Former Rangers enforcer Colton Orr understands why New York fans ‘embrace’ Matt Rempe

Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Colton Orr was like many other New York Rangers fans, sitting outdoors at MetLife Stadium with his son for the Stadium Series game against the New York Islanders on Feb. 18.

He enjoyed the spectacle of a great hockey rivalry playing out in front of 79,000 fans, not to mention a wild 6-5 come-from-behind overtime win for the Blueshirts.

And he was also quite taken with 6-foot-8 Rangers rookie Matt Rempe, who engaged in a toe-to-toe throwdown with Islanders enforcer Matt Martin on his first NHL shift.

“It’s a great story … watching Rempe going up against Matt Martin on a big stage like that really makes it sort of like he stormed out to the big stage in New York,” Orr told Forever Blueshirts on Friday. “He’s definitely making a name for himself.”

Unlike other Rangers fans, Orr knows first-hand what it’s like to be in Rempe’s shoes, or skates if you prefer.

WATCH: Entire Colton Orr interview on Forever Blueshirts YouTube channel

Colton Orr believes Matt Rempe is ‘special player’ for Rangers

NHL: New York Rangers at New Jersey Devils
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Orr landed on Broadway as a 23-year-old tough guy after the Rangers claimed him on waivers from the Boston Bruins on Nov. 29, 2005. He went on to play four seasons in New York, becoming a huge fan favorite for his punishing hits and willingness to fight the top NHL heavyweights.

To this day, Rangers fans still come up to Orr – who lives in Connecticut and is assistant coach for PWHL New York – and bring up his memorable tilt with Todd Fedoruk of the Philadelphia Flyers on March 22, 2007. The fight lasted roughly 20 seconds and ended with a one-punch knockout for Orr.

“The prior game we played Philly, I was a healthy scratch and he was running around and taking advantage of the team and went up to [Jaromir] Jagr and everyone, trying to play dirty and get the team off their game,” Orr recalled. “So, sure enough, the Flyers come a few weeks later to The Garden and I knew I had to go out there and take care of business … It was one of those moments, the fans are going crazy and they still bring up that story to this day, and I kind of made a name for myself.”

Sound familiar?

Rempe is following a similar path. The 21-year-old is making a name for himself too, just 11 games into his NHL career. But Rempe is learning lessons, as well, none bigger than a four-game suspension he received after a match penalty for elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head.

“He’s big. He’s strong. He can hit,” Orr said about Rempe. “Definitely needs to be careful of his size, making sure his point of contact is in the right spot. He’s young and he’s going to learn and he’s definitely a special player that New York fans and Blueshirts fans will definitely embrace.”

Just as the Blueshirt Faithful embraced Orr. He played 224 games with the Rangers before signing as a free agent with the Toronto Maple Leafs ahead of the 2009-10 season. In that span, Orr racked up 522 penalty minutes with the Rangers. He also scored the first four of his 12 NHL goals with New York.

“They’re a city that doesn’t like to be pushed around,” Orr said about New York. “[Rempe] fits that role just by his sheer size and just the way he can play and hit and be physical.”

Colton Orr shares more memories of his time with the Rangers, and discusses Henrik Lundqvist’s first seasons in New York, the  recent passing of Chris Simon and coaching in the Women’s Professional Hockey League in our exclusive interview posted on the Forever Blueshirts YouTube channel.

Jim Cerny is Executive Editor at Forever Blueshirts and Managing Editor at Sportsnaut, with more than 30 years of... More about Jim Cerny

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