‘WWE on ice’: US loses it as eight NHL players ejected after two seconds over all-in brawl ‘madness’ between New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils

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Comedian Rodney Dangerfield had the joke: “I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out”.

Well, the joke came to life on Thursday (Australian time) when bitter rivals the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils faced off at Madison Square Garden.

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As the puck was dropped to start the game, the gloves came off with all 10 of the starting skaters breaking out into a fight.

New York’s Jimmy Vesey and New Jersey’s Curtis Lazar dropped the gloves first but were quickly followed by the rest of the players.

The main event was between Matt Rempe and Kurtis MacDermid with their fight going the longest.

The pair had some history as the Rempe refused to fight MacDermid early in the game but later knocked out Devil’s defenceman Jonas Siegenthaler with a high elbow, an incident that ultimately cost him a four-game suspension.

Post-match, MacDermid praised his opponent, saying: “It was great to see the team responding that way and having each other’s backs out there.

“l have a lot of respect for him (Rempe). He’s a young kid trying to do his thing. I understand that.”

MacDermid added that it hadn’t been planned before hand.

“I had no idea that was going to happen. It was a spur of the moment thing,” MacDermid said.

But Devils coach Travis Green, who exchanged words with Rangers coach Peter Laviolette, said there was no surprise the match opened like it did.

“There was a lot going on. Five fights to start the game. I don’t think anyone expected that,″ Green said.

“I have no idea why Peter was upset. Their players were lining up fights before the game. We all know why it happened tonight. Something happened the game before.”

Laviolette said it was “emotion more than anything” that saw his outburst.

Fighting is allowed in the NHL and has a history as long as the sport itself but while Lazar and Vesey were allowed to return to the game after serving a five-minute penalty each, the rest of the players were handed game misconduct penalties.

It meant the Rangers’ Rempe, Jacob Trouba, Barclay Goodrow and K’Andre Miller and

Devils’ MacDermid, Chris Tierney, Kevin Bahl and John Marino’s matches ended after just two seconds after being deemed to have been secondary altercations.

Fans were stunned by what they saw.

Popular YouTuber Jomboy tweeted the fight was “madness”.

ESPN senior NHL reporter Greg Wyshynski commented: “But have you considered that the Devils won the line brawl? That’s the most important thing obviously.”

NHL reporter Anna Dua wrote: “The beginning of this Rangers Devils game was the most insane start to an NHL game I have ever witnessed.”

A Devils fan posted: “Are people still pretending devils rangers isn’t the best rivalry in hockey or”.

Another suggested: “The rivalry is so back”.

Another quipped it was “actually WWE on ice”.

The Rangers would win the contest 4-3 at Madison Square Garden, rallying thanks to unanswered third-period goals by Kaapo Kakko and Chris Kreider but it was almost an afterthought to the wild opening.

With AFP