Bickel in for Prust, Dubinsky still out

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
12:32
PM ET
Although no one will confirm the personnel changes (the media received both "No update" and "Stop asking about the lineup" from coach John Tortorella this morning), defenseman Stu Bickel is expected to replace Brandon Prust as a forward in the lineup for Game 4 against the Devils.

Prust was hit with a one-game suspension Sunday for his elbow on Devils defenseman Anton Volchenkov in the Rangers' 3-0 win on Saturday.

"I'm disappointed that I'm, obviously, not playing. It's always disappointing when you don't get to be out there with your team," Prust said after Monday's morning skate.

Prust said he felt like his clean record was taken into consideration -- he has incurred only two elbowing penalties in his 301-game career -- and understood the decision.

"I definitely didn't violently attack anybody but I still got my elbow up and we're trying to get that out of the game," he said.

Although the return of injured forward Brandon Dubinsky would make for a seamless transition, the 26-year-old is not yet ready to play. He has been sidelined since suffering a right foot injury in Game 7 of the Rangers' first-round series against Ottawa.

"This team doesn't do percentages, I'm not sure if you've talked to Torts or not. It's usually a 'yes' or a 'no' and for tonight, it's a 'no,' " Dubinsky said. "We'll keep going, keep working on my conditioning, and it'll keep feeling better and hopefully we'll get to a place where I can be in the lineup."

Bickel, who was a healthy scratch in Game 3, will likely skate as a forward as he has done previously this season with his team in a bind.



Katie Strang covers the NHL for ESPN.com. She is a graduate of Michigan State University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
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