6’8″ rookie Matt Rempe ejected after massive hit that bloodied Devils forward; fans can’t stop arguing about whether it was clean or not

Matt Rempe hasn’t had a quiet start to his NHL career. Earlier this week, he became the first player ever to make his NHL debut in an outdoor game and made an immediate mark on the game.

In his first-ever NHL shift, with not even one second played, he dropped the mitts to fight veteran Matt Martin.

Rempe, drafted 165th overall in 2020, is a 6’8”, 240 lbs defenseman and was praised for what he brought to the Rangers team with his physical presence on the ice during his debut.

On Thursday, he played his third game of his NHL career, but it only lasted for 13 seconds.

On his very first shift of the Rangers’ 5-1 win over the Devils at the Prudential Center, Rempe absolutely destroyed Nathan Bastian along the boards.

The massive hit knocked the New Jersey Devils forward and even broke his stick, all in one motion.

Bastian’s head took a big hit, and the forward had trouble getting up to the ice before being sent straight to the locker room. Devils’ Jonas Siegenthaler didn’t like what he saw and went after Rempe to retaliate on the hit. Rempe answered the bell, dropped the gloves, and only needed two punches to take the Devils player out.

Rempe earned a roughing penalty and a match penalty, which ended his night after just 13 seconds of ice time. Rempe now has 22 penalty minutes in just 9:47 of career ice time.

NEWARK, NJ – FEBRUARY 22: Matt Rempe #73 of the New York Rangers warms up prior to the game against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 22, 2024 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Devils fans were quick to boo Rempe as he left the ice, and he responded by putting his hand to the ear. Postgame, the Rangers were furious about the call.

“That’s just a big man. Everything is down. There’s nothing that’s up,” head coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. “Never lifted his arm. I’m glad [Bastian] came back and played and was not hurt from that. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, but it’s just tough.

“He’s a big guy. He was full steam ahead and kept everything down, tried to go through the body and I’m sure he hit everything. It’s a tough call. We’ll look at it and see.”

But on social media, fans couldn’t stop arguing about whether it was a clean or dirty play from Rempe.

”Bro is 6 inches taller than him and Bastian is bent over, he stops skating before the hit, tucks his elbow and shoulder, what more does he have to do,” one said on X, formerly Twitter.

”Weak call. Rempe actually turned away,” another said.

But many also believed Rempe went in too hard.

”That hit was way too aggressive, not cool at all. Hope Nate Bastian is okay,” one said.

”Yeah, he’s tall. Yeah, Bastion’s head is down, but cmon, man. The only contact was with the head,” another said.

Bastian returned to the ice later in the game, but that didn’t pan out well. He was taken out by a massive hit from Jacob Trouba and lost his mind. Bastian dropped the gloves with the Rangers captain, who could be seen laughing when the Devils forward went after him.

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