Prucha Staying Positive
by: Patrick Hickey, Jr. | Senior Writer - NY Sports Day | Thursday, February 7, 2008
NEW YORK - Scoring 52 goals in his first two seasons with the Rangers, Petr Prucha quickly became a fan favorite. Grac¬ing everything from the scoreboard at MSG during intermission and various TV commercials, bigger things were expected from the young Czech this season. Despite the 25-year old’s cha¬risma and appeal though, he’s mus¬tered a paltry seven goals and nine assists through 50 games this year. Nevertheless, he still seems focused on making the most of this season and doesn’t seem shaken by his slow start.
“The points are not that impor¬tant to me or my game,” Prucha said in reference to his lack of production this season. “What is important to me is working hard on every shift, in practice and not being on the ice when we get scored on.”
Playing on a line with fellow baby blusters Nigel Dawes and Brandon Dubinsky earlier in the season, Pru¬cha broke out of what was at the time a terrible scoring drought, where he scored only two goals through his first 36 games. Scoring four goals over the next two weeks, Prucha’s fortunes seemed ready to change. On top of that, it was obvious that he was hav¬ing a blast playing with his new line¬mates.
“I think we are very similar,” said Prucha said a few weeks ago. “I always know where they’re going to be on the ice and we know what to expect from each other. I’ve been playing much better since they put us together. I feel really good right now and I hope they keep us together. Every team needs a line like that. I’ve always played on en¬ergy lines like this back home and it’s always a lot of fun.”
Prucha’s linemates were also en¬joying their time playing with him and thought that they’d be kept together for the foreseeable future.
“He does a lot of things; he’s fear¬less,” said Dubinsky said. “He gives me a chance to get the puck and create. Plus, he always puts himself in a situ¬ation to score and he has a great shot. We have to find a way to get him the puck more. When this line scores, we take the pressure off on our teammates and make it much easier for this team to win.”
However, with Jaromir Jagr and the other offensive threats on the Rangers playing injured or ineffectively, head coach Tom Renney has been forced to juggle the team’s lines. As a result, Prucha has been stationed with Chris Drury and Dawes, effectively breaking up the young trio for the time being. What some thought might be detri¬mental to Prucha’s sudden reemer¬gence as a goal-scoring threat, hasn’t stopped him from producing yet. Scoring a second period goal against the Flyers on Thursday, his fifth in the past 14 games, it seems Prucha is close to finding the consistency he’s lacked all season.
Regardless, Prucha isn’t ready to jump for joy just yet.
“Every goal helps you with your confidence, but I try not to think about goals,” said Prucha. “I just want to do whatever helps this team win.”