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Morning Skate Notes: Bickel Is In

All 23 Rangers took part in Saturday's morning skate at the TD Garden, where it was also announced that defensemen Steve Eminger and Matt Gilroy will be scratched in this evening's season opener against the Bruins, joining veteran forward Arron Asham---who is serving a suspension which carried over from last spring's post-season---on the sidelines.

Rugged second-year defenseman Stu Bickel thus gets the nod for the final spot on the Blueshirts blueline Saturday, not a surprise considering the defense pairings played out late in training camp. Bickel likely will play alongside Michael Del Zotto to start while Ryan McDonagh pairs with Dan Girardi, and Marc Staal skates with Anton Stralman.

Prior to the morning skate, Rangers head coach John Tortorella once again reiterated his plan to keep Bickel on defense, as opposed to playing some forward---which he could have done this evening with Asham not playing. Last season Bickel appeared in 51 games total, notching nine assists and accumulating 108 penalty minutes.

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No surprise that on Opening Night the reigning Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist starts in net for the Rangers. But maybe a bit of a surprise that Lundqvist is somewhat nervous for the start of his eighth NHL season tonight.

"I am always nervous and excited to play every game, but obviously the first game of the season I'm a little more nervous," explained Lundqvist. "Especially coming from a long break, you are not really sure where you are."

Lundqvist will be opposed by the Bruins new No. 1 netminder Tuukka Rask, who called Henrik "a great goalie" Saturday morning.

"I've played against him many times before and they've always been tight games, so it's going to be a good battle,"  the 25 year-old Rask said of Lundqvist. "I really appreciate him as a goalie."

Share your thoughts on Saturday's lineup and predict the final score below.

Jan 19 - 5:01pm
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