Around the NHL: Matt Rempe suspended for hit, an ownership group wants to bring hockey back to Atlanta, and more!

Ryley Delaney
4 months ago
The trade deadline may have passed, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a bunch of news from around the league.
That begs the question, what’s going on around the NHL? It’s possible that the league could expand once again, Matt Rempe is in the news, and there could be a new overtime strategy.
Let’s dig into the latest edition of Around the NHL.

Could the NHL return to Atlanta?

In a report from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, it appears that an ownership group called Alpharetta Sports & Entertainment Group (ASE Group for short) is looking to bring an NHL expansion team to Atlanta… again.
The group, which is spearheaded by former NHLer Anson Carter, believes hockey can thrive in Atlanta and the group is looking to build a new stadium at the North Point Mall, in Alpharetta, Georgia. The city is a suburb of Atlanta and is 42 kilometers north of downtown Atlanta and had a population of 65,818 according to the 2020 US Census.
Now, there’s obvious pitfalls to expanding to Atlanta. First and foremost, the city has had two teams in prior years.The Flames franchise actually played in Atlanta from 1972 to 1980 before relocating to Alberta, a great move in reality. In June 1997, the city was awarded another team, the Atlanta Thrashers, who played in Georgia from 1999 to 2011, before relocating to another Canadian city to reform the Winnipeg Jets.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Thrashers played in downtown Atlanta at the Phillips Arena (now the State Farm Arena), but failed to have any on ice success with attendance issues. The team faced a lot of ownership issues, so maybe a new ownership group spearheaded by a hockey player could help them stay put.
Atlanta’s metropolitan area has a population of 6,237,435 according to the latest estimates, and is the second biggest metro area without an NHL team (Houston being first). There’s positives to another franchise in Atlanta, but a team out in the suburbs seems less than ideal.
There are other cities rumoured to be interested in getting an NHL team, such as Salt Lake City, Houston, and even San Diego. It’d be great if the NHL brought back the Québec Nordiques, though.

Matt Rempe to have a phone call

Moving on to on-ice hockey news, New York Rangers’ Matt Rempe is in the news once again as he’s been suspended for four games.
The 21-year-old Calgary-native was given a match penalty after an elbow to the head of New Jersey’s Jonas Siegenthaler. What makes this worse is that the rookie declined an invitation to fight Kurtis MacDermid. Why did the veteran want to fight the rookie? Well, the last time the Rangers and Devils met, Rempe was given a match penalty for a hit on Nathan Bastian.
Whether it’s liked or not, there’s a code in hockey: if you injure a player with a dirty hit, the right thing to do is fight the next time the two teams meet. This (hopefully) stops any further incidents during the season series, but obviously Rempe didn’t fight MacDermid, leading to another suspension for Rempe.
It’s not like Rempe isn’t afraid to drop the mitts either. Before the puck even dropped during his first NHL shift, he took on New York Islanders’ Matt Martin. Afterwards, he fought tough guys Nick Deslauriers, Mathieu Olivier, and even Ryan Reaves.
The kid is earning a reputation, but it’s not a good one.

Wild pull goalie in overtime

A few days ago, the Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators were in overtime. With about a minute and a half left in the overtime period, the Wild pulled their netminder. It was a very bold call, but it worked out for the Wild, as a Matt Boldy goal shortly after helped the Wild pick up the win.
With how 3 on 3 overtime is played nowadays, this play call has some merit, as teams are looking to maintain puck possession throughout the five minute period. If a team doesn’t like what they see, they can bring the puck into the neutral zone and reset. This strategy wears out the other teams as they have to do a lot of chasing.
It sucks for fans that 3 on 3 overtime has gone from one of the most exciting periods in hockey to one of the most frustrating with this strategy, but it makes total sense for the teams to do. Will more teams pull their netminder at the end of the period when they have puck possession? Probably not, as the risks certainly outweigh the potential rewards. However, it may happen again as it worked with the element of surprise.
Thanks for reading, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.
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