Bickel Makes NHL Debut, Picks Up An Assist And Penalty

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Go Gophers! Stu Bickel
Go Gophers!
Stu Bickel, who made his NHL debut last night, had seven points and 92 penalty minutes for the Gophers in the 2007-08 season.
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Former Gopher Stu Bickel made his NHL debut last night for the New York Rangers. The 6'4", 207-pound defenseman from Chanhassen, Minn., had one assist and two penalty minutes as the Rangers picked up a 4-1 road win against the New Jersey Devils.

"I tried to treat it like any other game," Bickel told the New York Daily News after the win. "Once I was out there, I was able to settle down and get into a rhythm. I'll take a win over anything. All the rest goes to the background, but it's nice."

Bickel, who wears No. 41 for the Rangers, played the 2007-08 season at Minnesota. He had seven points (1g-6a) and 92 penalty minutes in 45 games as a Gopher.

New York coach John Tortorella liked what he saw from the former Gopher, who played on the penalty kill and stood up for a teammate.

"He's such a big man with a long reach," Tortorella told the Daily News. "I thought that was important killing penalties - just to be in the way. I just don't think he's afraid. I don't think he's afraid to step in and try to make a difference. I like what he did - I didn't see the hit or what happened on the (Devils) bench there, but he stood up for his teammate. I guess that's the best way to put it - I don't think he's timid. I think he wants to make a difference, and with the size and range in our end zone, he's going to get in the way somewhere."

Bickel is the second former Minnesota player to make his NHL debut this year, as Cade Fairchild played 10:31 for the St. Louis Blues in a Nov. 29 win at Washington.

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