With Michael Del Zotto missing Friday night’s game with a setback to his hip injury, Stu Bickel was given increased minutes and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, for the most part Bickel failed his first real test as his final stat line looked like this…
17:59 of ice time, -2, three hits and two blocked shots
And his turnover behind the net led to Johnny Oduya’s game winning goal.
…while Bickel struggled in Chicago, that has been a rare occurrence for the undrafted defenseman this season. He has added some much needed to toughness to the Rangers blueline and you have to wonder if his play has made Dylan McIlrath (2010 – 1st) expendable if the right deal for Rick Nash comes along this summer.
John Tortorella recently said this about Bickel (via Pat Leonard at the Blueshirts Blog)…
“Was he drafted? I don’t even know. I’m not concerned about the pedigree or what he makes or what draft pick he is. He’s a guy that’s a real interesting one to us, because he continues to simplify his game, and his game gets better when he becomes (simpler).”