding lead in possession and continue to dominate in that aspect for the remainder of the game. Also worth noting: this was Prust's first fight in eleven games due to a shoulder injury he suffered earlier in the season.

Fight #6-Zenon Konopka (6' 210lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Clearly making up for lost fights due to injury Prust takes on noted bunny lover Zenon Konopka midway through the first period in Montreal. Right from the outset Prust dominates Konopka landing several hard punches to the gritty Minnesota forward and in the end splits Konopka open much to the delight of the Bell Centre crowd. The game remained close possession-wise following the fight but Montreal soon took over thanks to Max Pacioretty notching a hat trick.

Fight #7-Cam Janssen (5'11'' 205lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Janssen takes a huge run at Alex Galchenyuk which Prust won't stand for, going on to beat Janssen like a government mule. It's a long tilt by hockey fight standards and as Janssen fades Prust continues to hammer him over and over again. I'll let the gif below show you the awesomeness of this fight. With Prust and Janssen both off the ice following the fight the Devils hold a slight edge in possession but the Canadiens manage the first goal midway through the opening period.

Eouqyet

Fight #8-Shawn Thornton (6' 2'' 217lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

This fight is one that drives me insane and for once it's not due to Prust fighting a worthless opposing goon, it's because our pointless goon didn't step in to do it for him. Shawn Thornton blatantly checks Prust from behind face first into the boards and George Parros who is in the line up to "deter" these actions does nothing. Despite giving up 20 pounds Prust manages to get the best of Thornton early tagging him with a few punches before the Bruins goon lands a few jabs and an uppercut and the ref steps in. The fight gives the Habs a small surge in possession which eventually leads to the game winning goal.

Fight #9-Zac Rinaldo (5' 11' 169lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Philly is winning 3-0 against Montreal when Prust and Rinaldo throw down and this is a rare moment when Prust is actually the larger man in the tilt. After tossing Rinaldo down to the ice Prust unloads an absolute barrage that drops Rinaldo once again and eventually forces the officials to step in and save what are left of Rinaldo's brain cells. Following the fight the Flyers absolutely trounce the Habs possession wise even with the Habs scoring a goal late in the second period.

Fight #10-Tom Wilson (6' 4'' 210lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Wilson made a name for himself in the NHL this year as a kid who is unafraid to step up and answer the bell against anyone. Prust lands a solid few jabs and some heavy overhand shots while Wilson struggles to land anything at all despite the size advantage. Wilson clinches with Prust to close down the range and lands a solid few body shots but eats some uppercuts for his troubles. Needless to say the fight didn't matter in the least as the Capitals dominated the scoreboard and the possession numbers for the entire game.

Fight #11-Jean-Philippe Cote (6' 3'' 207lbs)

HF Voted Result: Draw

Prust gives Cote a bit of a slash in response to the hit Cote landed on Brendan Gallagher earlier and the fight is on. Prust gains the early advantage with several heavy blows landed on Cote early in the tilt. Cote ties up and lands some solid body shots in the clinch before the officials step in. This wouldn't be the last time Prust was involved in a scrap this game as he also got involved with Ben Bishop between periods. Immediately following the fight Tampa Bay took a commanding lead in possession and would dominate nearly the entire game.

Fight #12-Kevan Miller (6' 2'' 200lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

The Habs are down 2-0 roughly halfway through the second period and despite the Canadiens heavily out possessing the Bruins they can't bury a goal. Prust, looking to spark his team, picks out rookie Kevan Miller from the Bruins and the two players clash. Prust keeps the fight moving as he lands his punches on Miller and despite Miller forcing Prust to the ice the damage done is clearly in Prust's favor. Following the fight the Habs possession stats kicked into overdrive but they still were unable to finish anything and Boston went on to win 4-1.

Fight #13-Milan Michalek (6'2'' 220lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

I can in no way call this a fight; Michalek is not a fighter let alone someone who would willingly  throw down with someone like Prust. In the dying minutes of what should be a 4-1 Senators win Brandon Prust goes berserk and pounds the stuffing out of Michalek. Both men are done for the night as the game winds down to what is sure to be an Ottawa win--oh wait that's right Prust wins this fight and the Habs manage to score four straight goals and win while he and Michalek are removed from play.

Post Season Fights

Fight #14-Radko Gudas (5' 1'' 192lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

Gudas had been a nuisance to the Habs in Game 1, taking runs at players like Brian Gionta, and when Gudas tried to get under the skin of Brandon Prust in Game 2 it cost him badly. Gudas initially shoves Prust into his own goalie before dropping the gloves with the Habs forward. Prust lands some heavy blows and gets Gudas up against the boards where he gets his helmet off and lands several more punches before the refs step in to save Gudas embarrassment. Tampa took control of possession following the fight but the Canadiens managed the next three goals in the game anyway to take a commanding lead in the series.

Fight #15-Derek Dorsett (5' 11'' 175lbs)

HF Voted Result: Win for Prust

This fight had a bit of backstory to it as Prust was in the Rangers crosshairs after breaking Derek Stepan's jaw and being suspended for it. Daniel Carcillo--being the idiot that he is--charges Prust from behind and is called for the infraction but, being the fact he's Dan Carcillo, he won't go quietly to the box and slashes and shoves an official earning him a nice long suspension. Dorsett steps in to "take revenge" for Stepan against Prust while Carcillo is escorted away and things go downhill for the Rangers forward. Prust lands a solid amount of uppercuts in the fight, knocks off Dorsetts' helmet and drags him down to the ice while the officials step in. Much like the entire series though the Rangers dominated puck possession following the scrap but the Habs managed to squeak out a win in overtime.

In his 15 total fights in the NHL in 2013-2014 Prust managed an impressive 11-2-2 record. He would have likely added to that total if not for major surgery that shut him down for large portions of the season.

It's clear that he will fight any and all opponents even if he is giving up four inches in height and twenty pounds in weight.

However it would be wise of Prust to pick his spots a little better, and not oblige every single opponent that throws down the gauntlet. Fighting a guy like Cote or Mark Fraser is pointless because taking them off the ice is likely doing the opposing team a favor. He could also work on timing his bouts as well; if it's the third period the last thing the team likely needs is a fight unless you're somehow managing to take their best player off the ice with you.

We all saw that the George Parros experiment didn't work out all that well last year, which leaves Brandon Prust and Jarred Tinordi as the fighters who will pick up the bulk of the fighting duties. I'm hoping that they pick their battles intelligently this season, considering that most times they'll be the best player being taken off the ice.