Rangers’ Matt Rempe: Tom Wilson ‘Blowing Guys Up … Got Me Fired Up’

Matt Rempe of the New York Rangers

Getty Matt Rempe of the New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers are entering the postseason as the reigning Presidents’ Trophy winners and boasting the best record across the NHL. The Washington Capitals are doing so as the worst team in the playoffs field and boasting a huge underdog label.

These two teams, at the very least, have one particular thing in common as both carry with them two bona fide enforcers in their rosters: the Rangers’ Matt Rempe and the Capitals’ Tom Wilson.

Rempe, the Rangers’ rookie sensation, revealed to reporters on Thursday, April 18, that he has always admired Wilson to the extent of watching his highlights for inspiration ahead of matches.

“When I was younger, I think there’s this montage of [Wilson] on YouTube just blowing guys up,” Rempe told reporters after practice at MSG Training Center on Thursday, via Mollie Walker of The New York Post. “I used to watch that sometimes when I was younger, it got me fired up. I know he’s a really good competitor.”

The Rangers and the Capitals will kick off their first-round series with Game 1 on Sunday, April 21, at Madison Square Garden with puck drop scheduled at 3 p.m. Eastern time.

Matt Rempe Is Feisty & the Rangers Like Him

Even though Rempe has only played 17 NHL games throughout his brief career, he has become quite the sensation across the hockey world and beyond.

Rempe has already a bulky fight record with five bouts in 17 games, three ejections and a four-game suspension on his resume. Although that might be seen as a negative thing for the Rangers, the truth is that his teammates have benefited from such a high-powered and amped-up presence.

Head coach Peter Laviolette won’t divulge his lineup for Game 1, but he’s been quoted making it clear that Rempe will feature in the postseason for the Rangers.

“I’m not going to talk about any players,” Laviolette told reporters after practice on Thursday, April 18. “I’m not going to talk about lineups or lines or changes. So, none of that.”

“I do think he’s played in games that are a big, and the outdoor game was one,” Laviolette said on April 15. “I do think he’s ready for playoff games.”

Rangers defenseman Erik Gustafsson told reporters on Thursday that Rempe has had “a huge impact” on the ice in every game he’s played with New York this season.

“How he plays, just being on the bench, he’s always talking on the bench and stuff like that. Always standing up for us. It’s fun to see how he came into the league now.

“It’s going to be fun to see him in the playoffs, too, I think he’s going to go out there and do the same thing.”

Tom Wilson Has a Dark Past With the Rangers

The Washington Capitals have a strong approach to games these days. They might boast an old core led by 38-year-old Alex Ovechkin, but all the speed their lineups lack they make up for with physicality, including that of Wilson.

The Rangers surely have memories of Wilson going back to 2021. Back then, in a game between the Capitals and New York, Wilson cross-checked Pavel Buchnevich and then ragdolled Artemi Panarin, who suffered an injury.

Wilson wasn’t suspended, and the Rangers ended up being fined $250,000 by the NHL for releasing a statement denouncing the League and its Department of Player Safety for wrongdoing.

The Rangers are the clear-cut favorites over the Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoff with -410 odds to eliminate their opponents. Washington is +315 to pull off the upset at FanDuel Sportsbook.

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