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Rangers Matt Rempe Learned from ‘Dirty Hit’ Against Devils

Rangers forward Matt Rempe apologizes for his hit on Devils defenseman Jonas Siegenthaler, explains why he didn’t fight Kurtis MacDermid.

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New Jersey Devils

New York Rangers forward Matt Rempe has fulfilled his four-game suspension following an illegal check to the head of New Jersey Devils defenseman, Jonas Siegenthaler.

The Rangers rookie returned to the ice and commented on the situation for the first time, explaining what he learned on hiatus.

“More control of my body, just stuff like that,” Rempe explained to Rangers media via Mollie Walker of the NY Post. “If a guy is pulling out of a hit, just got to be careful. It was an accident. I thought I was going to hit the wall… Never want to see a guy get hurt or anything like that. I’m still going to play super hard, play the same way. I’m just going to make sure my hits are clean, like, keep everything compact, keep everything tight. It will be good. Just live and learn.”

In fact, Rempe apologized about the hit, explaining he didn’t fully understand what was happening in the moment.

“Obviously, watching back, I did [elbow Siegenthaler],” Rempe continued. “I made a mistake… I thought I hit the wall, but I ended up hitting him. That was unfortunate. I’m sorry about that.”

It’s now well documented that Devils forward Kurtis MacDermid believes Rempe should have “answered the bell” on the ice that night instead of waving the New Jersey enforcer off while being escorted to the dressing room by the officials.

“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.”

“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.”

However, Rempe explained the reason why he didn’t answer MacDermid’s call that night.

“I had my instructions, I had my instructions,” Rempe said.

Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette explained that he was pleased with Rempe’s restraint to drop the gloves with MacDermid, explaining he’s of the belief Rempe’s hit on Nathan Bastian was clean.

“For a hit that we thought was just a good, clean, hard, hockey hit. I don’t think he should drop the gloves every time he hits somebody. I mean, I’m sure he will. He doesn’t mind, he wants to, he likes to. But we’re trying to say, ‘Go play your game. Stay on the ice and play your game. Be an effective player for us, as well”

Siegenthaler was diagnosed with a concussion as a result of the illegal check to the head by Rempe. He remains off the ice and out of the Devils lineup with no indication of return in the near future. And although Rempe’s suspension has been lifted, Laviolette sat the rookie as a healthy scratch on Tuesday against a heavy Winnipeg Jets team. The Rangers head coach explained he hopes Rempe learned from this as he claims he did.

“He likes to hit. He’s a good hitter,” Laviolette explained. “So he’s got to make sure he’s doing things the right way. 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. That’s part of the reason he’s here is because he can bang bodies. He’s also been a good hockey player for us, as well. When he does come back in the lineup, we’ll look for those same elements.”

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