Tag Archives: Stu Bickel

SPOTLIGHT: BICKEL STU – A RANGER SPECIALTY

Bruce BerletBY: Bruce Berlet

When it comes to feel-good stories in the NHL this season, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, who began the season playing on Asylum Street in Hartford.

Though Bickel will never be confused with elusive Hall of Famers Bobby Orr or Cheshire-bred Brian Leetch, he has proven to be one of the NHL’s all-time steals since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 23, 2010 for disgruntled Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Nigel Williams.

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WOLSKI AND WOYWITKA TO HARTFORD

New York RLeft wing Wojtek Wolski and defenseman Jeff Woywitka have accepted two-week conditioning assignments to join the Connecticut Whale according to reports throughout the New York media.

Both players are likely going to see a lot of ice time with the Whale as the Rangers will want them to get in game shape and at the same time showcase the two in an attempt to move both elsewhere. It’s become quite obvious that with the team playing as well as they are that with the team getting healthy again that neither player has a place in the team’s plans.

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RANGERS OFFENCE TAMES PANTHERS

New York R     VERSUS     Florida

NEW YORK RANGERS POST-GAME NOTES
December 30, 2011 (Game 36, Away Game 20)
BankAtlantic Center – Sunrise, Florida

1st   2nd   3rd   OT   Final
New York Rangers           3       1           0          –         4
Florida Panthers               0       1           0          –         1

Team Notes:

– The Rangers defeated the Florida Panthers, 4-1, tonight at BankAtlantic Center, in their final contest before the 2012 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.  The Blueshirts are 8-3-0 in their last 11 contests.

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GERNANDER: A LEADER ON AND OFF THE ICE

Connecticut-Whale_thumb1      VERSUS      Albany Devils

Ken Gernander coaches hockey the way that he played the game…with great attention to detail, a lot of emotion and a hockey sense and intelligence that few can match. The 2011-2012 Connecticut Whale have taken on that persona and are playing hockey night-in and night-out that way.

In Hartford on Tuesday night in the back end of two straight, Gernander’s team got two power play goal from Andre Deveaux, a goal and two assists from Kris Newbury and two helpers from rookie Jonathan Audy-Marchessault and despite not playing their best hockey came away with the win against the second place Albany Devils in front of an announced crowd, the second largest of the season, of 7,123.

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SPOTLIGHT: SOUNDING OUT THE TIGERS

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

After a well-earned four-day break, the Northeast Division-leading Connecticut Whale looks to extend their latest points streak to four games when they visit their intrastate rival Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Monday night.

The Whale headed to the Christmas hiatus off a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Adirondack Phantoms on Wednesday night, on defenseman Pavel Valentenko’s 50-foot laser with 16.2 seconds left off a faceoff win by veteran center Kris Newbury. Defenseman Brendan Bell, who assisted on all three Whale goals, touched the puck to Valentenko for the second winner of his life, the first coming only nine games earlier in a 4-2 win over the Hershey Bears on Nov. 29.

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SPOTLIGHT: HOLIDAY CHEER

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

The Connecticut Whale family is happy on many fronts this holiday season, starting with good health for most and a spot atop the Northeast Division as the first full season for the renamed franchise nears the two-fifths pole.

The strong guidance of coach Ken Gernander and assistants J.J. Daigneault and Pat Boller has enabled the Whale to survive major injuries to standouts such veteran defenseman Wade Redden and skilled wings Mats Zuccarello and Chad Kolarik and the recalls of centers Kris Newbury and John Mitchell, speedy rookie wing Carl Hagelin, rugged right wing Andre Deveaux and defensemen Tim Erixon and Stu Bickel.

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SPOTLIGHT: STU BICKEL

Bruce Berlet 7By Bruce Berlet

Defenseman Stu Bickel is the latest Connecticut Whale “graduate” to make a difference for the parent New York Rangers this season.

Bickel joined rookies Carl Hagelin and Tim Erixon as players to make their NHL debut with the Rangers on Tuesday night, as the Blueshirts traveled across the Hudson River and beat the arch-rival New Jersey Devils and future Hall of Fame goalie Martin Brodeur – AGAIN.

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SCHOENFELD ORDERS A “KLASSEN” OF DEFENSE FOR WHALE

Connecticut WhaleUPDATED:

Official Release:

WHALE ADD DEFENSEMAN SAM KLASSEN TO ROSTER

*           *           *           *

Reassigned from ECHL Greenville 

Connecticut Whale general manager Jim Schoenfeld announced today that the parent New York Rangers have reassigned defenseman Sam Klassen to the Whale from its ECHL affiliate, the Greenville Road Warriors.

A second-year pro out of the Western Hockey League, Klassen has skated in 23 games with the Road Warriors this season, registering one goal and four assists for five points, along with 26 penalty minutes.

Klassen, who stands 6-2, weighs 199 pounds and hails from Watrous, Saskatchewan, played three games with the Whale last year, going scoreless with four penalty minutes.  In 66 ECHL games as a rookie with Greenville, Klassen posted three goals and 14 assists for 17 points, plus 80 PIM.  He tied for second among Road Warrior blueliners in assists and ranked third among team defensemen in points.  Klassen’s plus/minus of +16 was good for a tie for tops on the club for a defenseman, and tied him for fifth overall on the team.

Klassen signed as a free agent with the Rangers July 27, 2009, after four WHL seasons with the Saskatoon Blades.

The Whale return to action tomorrow night, Wednesday, December 21, at the XL Center for their last game before Christmas, a 7:00 contest against the Adirondack Phantoms. That is “Ugly Holiday Sweater Night”, as fans who wear an ugly holiday sweater to the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center can get a 50% discount on upper-level seats, and lower-level end-zone seats.

Tickets to all 2011-12 Whale home games, are on sale now at the Public Power Ticket Office at the XL Center, as well as on-line at www.ctwhale.com and through TicketMaster Charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Save on your tickets, and get the best seats, with a ticket plan for the Whale’s 2011-12 AHL campaign, which are on sale now. For information on season seats and mini plans, visit www.ctwhale.com, or call the CT Whale ticket office at (860) 728-3366 to talk with an account executive today.

The AHL’s Connecticut Whale is operated by Whalers Sports & Entertainment, a Hartford-based sports marketing and event firm founded by Howard Baldwin and Howard Baldwin, Jr..  The team is the top player-development affiliate of the NHL’s New York Rangers.

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The AHL transaction page reveals that the Connecticut Whale have answered the question, at least temporarily, who will fill the void on the backline with the Wade Redden injury and the call-ups of Time Erixon and Stu Bickel…it’s Sam Klassen.

The Whale brought back Lee Baldwin Monday and Tuesday it’s Klassen.

It’s pretty safe to say at this point that the team is finished with Jyri Niemi at this point given that even though they had two open positions, they didn’t feel he was their guy.

More later when the call-up is made official.

SPOTLIGHT: DEFENSE

Bruce Berlet 7BY: Bruce Berlet

The Connecticut Whale defense took a second hit in 24 hours Monday, when rookie Tim Erixon was recalled by the parent New York Rangers on an emergency basis.

The loss of Erixon and Wade Redden, who was injured in Saturday’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Providence Bruins, came a day after the Rangers called up Stu Bickel on an emergency basis. Bickel, among the Rangers’ final cuts, was needed to replace Steve Eminger, who coach John Tortorella told the New York media Monday will be out eight-to-ten weeks with a separated right shoulder sustained when slammed into the boards by Martin Hanzal at 3:16 of the second period of a last-second 3-2 victory at Phoenix on Saturday night.

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FANFARE: TESTING THE DEFENSIVE DEPTH

New York RangersBY: Adam Gavriel

Quantity over quality may prove a necessary motto for the New York Rangers over the coming weeks as  injuries to Marc Staal, Michael Sauer, and Steve Eminger and with Jeff Woywitka a game-time decision, the Rangers could potentially lose four of their Top seven defenders.

In 2010 – 2011, it was the forwards who it seemed just could not seem to stay on the ice. In 2011-2012, it’s the blueline taking the biggest hit. What may be the most shockingly is that besides Woywitka, who appears to be day-to-day, the  closest Rangers defenseman that could return to the lineup may in fact be Marc Staal. Unless you don’t follow the team too closely, which begs the question, “Why are you reading this?” But I digress, Staal has been battling post-concussion symptoms ever since a blow he sustained in Carolina on Feb. 22 of last season from his brother Eric. Staal, who hasn’t appeared in a game for the Rangers since Game Five of the last season’s playoffs, could, according to the New York beat writers, be cleared for contact in the next seven to ten days. Continue reading