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Devils Kurtis MacDermid to Rangers Matt Rempe After Dirty Hit: ‘Be a Man’

Devils Kurtis MacDermid calls out Rangers Matt Rempe for not answering call on dirty checks to Nathan Bastian and Jonas Siegenthaler.



New Jersey Devils
(AP Photo/John Munson)

BROADWAY — The anticipation leading up to Monday night’s tilt between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers was mounting.

Before the puck even dropped, interim head coach Travis Green cited both Kurtis MacDermid and Matt Rempe without even saying their names. Green hasn’t forgotten what Rempe did to Devils forward Nathan Bastian.

“This time of year, I’m expecting a fast game, a paced game, a physical game,” Green explained. “We’ve got two players, one player on each team that likes physical play a lot more than some other players and that’s part of hockey. That’s the great part of our game.”

The Devils suffered a 3-1 loss to the Rangers. MacDermid, the Devils’ enforcer was livid about the events that transpired afterward.

MacDermid’s emotions were less about the loss and more about Rempe’s actions. On March 22nd at the Prudential Center, Rempe laid a big check on Bastian that left the Devils forward on the ice and bloodied. Although MacDermid was still a member of the Colorado Avalanche at the time, he knows why general manager Tom Fitzgerald brought him in.

It was time for Rempe to answer for his actions against Bastian.

The Rangers rookie denied MacDermid of a fight early on in the first period of the physical tilt at Madison Square Garden.

That didn’t bother MacDermid so much. What really bothered him was two-fold. One, he very much disliked the illegal check to the head of Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler in the second period. And two, he was less than thrilled about not answering the bell to MacDermid following the illegal check.

It certainly made a bad hit worse when Rempe taunted the Devils bench waving goodbye following his ejection from the game.

“I thought he would have answered [in the first period], but I don’t know what he was told and he said ‘no,'” MacDermid explained. “After a hit like that [to Bastian], it kind of goes without saying you should answer the bell in some way and be a man about it. And then the game goes on and he throws another hit like that gets you kicked out and a possible suspension. So there’s a right way to go about things and a wrong way. I kind of lost a lot of respect for him tonight.”

Rempe is up to 54 penalty minutes in 10 NHL games. The Rangers enforcer has already engaged in four fights in that span, facing some tough opponents in Ryan Reaves, Matt Martin, Nick Deslauriers, and Mathieu Olivier.

It was certainly anticipated that MacDermid was going to be Rempe’s next opponent, however, he was thrown from the game before MacDermid could get his hands on Rempe.

“It’s part of [the referee’s] job to deescalate anything that goes on,” MacDermid explained. “They’re just trying to do their job and I understand that. I just wish I could have gotten to him quicker.”

The Devils and Rangers play again on April 3rd. It’s another tilt at MSG that will — without a doubt — be must-see TV.

However, there are three-plus weeks before we get to the next tilt between the Devils and Rangers. MacDermid hopes to see Rempe receive a call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

“Oh, yeah, of course,” MacDermid said to New Jersey Hockey Now when asked if he’d like to see Rempe disciplined. “I mean, you know, he’s a huge guy and he’s just throwing his elbows around like that. You gotta learn how to hit properly and not injure players. You never want to see a guy go down like that.”

Although Green doesn’t typically show a ton of emotion, the Devils’ interim head coach was equally unhappy with Rempe’s illegal; check to Siegenthaler. He wouldn’t say it outright, but Green certainly agrees with MacDermid that Rempe should face discipline from player safety.

“Everyone who knows the game at all knows that the player is in a vulnerable spot,” Green said. “And there’s a player that is looking to… call it predatorial or whatever you want to call it. It’s definitely not the first time that it’s happened and it’s the second time against us.”

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