By Bruce Berlet
When it comes to feel-good stories in the NHL this season, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than New York Rangers defenseman Stu Bickel, who began the season playing on Asylum Street in Hartford.
Though Bickel will never be confused with elusive Hall of Famers Bobby Orr or Cheshire-bred Brian Leetch, he has proven to be one of the NHL’s all-time steals since being acquired from the Anaheim Ducks on Nov. 23, 2010 for disgruntled Hartford Wolf Pack defenseman Nigel Williams.
While Williams, a second-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche in 2006, is out of hockey, Bickel is earning almost nightly rave reviews for his grit and perseverance while paired with another former Wolf Pack defenseman and NHL All-Star Marc Staal. Bickel had one goal, three assists and 80 penalty minutes in 27 games with the Connecticut Whale before being called up Dec. 18 after former Wolf Pack defenseman Michael Sauer sustained a concussion and Steve Eminger separated his right shoul...