A Bickel/Eminger Rotation?

When news broke that Steve Eminger was activated off injured reserve, the assumption was that Stu Bickel would be replaced in the lineup. After all, Bickel played just ten shifts and six minutes in the previous game against the Sabres. However, coach John Tortorella gave us some relatively surprising news, and stated that Bickel would play against the Flyers, and Eminger would remain a healthy scratch for that game.

There were likely many reasons for such a move, and the most obvious one is that Bickel provides some much needed toughness on the blue line with Michael Sauer out of the lineup indefinitely. Eminger is a fine bottom pairing defenseman, but he does not have that snarl that Bickel has. That snarl was much needed yesterday, with the Flyers dressing their goon squad.

What Eminger lacks in toughness, he makes up for in footspeed and overall defensive play. It’s a bit of a give and take when it comes to dressing Eminger or Bickel. Eminger provides some nice overall defense, which is going to be useful against some of the quicker teams in the league. Bickel provides toughness, which is going to be userful against the tougher squads that like to deploy people like Tom Sestito and Zac Rinaldo.

Eminger’s return gives the Rangers tremendous flexibility that they didn’t have with Jeff Woywitka, and gives Torts some options in his matchups for any given game. It wouldn’t be considered a shocker to see Bickel continue to dress for games like the Flyers, while Eminger dresses for games against smaller and quicker teams. Both have minimal cap hits, so there is no long term damage to the cap in keeping both around.

Plus, keeping them both around creates competition. One will need to be moved when Sauer returns, so keeping them both around creates more incentive to play hard. This is one of those good problems to have.

5 Responses to “A Bickel/Eminger Rotation?”

  1. Chris F says:

    Interesting assessment. Thanks.

  2. leatherneckinlv says:

    This is a great problem to have…I really like the texture of this team. Once Richards ets going…dangerous team

  3. Walt says:

    What you failed to state was due to the team we played, Filthadelphia, why put Eminger in a situation where he may get re-hurt the first game back. The world knows these dirt bags are the filthiest clowns on the planet, always have been, and Eminger would have been the target of the day!

    I see Stu being around more than Jeff, only because he isn’t a defensive liability, and will drop the gloves when called upon to do so.

  4. Lando says:

    I really don’t like Bickel. The past 2 games he hasn’t done anything but dropped the gloves and take stupid penalties. If Eminger isn’t dressed for the next few games at least there is something messin’ with Tort’s mind

  5. Sagebob says:

    Bickel is tough but not that good a defenseman. I’d rather see Emminger play and Torts will have a 6th defenseman he can play in the 3rd period.