Bickel Ready For Debut

Stu Bickel's professional hockey career has seen him land in such remote places as Iowa, San Antonio, Bakersfield, Syracuse, Elmira, and---most recenlty---Connecticut. Tuesday night, though, Bickel will find himself in a Rangers' uniform, making his NHL debut at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils. "It's tough to say (how I will feel), obviously I'll be a little nervous heading into my first game, but at the same time I have played in pressure situations before and I feel that I am ready for the opportunity," said Bickel on Monday after taking part in practice with the Blueshirts. "I'll definitely be able to handle it, so I'm just going to go out there and play my game." Bickel, a rugged defenseman who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 207 pounds, was recalled from the Whale when Steve Eminger suffered a serious shoulder injury Saturday night in Phoenix. The Minnesota native had an impressive training camp, one that saw him surprisingly make his way with the team to Europe before being among the final cuts of camp. "He had a really good camp," explained Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "I didn't know too much about him, but he played well. He's done some good things down there (with the Whale), and he's a physical guy who sticks up for his teammates." The 24 year-old Bickel, who is a fourth-year pro, added that his game has been much more consistent so far this season in Connecticut than it had been previously. "The big thing for me is that I was able to go down there and played consistently every night," said Bickel. "Obviously that's huge for any player, but it was something I really tried to focus on. It was huge (lasting late into training camp) because I got to know the guys a little bit, got to know the system, got acclimated with everything. And at the same time I got some confidence from that, too." Share your thoughts below on Bickel's impending NHl debut.