Luke’s friends hated playing against Nate because he would hack their shins and finish body checks.
“I can’t tell you how annoying it is to go up against a little shrimp and you try to walk around him and he’s riding you into the boards,” Luke Prosser said.
Nate says Luke taught him to play hockey. But Luke admits he used Nate, too.
“We’d be playing 1-on-1, I couldn’t beat him by too much or he’d quit,” Luke Prosser said. “So the game for me was to keep him engaged long enough and then I would usually get him for the whole game. If it was 5-0, he would shut down and quit.
“The game within the game was to string him along and keep him interested so I’d have someone to play with.”
To this day, the Prossers go down to the Pit on Christmas Eve morning for pickup hockey.
“It’s something we all cherish and we’ll never forget, being able to go down there and be goofy … be kids,” said Nate Prosser, a dad himself. His daughter, Emeri, is 17 months and his wife, Brittani, is due March 10 with their second child.
Help from home
Nate’s mom, Margaret, is an aerobics instructor and personal trainer. In the summer, she would take Luke and Nate down to the Pit with a stopwatch and time them as they sprinted up and down the hills.
“She pushed me beyond anything,” Nate Prosser said. “Usually it’s not the mom doing that, it’s the dad. She almost forced me into the weight room as soon as I got armpit hair.
“Summers, I would really push myself. When some guys were going to the beach or going golfing, I spent hours shooting pucks and going to the weight room and skating. I would go to the rink with a smile on my face ready to work on the things I needed to work on.”
On the ice, Prosser developed an edge. He gets in opponent’s faces, protects his goalies, hacks, whacks and chirps.
“My dad always taught me you’ve got to be able to flip a switch,” Prosser said. “When you’re off the ice, be that good family man who calls his grandma. Once you get on the ice, you’ve got to be able to flip it back.”
Finding a niche
If you don’t notice Prosser, he’s doing his job. If he can squeak out a plus-1 or plus-2, all the better. Last season, in 17 games, he was on the ice for two goals against.
Lately, he has been seen a lot, a plus-3 and the winning goal Thursday against Edmonton and the overtime winner Saturday against Dallas.
He usually is the Wild’s seventh defenseman, but he is now paired with Marco Scandella because Jared Spurgeon is injured.
“I think Nater’s still blacked out,” Luke Prosser said of his baby brother’s dreamy week. “He keeps saying this stuff shouldn’t happen to him.”
This is Nate Prosser’s fifth season with the Wild. He is in the last year of his contract after being a healthy scratch for much of the past two seasons, including 26 times this season.
“You dream of getting to the NHL and playing,” Prosser said. “You’re not dreaming to get in the NHL and sit up in the press box. Obviously it’s a little tough.