Ryan Reaves recalls calling out Matt Rempe to an all-out knuckle-fest after Rangers phenom's hit on Leafs teammate

New York Rangers v Toronto Maple Leafs
Ryan Reaves recalls calling out Matt Rempe to an all-out knuckle-fest after Rangers phenom's hit on Leafs teammate

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Ryan Reaves recently appeared on "The Leafs Nation" with Nick Alberga and Jay Rosehill during Thursday's edition of the Leafs Morning Take show to discuss his heavyweight bout against New York Rangers rookie Matt Rempe.

The tension between Reaves and Rempe finally reached its peak during the third period of the game between the Leafs and Rangers back in March. The long-awaited fight between the two players took place at the 5:59 mark of the third period, with the Leafs holding a 3-2 lead.

The intense moment added a dramatic twist to the game and the ongoing rivalry between the players. On the show, Reaves expressed the hype surrounding the fight, highlighting how the focus shifted from the game itself to the anticipated bout between him and Rempe.

“It was kind of cool to see because of all the talk of ‘fighting is leaving hockey and all this’ but all of a sudden for a week, there was no talk about the game, it was ‘is Reaves going to fight Rempe?’ That’s all it was. It was kind of cool to see all that build-up to it,” Reaves said.
"Now, with all that build-up, we go into the first period and I thought ‘maybe we get this over with’ so I asked him and he said no, so fair enough. So we played the rest of the period… I think it was at the end of the second or beginning of the third where he buried Lyubushkin and hurt him. And then I didn’t have a shift against him for a while, and we had a shift later in that third," he continued.

Following Matt Rempe's hit on Ilya Lyubushkin in the third period, Reaves called out the Blueshirts' 6-foot-7, 241-pound rookie forward to face the consequences of his hit on the teammate.

Ryan Reaves observed that Rempe was looking towards his coach, possibly seeking approval to drop the gloves. Ultimately, Rempe received the go-ahead from the bench, leading to the bout between the two heavyweights.

"I said ‘hey, you buried Boosh, now you have to answer the bell!’ He kind of looked — I’m assuming his coach was telling him not to do it because he had a bunch in a row there. And he kind of looked at the bench and got the OK, and that was that," Reaves added.

Rempe and Reaves went at it, trading a flurry of heavy punches until the referees stepped in, leading to both players getting hit with five-minute penalties for their fight.

Ryan Reaves reflects on opening night fight against Arber Xhekaj

Ryan Reaves joined the Toronto Maple Leafs, signing a three-year, $4.05 deal as a free agent last summer.

During the opening-night showdown between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens, Ryan Reaves dropped the gloves against the Habs' Arber Xhekaj. Both players landed some good jabs, and neither of them was willing to back off.

Ultimately, Xhekaj ended up getting the upper hand over Ryan Reaves by knocking the new Leafs star onto an overturned empty net during their intense fight. On the Leafs Morning Take show, Reaves talked about his opening fight:

“I wasn’t overly happy with that fight, either. He kinda jumped me and then, kind of pushed me into the net. Montreal fans were going crazy but hey, I’ve got two years left on the contract, I’ve got lots of time.”

In his 877 NHL career games, Ryan Reaves has dropped the gloves more than 80 times.

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Edited by Neha
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