Matt Rempe praised for changing his fighting style versus Ryan Reaves

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The legend of Matt Rempe continues to grow after taking on Ryan Reaves, who is widely considered the toughest fighter in the NHL today.

The two combatants had a lengthy fight with Rempe wisely using his reach to keep Reaves at distance. From the onset, Rempe used his left hand to grab the front of the 37-year-old seasoned veteran’s jersey. When he couldn’t ensure connecting with a huge right, Rempe delivered a series of rabbit punches to Reaves’ chin and also avoided taking a big shot to his already bruised faced.

In his three previous fights, Rempe’s sheer size (6-foot-8) and strength overpowered his opponents. However, in his last altercation against Columbus’ Mathieu Olivier, he was wobbled by a much smaller fighter, as he allowed him to get in tight.

Former NHL enforcer John Scott, who played 286 NHL games over eight seasons with seven teams, including six games with the Rangers in 2011-12, had some advice for Rempe after that bout.

“His grab hand (left) is the main problem, as he’s getting tagged by small guys consistently and he shouldn’t be,” Scott, who is also 6-foot-8 told Forever Blueshirts. “To take advantage of his height, he needs to grab the other guy by the neck. He’s been grabbing them on the outside shoulder of their right arm for some reason. If he gets that grip initially, he will have a much easier time.”

According to ESPN, Rempe and Scott connected via social media and it appears the kid listened.

Related: Rangers needed more than one line to score in Toronto

Matt Rempe receives praise

NHL: New York Rangers at Toronto Maple Leafs
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

After the battle between Rempe and Reaves, which was also the featured game on Hockey Night In Canada, Scott was pleased. Not just because of how Rempe heeded his instruction, but also because of the timing when the rookie decided to go.

Late in the third period with the Rangers down 3-2 to the Maple Leafs, the 21-year-old looked over to his bench and received the seal of approval to drop the gloves. Whether you believe in it or not, the Rangers tied the game soon afterwards.

“The kid is a gamer,” Scott said on X. “Used his reach, threw less but more effective punches. Great fight by both guys. And the Rangers score to tie! What a result for Rempe.”

Another well known former NHL heavyweight even felt Rempe edged Reaves in the bout. Georges Laraque played 695 games over 12 years and amassed 1,126 penalty minutes.

“Impressive fight by the young rookie in Toronto,” Laraque stated. “Edge Rempe, good job!!!”

Max Domi, who’s father Tie is considered one of the all-time great fighters even had some kind words for his opponent.

“Respect to that kid,” Domi praised. “Reavo is the toughest guy in the League. For him to hang in like that, all the credit to him.”

Of course, fighting Reaves wasn’t the only thing Rempe did. He played a very physical game and delivered a bone-crushing hit to Leafs’ defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin, knocking him out of the game.

Toronto’s head coach Sheldon Keefe claimed Rempe left his feet, but it appears that at the point of contact, they were firmly on the ground. On the other hand, there is a case for a charge.

No word yet if the League intends to look at the hit.

Anthony Scultore is the founder of Forever Blueshirts and has been covering the New York Rangers and the NHL... More about Anthony Scultore

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