This shadow knows how to cover Crosby

RYAN PYETTE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:41 AM ET

Brandon Prust remembers that feeling.

Four years ago, the former London Knights forward was entrusted with shutting down Sidney Crosby in the one-game Memorial Cup final.

Tonight, it's up to Detroit Red Wings star Henrik Zetterberg to cancel the Crosby Show in an all-or-nothing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Joe Louis Arena.

"It brings back some memories," said Prust, whose Knights shut out Crosby's Rimouski Oceanic 4-0 on home ice to win London's first major junior title in 40 years. "Having that last change and getting to play at home is real important because Detroit gets its matchup out there."

Detroit head coach Mike Babcock's approach isn't different from the one London Knights' Dale Hunter once employed against a junior-aged Sid the Kid.

Crosby's shadow has to be a strong skater, able to play physical, responsible with the puck and -- almost as important -- older with more experience. Prust was 21 with a bull-like frame when he went head-to-head with a 17-year-old Crosby. Zetterberg isn't as thick, but he's 28 compared to the 21-year-old Penguin.

"Zetterberg's one of the best players in the game," Prust said. "But you watch him in these playoffs and the most impressive part hasn't been his offensive game -- it's his defensive game."

Tonight, either Detroit or Pittsburgh will celebrate a Cup win. Prust, though, is still in limbo over an NHL address.

He belongs to the Phoenix Coyotes. The future location of the franchise is being hashed out in court.

"I follow it, but I know just as much as everyone else," the 25-year-old Londoner said. "For me, it's just tell me where I have to be and I'll show up. From what they've told us, it isn't like (when Major League Baseball threatened contraction. There's going to be a team somewhere."

Prust believes the NHL can still work in Phoenix.

"Once we put a winning team on the ice, I have no doubt the support would be there. But both ways, it works out. If the team moves to Hamilton, it's close to home. If it stays in Phoenix, I know a lot of people who are planning on booking winter vacations to come out and visit."

Prust was stunned to leave Calgary as part of a deadline deal for Olli Jokinen.

"Darryl (Flames GM Darryl Sutter) told me, 'You know I love you and don't want to do this, but it's part of the business,' " Prust said. "I understand and there's nothing to say I won't be back in Calgary again some day."

The former AHL fighting major king played 36 NHL games last season. There's a spot on the team for a rough-and-tumble customer after Phoenix moved former Sarnia Sting pest Daniel Carcillo to Philadelphia.

"When they were moving Danny, that's a role I know they want me to fill," Prust said. "I'm not approaching it any differently. There are some big boys out there so you have to be ready, but I'm not approaching training any differently than any other year."

Prust will play in the Euro Can Cup at the end of August before training camp. Today, several Knights -- some old, some current -- will reunite in the Corey Perry A Round for A Cure golf tournament at Forest City National in support of the Wellspring Cancer Centre.

"I got to play against Corey (with Anaheim) a couple of times this year," Prust said. "Whenever you run into one of the London guys, you always see them for a bit after the game, or if they come in a day early, you set up a dinner. It's been great that way."

COREY PERRY A ROUND FOR A CURE

When: Today at Forest City National golf course.

Cause: Wellspring Cancer Support Centre. Tournament has raised over $50,000 in first four years.

Participants include: Corey and Adam Perry, Drew Doughty, Nazem Kadri, Michael Del Zotto, Brandon Prust, Dale Hunter, Brett MacLean, Danny and Corey Svyret, Bryan Rodney, Rob Schremp, Kelly Thomson.

Live auction: 7 p.m. at the clubhouse. Items include round of golf with Corey Perry, limited edition Evgeni Malkin jersey and John Labatt Centre suite for a London Knights game.

Web: www.aroundforacure.com


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