Brandon Prust isn't one to shy away from a challenge, whether it's battling back from an injury or fighting a much bigger opponent.
In his first rookie camp with the Calgary Flames, he went toe-to-toe with 6-foot-7 behemoth Brent Henley.
"He cut me for about seven (stitches), I think," Prust said yesterday, pointing a finger over his left eye.
During a 10-game stint with the Flames a couple of seasons ago, Prust took on NHL heavyweight Jody Shelley.
A hip injury that required surgery after the 2006-07 campaign spoiled his chances of making the big club last year, but his determination to bounce back combined with the willingness to stand up for his teammates earned the former London Knight a one-way deal from Flames GM Darryl Sutter this summer.
"Darryl and I talked about it, and he just wanted to make sure I was ready," said Prust, who will join a crowded group of forwards when the veterans report to camp next week.
"I told him I was, so I'm going to make sure I am."
The Flames also signed unrestricted free agent Andre Roy this summer, so Prust may not have to trade blows with the big boys when Roy is in the lineup.
If opportunity knocks, though, he's still willing.
"I'm not in the category of a (Derek) Boogaard or a (Georges) Laraque, but anything can happen in a game with the emotions. I definitely won't back down," said Prust.
"It's not whether you win or lose, it's whether you do it."
Offensive upside is something the 24-year-old centre/winger boasts as well, but it's his energetic play and defensive skills the Flames will want to see most should Prust earn a regular role.
Prust is eager to prove Sutter did the right thing by serving up a one-way deal.
"They want me here. They've shown me they want me here," he said.
"I'm going to show them why they want me here."