Matt Rempe proud of ‘my brothers’ after Rangers brawl with Devils: report

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours after participating in a line brawl against the New Jersey Devils at Madison Square Garden, Matt Rempe was still fired up following an optional New York Rangers practice Thursday.

“That was a banger,” Rempe told reporters, later adding, “It was wicked.”

Indeed it was.

All 10 skaters dropped their gloves two seconds after the opening face-off to start a game that featured 166 penalty minutes and eight players ejected. Everyone in the sold-out Garden knew Rempe was going to fight Devils enforcer Kurtis MacDermid when their names appeared in the starting lineups. No one could have guessed the full-scale mayhem that ensued.

“Those guys are my brothers,” Rempe told Vince Mercogliano of “That wasn’t planned or anything. It just kind of happened naturally. I think that was really special that they did that, as well. I knew that I was going to have to fight. It’s not a big deal − answer the bell type of thing. It happens, but for them to go to war with me was pretty dang special. … I love all those guys.”

Mercogliano reported that Rempe was so amped following the melee that he was bouncing around the locker room after he, Jacob Trouba, K’Andre Miller and Barclay Goodrow each received a game misconduct to go along with five-minute fighting majors. The four exiled Rangers got a workout in while their teammates rallied for a 4-3 victory, though Rempe was also a source of entertainment with his excitement.

“He’s living his best life right now,” coach Peter Laviolette said.

Related: Kaapo Kakko had funny thought after Rangers line brawl with Devils

Matt Rempe, Rangers teammates ‘in this thing together’

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

It was a special moment for Rempe, to be embraced in such a way by his teammates. Instead of fighting his own battle against a Devils team angry that Rempe had hurt two of their players in previous games, including an elbow against defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler that resulted in a four-game suspension, the Rangers rallied around their 6-foot-8 rookie.

“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a team-building exercise, in a sense” Trouba said. “We’re all in this thing together. He’s not left out there on his own. We’re all with him, every step of the way.”

In three games this season against the Devils, Rempe has played a shade over five minutes total and was ejected from each. After being verbally trashed by MacDermid following a March 11 game when Rempe refused to be goaded into a fight, the towering forward received his due from the Devils tough guy Wednesday.

“I’m always going to have a lot of respect for him,” MacDermid said postgame. “He’s a young kid just trying to do his thing trying to stay in the League, and I understand that. … He’s a big, tough, strong kid … He’s a good showing so far.”

Rempe had cuts to his mouth and knuckles after his marathon bout with MacDermid, one that featured big blows landed by each.

It was absolutely the Main Event of the night.

And one that Rempe isn’t soon to forget.

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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