Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fedotenko Back On Fourth Line At Practice, Bickel Back On Defense

Good news today from the Rangers on the injury front, as Ruslan Fedotenko returned to practice for the first time since suffering a blind-side hit from Dominic Moore last week against the Lightning. Fedotenko and Wojtek Wolski both practiced on the fourth line today with John Mitchell and Mike Rupp, while Stu Bickel returned to his natural position as a defenseman and practiced on a unit with Jeff Woywitka.

Judging from the lines in practice, I would assume that if Ruslan Fedotenko is healthy and feels fine tomorrow, he'll be in the lineup against Pittsburgh. That would make Wolski, Bickel and Woywitka the healthy scratches. If he wakes up tomorrow and his head doesn't feel right, I think Torts will stick with Bickel on the fourth line. Either way, I'd be surprised if we see Wolski in the lineup tomorrow.

The rest of the lines were the same:


Del Zotto-Stralman

It's pretty clear that the Rangers really like what they've seen from Stu Bickel so far, which is why he's still with the club. Bickel would have to clear waivers in order to be returned to the Connecticut Whale, and I don't think the Rangers want to risk losing him. He's shown me a lot and has turned into a pretty nice swingman for the Rangers who can play both on the wing and defense. He's also quickly become a fan favorite of Rangers fans as evidenced by the "Stuuuuu" chants at the Garden. He adds a lot of toughness (obviously) to the lineup and is the type of player you can get away with hiding on the fourth line or as a sixth defenseman giving him limited minutes.

More tomorrow, when the Rangers will face-off against the Penguins in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.

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