How Rempemania took over the New York Rangers’ fan base

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Greg Wyshynski, ESPNMar 2, 2024, 07:00 AM ET

CloseGreg Wyshynski is ESPN’s senior NHL writer.

Matt Rempe’s eye looked like a wall of paint samples at a hardware store. A lot of black, some blue, a touch of chartreuse around the edges. Facial bruising is a commonplace sight on an NHL rink. Rempe’s shiner was more noticeable because he stands around 6-foot-8 without skates.

“It’s nothing. Just a little … I don’t know, nothing,” Rempe said to an unusually large group of reporters on Tuesday after the New York Rangers’ morning skate. “It’s awesome. Just part of what goes along with hitting. You get bumps and bruises along the way.”

Matt Rempe took pictures with @NYRangers fans at a @Cheesecake Factory, which just exponentially grows the legend of Matt Rempe.

“I’ve got all the time in the world for the fans. They’re the ones cheering me on,” he said. pic.twitter.com/aRvl5fmMw0

— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) February 27, 2024

Rempe is a 21-year-old rookie whose first NHL games sparked a leaguewide obsession few could recall witnessing. He had three fights in his first five NHL games. He might have had a fourth had he not been ejected for an illegal check to the head against the rival New Jersey Devils.

Through six NHL games, Rempe has more penalty minutes (32) than minutes spent playing (28).

To counterbalance that disobedience, his first professional goal was also the game winner in a nationally televised game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“It’s gotta be one of the craziest NHL debuts that there’s ever been,” Rangers center Jonny Brodzinski said… I don’t know if there’s been anything else like it.”

The Rangers promoted Rempe from AHL Hartford ahead of their Stadium Series game against the New York Islanders at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. He was an injury replacement for winger Blake Wheeler, whose season ended with a lower-body injury on Feb. 15.

In front of 79,690 fans, on his first NHL shift, Rempe fought the Islanders’ Matt Martin, immediately earning cult hero…

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Source link : https://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/39631880/new-york-rangers-matt-rempe-fights-hits-penalty-minutes

Author : Greg Wyshynski

Publish date : 2024-03-02 12:22:43

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