New York Rangers great leadership shown in the opening line brawl against the Devils

Apr 3, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Matt Rempe (73) and New Jersey Devils
Apr 3, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers center Matt Rempe (73) and New Jersey Devils / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The start of the Rangers Devils game was a thrilling spectacle. In a mere two seconds, the ice was transformed into a battleground. Matt Rempe engaged in a fierce bout with Kurtis MacDermid, Jimmy Vesey & Curtis Lazar traded blows, Barclay Goodrow & Kieran Tierney clashed, Jacob Trouba & Kevin Bahl went head-to-head, and John Marino & K'Andre Miller joined in the fray. The benches were not spared from the intensity, with Peter Laviolette and Travis Greene exchanging heated words. Even the goalies were not immune, as Igor Shesterkin challenged Kaapo Kahkonen in the Devils' cage. It was a scene of chaos at the Garden.

Now, Matt Rempe got suspended. The last time he played, the Devils were the Ranger's opponent. An elbow to the head of Jonas Siegenthaler saw him sit for four games, and he was going to have to answer the bell with the Devils' goon, Kurtis MacDermid. The last time the two teams played, Rempe was declining fights with the defensemen, and the writing was on the wall for a duel.

While Rempe and MacDermid were expected to go, everyone else dropping them was a surprise. For me, this outlined how intense this group's togetherness is. A narrative was being pushed around Rempe that he was a pure thug and only here to lay dirty hits and fight. Knowing he would have to answer the bell, his teammates did it with him. New York's captain and alternate captain fought alongside the young Albertan, turning the narrative into rivalry and away from "Rempe's only here to fight."

We can all accuse Trouba of not being the best player on the team, with fans willing to debate if his presence in the lineup harms the group, but this was a sign of outstanding leadership. Sticking with the kid and having the noise of this hockey-crazed market work in favor of Rempe. Knowing that the pressure could affect him and everyone would be listening to the reaction of the hockey world, everyone went. All four of the players who dropped the gloves with him need praise. It's easy to turtle; putting your body on the line is much more challenging.