Matt Rempe ‘sorry’ for elbow that led to Rangers’ suspension: report

NHL: St. Louis Blues at New York Rangers
Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Rempe knows he made a mistake and the New York Rangers rookie said he’s sorry about elbowing New Jersey Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the head March 11.

Rempe received a match penalty for the elbow and a four-game suspension. But Rempe said after practice Wednesday that he had no idea at the time contact was made with Siegenthaler.

“Obviously, watching back, I did. I made a mistake,” Rempe explained, per reports. “I thought I hit the wall, but I ended up hitting him. That was unfortunate. I’m sorry about that.”

On the play in question, Rempe skated hard through the neutral zone to line up a hit against Siegenthaler. The Devils defenseman fired the puck into the offensive zone and then held up, seeing that Rempe was coming at him. Rempe appeared that he would completely miss the hit as a result, but lifted his elbow and caught Siegenthaler in the jaw.

Siegenthaler was helped from ice and has not played since with a concussion.

“It was an accident but you never want to see a guy get hurt or anything like that,” Rempe said. “I’m still going to play super hard, play the same way. I’m just going to make sure my hits are clean.”

Related: Former Rangers enforcer Chris Simon dies at 52

Rangers want Matt Rempe to learn, but continue to ‘play his game too’

NHL: New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Rangers were 3-1-0 during Rempe’s suspension and coach Peter Laviolette juggled his bottom six a couple times to get a look at different line combinations. Rempe was eligible to play Tuesday but was a healthy scratch in a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

During practice Wednesday, the 6-foot-8 forward skated on the fourth line with Barclay Goodrow and Jimmy Vesey. Jonny Brodzinski was the odd-man out, skating on an extra defense pair during drills with Brandon Scanlin.

Laviolette didn’t commit to Rempe’s return on Thursday when the Rangers visit the Boston Bruins.

“He likes to hit. He’s a good hitter, and so he’s got make sure he’s doing things the right way,” Laviolette said after practice. “That one got away. Every other hit has been pretty good. They’ve been heavy and physical and he brings that presence to the team. And that’s part of the reason why he’s here is because he bangs bodies. He’s also a good hockey player for us, as well.

“When he does come back in the lineup, we’ll look for those same elements.”

For his part, Rempe said he needed to “live and learn” from the experience. He’s already proved to be a quick learner, heeding Laviolette’s instructions not to fight New Jersey’s Kurtis MacDermid earlier in that game against the Devils.

“We’ve talked to Matt about a whole bunch of things, from the staged fighting he was doing at the beginning to hitting and clean hits,” Laviolette explained. “It’s nice to have him back and available. You just watch him out there today and you see his speed and size and the way he handles puck … but make no mistake, he’s got to play his game, too.”

Rempe has a team-high 54 penalty minutes in his first 10 NHL games and has been ejected from two of those. He also has one goal and one assist and played a season-high 11:08 in ice time against the St. Louis Blues the game prior to his hit against Siegenthaler.

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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