Alex Ovechkin got his ice time tonight; Stu Bickel? Not so much
After days worth of stories about a superstar getting minimal ice time, it’s probably appropriate to shift from feeling stunned about Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin’s reps to feeling really bad for New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel.
Ovechkin played an impressive 35:14 minutes in that triple overtime marathon, putting him in the thick of things with the Capitals’ biggest time on ice earners. The only players who really towered over Ovi were (logically enough) defensemen, as Dennis Wideman (40:42) and John Carlson (39:19) are going to need the most electrolytes and post-game protein.
So instead of second-guessing Dale Hunter about Ovi’s minutes, the attention might turn to John Tortorella’s total dismissal of Stu Bickell. I have no choice but to put this tidbit in italics and bold face:
In more than five and a half periods, Bickell received 3:24 of ice time.
Let that one sink in for a moment.
James Mirtle points out that Bickell’s final shift came with 15:42 left in the second period of Game 3. In other words, he sat on the bench for the equivalent of a full game. The Rangers’ big-minute defensemen carried the load instead, then. Ryan McDonagh played almost a regulation game’s worth of minutes (53:17), Marc Staal had 49:34, Dan Girardi had 44:26 and Michael Del Zotto had 43:33. If there’s one positive the Capitals can take away that’s a bit more tangible, it’s that New York’s D played huge minutes.
There are about a million questions one can ask about this memorable contest, but let me utter a rather obvious one: Bickell has to be a healthy scratch in Game 4, right?