Ryan Reaves once called himself the solution to your Tom Wilson problem. Now he’s trying to make a narrow distinction about why the New York Rangers acquired him, which has more to do with his general toughness than individually dealing with Wilson a few times a year (if he isn’t a healthy scratch or suspended during those games).
“I’m not here because of Tom Wilson,” Reaves said on Friday according to the New York Post’s Mollie Walker. “I’m here because of what players like Tom Wilson brings to his team.”
“When something happens on the ice, I’m always gonna stick up for a teammate,” Reaves elaborated. “When we got to get loud on the bench or get loud on the ice, I’m going to be the first guy to chirp somebody and give them a facewash or whatever it has to be to get the boys going.”
He added he wants to help the Rangers getting “the puck in deep, making D scared to go back get it.”
A line brawl between the Capitals and Rangers on May 3, the video of which is now age restricted on YouTube, led to the mass firing of the Rangers’ coaching staff and management at the end of the year. New general manager Chris Drury revamped the team, specifically adding three players who had notable toughness: Barclay Goodrow, Jarred Tinordi, and Reaves.
Asked what he envisions for his #NYR role, Reaves joked that he's not going to score 50 goals, "though I had one today."
“I think when [I play my game], day in and day out, every single shift, eventually it starts to trickle to other lines…
— Mollie Walker (@MollieeWalkerr) September 24, 2021
Annnnd we're back.
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) September 24, 2021
Over the summer, Wilson’s name trended on Hockey Twitter several times as fans discussed if NYR’s acquisitions were made because of him and his role in the line brawl, which saw the Capitals forward punch Pavel Buchnevich from behind and throw Artemi Panarin off his back. The next game, the Capitals and Rangers had a line brawl to start the game and finished the first period with 100 penalty minutes total.
Wilson commented on the Rangers’ moves during Capitals Media day, voicing his belief, like Reaves, that the franchise’s changes were more about general toughness than him specifically.
“I think there’s something with that team that had nothing to do with me and it might have been a perfect storm where it all came to a tee at the right moment,” Wilson said. “It was probably boiling over to begin with. And people like to jump on the party whatever people are saying. I think it’s good. They obviously wanted to play tougher. They wanted to bring in some grit.
“In the first place, there shouldn’t be a guy like Panarin jumping on my back, you know?” he added. “That whole situation, I won’t speak to it too much, but he shouldn’t feel like he should have ever had to do that.”
Before landing on the Rangers, Reaves revealed how he’d handle the same situation in a podcast with John Scott. He’d be “fighting (Wilson) three times that game” if Tom wasn’t kicked out by officials. Reaves and Wilson have a long history of trash talking and fighting.
The two teams won’t have to wait long to settle any scores. The Capitals and Rangers play each other on Opening Night.
“There’s a big spotlight on that game,” Wilson said. “That’s what makes sports great. The rivalries. The emotion. The passion.”
Can’t make this stuff up. pic.twitter.com/qpHmShbrRX
— Suspended Again (@BuraGONEsky65) September 24, 2021
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