Ryan Carter is no dummy.

Stu Bickel never had taken a faceoff in his career, so when the defenseman skated to the center faceoff dot just before the opening draw of a game between the Devils and Rangers late in 2012, Carter “understood what that meant.”

It was another chapter in the Hudson River Rivalry. The teams had a rough-and-tumble meeting that season where the Devils felt the Rangers took too many liberties, so when they played on March 19, Devils coach Pete DeBoer started his fourth line with Carter at center.

Once Rangers coach John Tortorella saw the lineup, he tossed Mike Rupp and Brandon Prust on the ice with Bickel. The puck dropped, and three fights erupted simultaneously with Bickel going right after Carter.

Both now play for the Wild.

“I fought [Brandon] Dubinsky the game before at home, and I broke his orbital bone,” Carter said. “This was Dubinsky’s first game back and I thought he would take the faceoff. Suddenly Stu takes it.”

“It was the coach’s call,” Bickel said of him taking the faceoff. “I gave a wink to Rupper and Prusty, a head nod, and it was pretty obvious what’s going to happen.”

Bickel skated at Carter, grabbed him and punched away, opening an old scar above Carter’s left eye. Blood poured on the ice.

“It’s by no means fun, but that’s part of the job,” Carter said.

Bickel and Carter know each other well. They’re both Minnesotans and skate together in the summertime, so they had no problem sharing a Wild locker room. It’s ironic considering their prior clash, but Bickel lost his gig with the Wild for the time being Tuesday because Carter’s hard-nosed role with the team since signing Oct. 6 made Bickel expendable. Bickel cleared waivers and was assigned to AHL Iowa.