For those that remember last year’s “epic fail” series between the Flyers and the Penguins last year, recall the aftermath of the Game Three bloodbath. Arron Asham was suspended for four games following his intent to injure Brayden Schenn. The Penguins played three more games that series, before bowing out to the Flyers in six. That leaves one game remaining on Asham’s suspension.
This means that Asham will actually need to serve the final game of his suspension on Saturday while the Rangers are in Boston. This leaves the Rangers with a hole to fill on the fourth line for one game.
I reached out to Jim Cerny, who kindly responded that the Rangers will likely deploy Stu Bickel at forward for that game. This was on Monday, about 24 hours before the Rangers placed eight players on waivers.
It’s still probable that Torts decides to deploy an actual forward for that one game, especially when you look at the players that were placed on waivers. Michael Haley and Kris Newbury are the front-runners to get that one game, as they both have NHL experience. Newbury is familiar with the Rangers style, although Haley is the better skater.
Before we go ahead and anoint one of them as the definite starter, let’s remember that the Rangers could have placed these two on waivers earlier, but decided against it. Reading between the lines, it may show the organization’s hand in regards to these two players. Of course, it may just be a timing issue, considering the Whale’s schedule.
The Bruins are a tough team, and Bickel is the player that is most familiar with facing them, which plays into Torts’ favor with deciding to dress the defenseman as a forward. Regardless of the position change, Bickel is still better –albeit marginally– than what Haley and Newbury can bring to the lineup.