When Should The Rangers Dress Matt Rempe Against The Washington Capitals?

The New York Rangers have a crowd energizer and heavy hitter they can unleash whenever they so choose. To be proactive, or reactive.
New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers
New Jersey Devils v New York Rangers / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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New York Rangers forward Matt Rempe is not going anywhere anytime soon. He may be suiting up at Madison Square Garden on Sunday for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarter-Final series against the Washington Capitals.

He may also be at the Garden as a black ace in the press box.

The New York Rangers know exactly who they are playing. Tom Wilson's rampage on May 3rd, 2021 resulted in a fine. from the NHL Players Safety Department.

The incident prompted the Rangers to fight the following game with Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell, Phil Di Giuseppe, Ryan Strome, and Anthony Bitetto partaking in the brawl. It was an honorable and necessary response, but it signified what the Rangers needed the most in their bottom six.

It forced the Rangers to build a more rigid team through the draft, free agency, and trades.

As a result, the culture in the Big Apple has changed dramatically over the last three seasons. On April 2nd, the Rangers flexed their muscle on the New Jersey Devils in another opening faceoff line brawl following criticisms of Rempe by Kurtis MacDermid.

The Capitals will need any advantage or pendulum swing they can muster, as they face off against a loaded Rangers team. That may prompt Alexander Ovechkin and Tom Wilson to exacerbate their physical play.

Do the Caps try to get tough out of the gate? If so, the Rangers may benefit from setting the tone early.

If the Blueshirts dust up the Capitals early and take a commanding series lead, does an agitated Tom Wilson turn on the kill switch to fire up his team?

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These scenarios are hypothetical, but that strategy is all a part of the chess game. ward outside. In a series that features a villain notorious for his unruly antics, the Rangers have an asset that can counter if need be. That same player is also an effective fourth-line forechecker.

Granted, Tom Wilson skates on Washington second, while 21-year-old Rempe is averaging 5:37 a night. By no means would Rempe be shifted regularly against No. 43.

If Rempe is deployed, it will certainly be to send a message. The independent variable is the Capitals in some way taking advantage of the Rangers with heavier-hitting top-six talent.

The dependent variable is how the Rangers approach that. The Rangers can not afford to lose players to injury this spring.

Unfortunately, based on the head-to-head history between the clubs and the track record of certain players, the speculation of an injury from a controversial hit is a real possibility.

Of course, the series could be entertaining and never cross that line. The Rangers have trees on defense in Trouba, Miller, and Schneider, as well as Ryan Lindgren who never shies away from a body check, to counter the Caps' snarl within the rulebook.

The story for the cult hero that is "The Rempire State Building" continues as the Rangers head into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Whether he suits up as a proactive measure or a response, the bombastic forward will see action this post season.