Rangers Rookie Goon Matt Rempe Drops The Gloves With Veteran Heavyweight Ryan Reaves

Matt Rempe
MSG

Is Matt Rempe the new face of the NHL?

Not long after the puck dropped in Saturday night’s game between the Rangers and Maple Leafs, Ryan Reaves made it known that he wanted a piece of New York’s towering 21-year-old rookie Matt Rempe.

Reaves is a known enforcer, and sent the Toronto crowd into frenzied anticipation when he broached the topic with Rempe in the early going.

As the game wore on, it didn’t look like it’d be happening. For a guy whose face is busted from three fights in his first six NHL games β€” with the first occurring right as his opening shift as a Ranger began β€” Rempe had the wherewithal to check in with the bench.

Once the Rangers staff gave him the thumbs up, he proceeded to duel Reaves rather late in the third period.

And… go time:

Quite the unusual time for a heavyweight bout. Nevertheless, Rempe pressed on, and probably regretted doing so. You could tell Rempe was a little reluctant from the outset to engage Reaves. Despite how youthful he is, those blows to the head on Rempe add up. He had quite the bruised mug before engaging in fisticuffs with the 6-foot-2, 225-pound Reaves.

Definitely cheering for the kid, but Reaves got the upper hand here. The reach advantage Rempe has over the vast majority of his adversaries is invaluable if he wants to keep this act up. Once he’d taken some big shots from Reaves, Rempe could hold him at a relative distance and limit some of the damage.

At some point, you have to believe Rempe slows down on the fights. Every team’s toughest dude is gonna want a piece of him. That’s a cool precedent to set. Then the novelty wears off kind of fast if you hit the deck and black out, like I suspect Rempe might do at some point. But hey, Rempe also has 2 points in only a handful of games. Reav-O has 4 all season, and some enforcers go their whole career without ever putting the puck in the net.

All that being said, it’s awesome that an elite club like the Rangers have a spark plug like Rempe who can give them a lift. At least I’d assume he’ll be on the playoff roster. They need someone like that to get after opponents, get in their heads, and eat up some ice time with gritty, two-way hockey so that New York’s bigger offensive stars can get a bit more of a breather.

If the fight with Reaves didn’t go his way, at least Rempe laid the lumber on the boards late in the second period. That was more than enough to send a message to the Leafs.

Nice to see Reaves tap into a little Tie Domi energy for the Leafs (IYKYK).

Speaking of Reaves, I covered an incident of his last season when he played for the Minnesota Wild. It has to be in the top five hardest I’ve ever laughed at anything to happen in a sporting event.

No spoilers here. Just watch. Well worth 25 seconds of your time.

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