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Laviolette Discusses Rangers Matt Rempe’s Lineup Status vs. Devils

Matt Rempe has been a healthy scratch in each of the Rangers’ last three games, owes a debt to the Devils.



New Jersey Devils

New York Rangers head coach Peter Laviolette would not reveal his lineup intentions against the New Jersey Devils.

Everyone knows what the TNT matchup between the Hudson River Rivals is anticipating.

Rangers enforcer Matt Rempe has been a healthy scratch in New York’s last three games, accruing a 2-1-0 record in that span. When asked on Wednesday morning by the Rangers media in attendance at Madison Square Garden, Laviolette explained he’s unsure whether or not Rempe will be in the lineup against the Devils or not.

“We’re still working through things in the room right now,” Laviolette explained diplomatically. “But, when Matt comes back, we want him to play his game. It’s that simple.”

Much of the attention at Wednesday’s morning skate was focused on Rempe’s history with the Devils.

You’d think that Rempe has been in the league and part of the Devils-Rangers rivalry for years, rather than just the two games that he’s taken part in.

However, that’s the kind of noise Rempe has created for himself.

As a result of two questionable hits in consecutive games against the Devils, Rempe has put a target on his back that New Jersey has certainly aimed at.

In fact, general manager Tom Fitzgerald went out of his way to acquire Kurtis MacDermid as a result of Rempe’s actions on Feb. 22nd, when he hit Nathan Bastian with a check that has seemingly kept him out of play since.

In their last tilt, MacDermid attempted to lure Rempe into answering the bell for his hit on Bastian. However, Rempe denied MacDermid and was later ejected from the game for another illegal check that earned him a four-game suspension.

The brief, yet detailed history between Rempe and the Devils has made April 3rd a must-see T.V. matchup.

According to Peter Baugh of The Athletic, Zac Jones, Jonny Brodzinski and Chad Ruhwedel were doing extra work on the ice this morning, indicating Rempe’s return to the lineup.

We’ll see if that’s the case come puck drop as Laviolette danced around Rempe’s game status.

Laviolette did recognize Rempe’s history with the Rangers rival. However, the Ranger head coach went on to say that Rempe’s been a physical force against any opponent, not just the Devils. In fact, he praised the rookies’ play thus far and cited teachable moments such as the one that got him suspended in his last tilt against New Jersey.

“I think Rempe has done a great job of coming in and providing physical presence to all the games that he’s played in, not just to talk about the New Jersey Devils,” Laviolette explained. “There was an incident that happened where the league took action. We tried to talk to Matt and teach him about what he’s allowed to do and can do on the ice. But in the same sense, he’s been a really effective player for us in the way he plays the game. There are some games where we feel like a heavier presence can be needed. And so we’ve used him in those games and he’s done an excellent job and that’s the way we’re approaching it for the rest of the season.”

Despite Laviolette’s comments that he’s still “working” through his lineup decisions, all signs point to Rempe skating in the final tilt between the Devils and Rangers. Perhaps, the two sides can get some closure on the situation.

Or, maybe, just maybe the rivalry will explode even more.

The puck drops on Broadway tonight at 7 P.M. between the Devils and the Rangers.

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