Rangers captain admits he would hate to play against Matt Rempe

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The legend of New York Rangers rookie Matt Rempe continues to grow after another monster hit that knocked out Washington Capitals defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk in Game 3 on Friday night. Referees called the 6-foot-8 forward for Interference due to the hit being a tad bit late, however, Capitals’ players accused him of being dirty.

“That was a dirty hit,” Nic Dowd claimed. “I think [Rempe] took advantage of another player in a vulnerable spot.”

Through three games in this series, Rempe has been the focal point of everyone’s attention despite averaging just 7:08 of ice time per night. The reality is, they’ve been very effective minutes as he’s compiled 15 hits and even has a goal (Game 1). Meanwhile, Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin hasn’t even managed a point in this series with the Rangers looking for the sweep on Sunday.

There’s no doubt that Washington is frustrated, and attempts by Dylan McIlrath and Tom Wilson to get him to fight have been ignored by the composed youngster. It’s driving the Capitals crazy and Rangers captain Jacob Trouba has noticed.

“I’m sure teams don’t like him,” Trouba said per Michael Russo. “I probably wouldn’t like him either if I played against him.”

Related: Laviolette hints at issues with penalty calls

Matt Rempe taking it all in stride

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Washington Capitals
Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

So how is Rempe dealing with all this attention? He’s playing video games with Chris Kreider and laughing it off.

“I was playing Halo with Kreids and them last night,” he told Mollie Walker. “First time I ever played that, I got killed 68 times. It was a bad performance.”

There’s no doubt that Rempe is a hard-nosed physical player, but it’s his size and speed that magnifies everything he does into highlight reel material. The hit that took out van Riemsdyk, who has already been ruled out for Game 4, was actually clean in the eyes of many, including Wayne Gretzky,

“I thought it was clean,” Gretzky said during the NHL on TNT broadcast. “I was a little worried it was a touch late. But had the Washington player had his head up, he would’ve seen him coming. If you don’t seem him coming, you have to hear him coming. And if you don’t hear him coming, you have to know he’s on the ice. He’s a big train out there.”

When asked on Saturday about the bombastic blast, Rempe explained that he was just playing hard and felt bad that van Riemsdyk was injured.

“I thought it was a clean hit,” Rempe noted. “I just went through the body. You never want anyone to get hurt, and I’m sorry to hear about that. I was just trying to play hard, move my feet, and be physical.”

The Rangers will look to close out the Capitals in their Eastern Conference First Round matchup on Sunday. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 P.M. ET.

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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