Tag:Mike Ribeiro
Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 10:34 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Stars, Wild get comeback wins

By Brian Stubits

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

1. Dallas Stars

Talk about a huge two points. The Stars were down 2-0 to the NHL-best Vancouver Canucks, down 2-1 with less than a minute to play in Dallas. Insert Mike Ribeiro with the tying goal and the Stars had themselves a point. Dallas then picked up the second point on a Loui Eriksson tally in overtime.

They went from picking up nothing to gaining a huge two points. That moved them out of the logjam that is the race for eighth in the Western Conference and into a playoff spot by their lonesome. It also brings Dallas to within three points of the Pacific Division-leading Phoenix Coyotes. And yet this team is still on the fence about buying or selling?

As an extra note, saw this on the Stars broadcast during the game. Going back to 2006, the Canucks were 183-3-12 when leading over two periods. Make that 183-3-13.

[Related: Stars 3, Canucks 2 (OT)]

2. Minnesota Wild

Unlike the eighth seed race in the East where nobody seems to be able to step up and take it, the West is getting carnivorous, in a good way. The Wild, absolutely having to beat the San Jose Sharks to keep any hope of staying in the race alive pulled off their own late comeback.

When Brent Burns slapped home the go-ahead goal with less than 10 minutes left against his old team in his old barn, you had the feeling that it was going to be the dagger. The all-too painful dagger based on the circumstances.

Then Matt Cullen tied it up with his third goal in the last four games. OK, a point is looking good. Unless Jed Ortmeyer tips one in for his first goal in almost two calendar years. Seriously, it was his first goal since March of 2010. Granted, it was only 22 games, but still. Talk about timing.

The task is still tough, especially with every team in the Pacific Division deciding it wants to catch fire right now except for the Sharks, but they remain at that magical five-point mark behind in the race for the playoffs.

[Related: Wild 4, Sharks 3] | McLellan OK after scary incident

3. Robin Lehner, Ottawa Senators

When Craig Anderson went down for an undetermined amount of time, people wondered if the Sens weren't going to fall like a rock. They've been riding Anderson hard all season long.

Well that precipitated the recalling of Lehner from the AHL and he responded well. Particularly on the day that the Sens went out and acquired another goaltender who presumably is going to be getting playing time down the stretch in Ben Bishop.

The Islanders might have scored three in the loss, but don't read too much into it from Lehner's end. He was good enough to make a good impression.

[Related: Senators 5, Islanders 3 | Sens get Bishop from St. Louis]

4. Martin St. Louis

He gets the award as the top performer of the day with his hat trick for the Lightning in their win over the Devils in New Jersey. It was his second trick this season, in fact.

With Florida's win, the Lightning didn't gain any traction in the Southeast race and are still eight points out. But what it tells you is that the Lightning are going to be one aggressive spoiler down the stretch. They have been playing much better of late but it's likely going to prove to be too little too late. That doesn't mean they won't have an impact on the rest of the playoff race.

[Related: Lightning 4, Devils 3]

Losers

1. Southeast Division chasers

The Florida Panthers began the day already tied for first place in the division and they had games in hand on the chasing Jets and Capitals. For the second straight night, the rest of the division was able to get excited to see Florida down 2-0 in the game. And for the second straight night, the Panthers overcame that 2-0 deficit to pull out two points against the Montreal Canadiens.

After being honored pregame for becoming the Panthers franchise's all-time games played record holder, Stephen Weiss took the celebration two steps further, potting two scores as the Panthers dominated after giving up the second goal and won really going away, 4-2.

They became the last division leader to hit 70 points to move two points up on the Jets, three on the Caps. They still have played three fewer than Winnipeg and one less than Washington. This is why those games in hand can be so big, but only if you convert them into points.

[Related: Panthers 4, Canadiens 2]

2. Chicago Blackhawks

For the first time in 40 chances, the Blackhawks finally scored a power-play goal. It came from Patrick Kane, who has struggled himself to score this season, no less. That was pretty much the end of the good news.

The Ducks got the benefit of the doubt when Andrew Cogliano was awarded a goal after a very long review where it appeared he might have kicked the puck in. Did he hit it with his stick? It looked like he could have, but there was no indisputable proof that Cogliano legally played it after or not. Still, Cogliano was given the game-tying goal and Anaheim went on for the win.

The bad news for the Ducks, the teams that were in action that they're chasing each won. That's why it's so hard for them to overcome this deficit. Despite a big win over Chicago, they remained six points out of the playoffs.

Light-hearted moment of the night

We're adding this section tonight just to share this video from the Canucks-Stars game and coach Alain Vigneault cracking up uncontrollably on the bench.

Kevin Bieksa is seen giving a good chuckle too. Apparently it was in response to Vernon Fiddler's awesome Bieksa impression.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:06 pm
 

Ribeiro takes victory lap in return to Montreal

By Brian Stubits

I'll admit here to having been an on-again, off-again fan of wrestling since I was a child. I usually find it to be entertaining and fun to follow. I was always particularly attracted to the heels, the bad guys. The Rock before he was popular, back when he was Rocky Maivia and joining the Nation of Domination? The best.

Now why do I bring this up? Well because if I didn't know better (and I don't) I'd think Mike Ribeiro took some lessons on how to be a perfect heel.

Making his first regular-season return since he was dealt away from his hometown Montreal Canadiens, Ribeiro relished the evening. He scored one of the Stars' three goals on the night, helping Dallas not only stay in the Western Conference race but add to the misery of the Habs fans.

He was later named the No. 1 star of the night and took one heck of a victory lap for the fans still left in the stands.

Montreal Gazette Habs writer Dave Stubbs dubbed the spectacle a Mickey Mouse act.

To say there are some hard feelings would be fair. His exit wasn't the best and he didn't appreciate the way he was treated by the media on his way out of town. He made that pretty obvious with his comments before Tuesday's game.

“Most of the time the job of the media is to research negative and sell it,” he said. “A lot of times, you get better as you grow and learn the game. A lot of times here, you have to win now. Young kids aren’t [always] ready to win now, [management] gets impatient and trades them.”

He was as straight forward with the media about the Canadiens and the decision to trade him for Janne Niinimaa (and a couple of picks swapped too).

“I’m sure they know they made a mistake,” Ribeiro said with a shrug of the Canadiens’ decision to move him. “But who would have said that I’d play this way? My first game back in six years. People have probably forgotten.”

It didn't sound like during Tuesday's game. And it was pretty obvious that Ribeiro hadn't forgotten either.

Personally, I love this stuff. Nothing is more boring to me than players never showing emotion or any semblance of being controversial in any way. So good for Ribeiro I say for taking the moment and having some fun while sarcastically playing to the Montreal crowd.

Everybody loves a bad guy. Ribz just played it perfectly.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 17, 2012 12:19 am
Edited on: February 17, 2012 12:33 am
 

Video: Mike Ribeiro highlight reel dangle, goal

By: Adam Gretz

It was obvious when watching on television that the crowd gathered in Dallas for Thursday's Stars-Flames game was a little sparce, with large sections of empty seats scattered throughout the lower bowl for a game between two teams still fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.

The Stars managed to secure the extra point, and overcome an earlier injury to leading scorer Jamie Benn, with a 3-2 win in overtime thanks to a nifty looking goal from center Mike Ribeiro. After a pretty impressive display of behind-the-back stickhandling in the offensive zone, Ribeiro loaded up and blasted a slap shot past goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff for his 12th goal of the season.

Have a look, and be sure to pay attention to the replay at the 19-second mark for the must-see part of the goal:



Awesome goal, mainly due, again, to the move that preceded it, and a fun moment for the fans in attendance.

Speaking of which, during Riberio's post-game interview that was broadcast over the PA system in the arena, he addressed the fans (or perhaps the lack of fans in the arena) by saying, with a rather serious look on his face, "hopefully you guys can invite your friends so we can have more people here."

Ouch.

The official attendance was listed at 11,389. For the season, the Stars have averaged 13,244 per home game.

More Dallas Stars news

Benn 'day-to-day' after cut to leg
Grossman traded to Flyers
All Dallas Stars coverage

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: January 15, 2012 6:47 pm
Edited on: January 15, 2012 6:51 pm
 

Stars All-Star Benn out after appendectomy

By Brian Stubits

It started off as such a good week for Jamie Benn. The Dallas Stars forward was named an All-Star for the first time in his career, the only member of the Stars elected to go to Ottawa for the game at the end of this month.

Well now he might not make it because his week didn't end as well as it began.

Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reported on Sunday evening that the young star is going to miss 10 days to three weeks after he was sent to the hospital for an appendectomy.

If he is out on the long side of that projection, he'll miss the All-Star Game in Ottawa on Jan. 29. If that's the case, his teammate Loui Eriksson could possibly be called on to replace Benn in the game to represent the Stars.

On a more important level -- you know, where the games matter -- the Stars will be without not only Benn for a little bit but also Mike Ribeiro until after the All-Star Game. Head coach Glen Gulutzan released that information earlier on Sunday.

The Stars have five games until the All-Star break hits including back-to-back games this upcoming week against the Red Wings and Blues.

On the season Benn is the Stars' leading scorer with a total of 42 points in 43 games (13-29=42) and has taken more shots than anybody on the team. His absence won't be easy for Dallas to overcome.

"I'm excited about the challenge,'' Gulutzan said. "I've been dealt worse hands than this before and we came through just fine in those situations. Hopefully we'll be a better team in February for having gone through this.''

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 9, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Stars shining bright behind light of top lines

By Brian Stubits

WASHINGTON -- It's pretty hard to look at the Dallas Stars right now and not be star-struck. After all, they lead the league with 11 wins. No other team has even 10 yet.

You can't help but be impressed with the team's top line.

"I don't know which exact top line," coach Glen Gulutzan said. "I think there are some arguments about who is the No. 1 line at times."

OK, so I guess it's possible you aren't impressed with the top line, but that's only when you can't tell which it is.

"The [Jamie] Benn line there with Ryder on it has just played I think two or three games together after the injury to Steve Ott. Benn and Loui [Eriksson] have had some good chemistry from the get go," Gulutzan said. "Then you've got Ribs [Mike Ribeiro] and [Brendan] Morrow who have had great chemistry as well for years.

"It's good to have some internal competition and that's kind of the battle in that room right there. The young guys vs. the old guard. They're having fun with it. But every night we're getting one of those lines to step up."

Let me be more specific then: I admit openly here to professing my love for the newly formed line of Benn, Eriksson and Michael Ryder. They are each fast. Heck, the whole team is fast. They are very skilled. And they look like they have been playing together for three seasons, not three games.

Just look at the numbers -- they never lie, just sometimes deceive. Since this line came together, Ryder has three goals and four assists. Eriksson has two goals, five assists and a star of the week honor. Not to be outdone, Benn has three goals and five assists. Again, those numbers have been compiled in three games! These three have averaged more than seven points per game combined since they were put together.

They go together like peanut butter, jelly and bread. (Seriously, why is bread never mentioned in this cliché? Do people actually just scoop PB&J in their mouth at the same time?)

"Those two guys have been playing together for a little bit and this is my third game with them and they've been flying," Ryder said after Dallas' impressive 5-2 win over the Capitals on Tuesday, in which he scored twice. "I just jump in there and I'm feeding off them. Guess we’re just going good right now."

Maybe the biggest breakout has been Benn. The 22-year-old is opening eyes everywhere with his play. Combined with Eriksson specifically, they are capable of some beautiful hockey. What has impressed me so much is the unselfishness of the two players. Somehow, they keep finding themselves in 2-on-1 situations and each time they are looking to pass. More often than not it leads to a goal, it seems.

Add Ryder to the mix, and, well let the fun times roll.

"Things are going pretty good right now," Benn said. "Ryder got put on our line right before this road trip and it seems like we're just clicking and we're having fun out there."

Five consecutive wins will help in that department too.

And what of this No. 44 on the blue line? My roster sheet told me that's Sheldon Souray. I could hardly believe it. This is the same guy they were so desperate to get rid of in Edmonton? It is, and he's playing as well as ever. He is averaging nearly a point per game. He seems to have found a home and the Stars are happy to have him.

His four goals are the third most for a defenseman in hockey, trailing only the great Nicklas Lidstrom of Detroit and Florida's Jason Garrison. With his production, the Stars defensemen have picked up the scoring slack they had been leaving behind. Last season it took them until Dec. 29 to score nine goals, a total they have already reached.

For the most part, it's a somewhat no-name group. But it has been solid. As is the case with most every goalie, the defensemen deserve some of the credit for Kari Lehtonen's start.

Lehtonen remains probably the biggest reason why people are still hesitating to jump on the bandwagon. He is coming off a career year and has battled injuries throughout his still young career. He is just 27.

"He keeps us in every game and gives us confidence," Benn said.

Really, GM Joe Nieuwendyk has pieced together a quality team. And the good news? Once the ownership situation gets straightened out and Tom Gagliardi starts paying the bills, there could definitely be a green light to add some salary onto the league's lowest payroll in the form of trades or just finding some quality fits for his team the way he did with Souray and Eric Nystrom.

Nystrom was waived by the Minnesota Wild before the season and eventually made his way to Dallas. In 82 games last season he had four goals. In 14 games this season, he has four goals. Including one spectacularly awesome one on Tuesday night.

Heck, he's even a humanitarian by day. Nystrom took the time to try and make the day for a pair of presumably homeless gentlemen before the game.

"We always have so much food," Nystrom said. "I asked for a to-go box and I took it across the street to the park and gave it to two homeless guys. Gave them the best meal they've had in a long time."

And wouldn't you know it, this might be the best team they've had in Dallas in a long time. Well OK, it hasn't been that long, but you get the point.

"We're trying to gauge ourselves against the league," Gulutzan said. "Coming into Washington and then heading to Pittsburgh and Detroit, we thought this would be a real good measuring stick."

So far, so good. Especially if the Stars keep that, err, those top lines together.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 18, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 10:57 am
 

Early season surprises: Avalanche take the cake

By Brian Stubits

The Colorado Avalanche have shown a little pattern in recet years, so maybe we should have seen this start coming.

Three seasons ago they came off a conference semifinal loss by finishing with 69 points, bad enough to get the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, which they used to select Matt Duchene (good call). The following season they were in the playoffs behind Craig Anderson in goal. That was followed by another miserable season to give the Avs the No. 2 pick, which is where they grabbed Gabriel Landeskog.

It is still incredibly early, but if there were a surprise from the first two weeks of the season, it is without a doubt the Avalanche. Colorado lost its home opener before embarking on a five-game road trip to the East, including the Eastern Canada swing, and lo and behold, the Avs took all 10 available points. It was the first time in franchise history they won five consecutive road games. Not bad for a team with only three players over the age of 30 -- Jean Sebastien-Giguere, Milan Hejduk and Jan Hejda.

"Now what we have to do is take this kind of game we played on the road -- keeping it simple, doing little things -- and translating it to our home ice," Giguere said Monday night after beating his former Maple Leafs team. "This was obviously a great trip for us. It should give us confidence going forward."

Obviously winning at this rate won't last. That goes without saying. Considering their youth and inexperience, they are more susceptible than most to higher highs and lower lows. But the prospects of not finishing near or at the bottom of the Western Conference like many foresaw? Those seem pretty good right now.

A good chunk of the team's success has come from the goaltending duo of Giguere and Semyon Varlamov. Desperate to get a goaltender to take the reins this offseason, the Avs signed the veteran Giguere, but it was their move for Varlamov that took the attention.

Colorado was the heavy favorite to court and then sign free agent Tomas Vokoun. It seemed to be a perfect match. But a funny thing happened; the Avs didn't seem to want to go down that road. Instead, they spoke with the Capitals -- Vokoun's eventual landing spot, oddly enough -- and worked out a trade to acquire Varlamov, who said he was done playing in Washington. The price of a first-round pick in return seemed like a quality deal for the Capitals. After all, Colorado was the second worst team in the league a season ago. Talk to people around Washington and they are all aware of how talented Varlamov is. That was never the issue. If he can stay healthy -- now we have our issue -- it could be a coup for the Avalanche

However they are more than the goaltending, obviously. What really jumped out of the screen watching them play the Leafs on Monday -- and again, this was the fifth of five games on the road in another time zone, so the excuses to be sluggish where there -- was their speed and energy. I guess you can call that youthful exuberance. Whatever words you use to describe it, I call it impressive.

A lot of people might have been sleeping on the Avs before this season began, but Joe Sacco's crew has opened some eyes in a hurry.

Surprises

Toronto Maple Leafs: Despite losing to the Avalanche in overtime on Monday -- their first missed point of the season -- Toronto is out of the gate strong. Now this isn't something entirely new this time of year. Remember the Maple Leafs started 4-0-0 last season, then they won only one of the next 12 games.

One difference this time around, however, is James Reimer -- or his Twitter world nickname Optimus Reim, if you prefer. The young goalie is giving fans hope that they have finally solved the riddle in the cage. That and the so-far spectacular play of Phil Kessel and Dion Phaneuf gives you reason to believe the Maple Leafs just could end their six-year playoff drought this season.

Tampa Bay Lightning: They are surprising, but not in a good way. The Eastern Conference runnerups from a season ago have looked, well, awful. They have picked up only four points from their first six games and given up four goals or more four different times already. Dwayne Roloson looks his age, which is now 42.

"Obviously, we're not happy," Steven Stamkos said Monday. "I wouldn't say we're in a panic mode, but we're worried. This isn't the start we wanted. We're taking way too many penalties."

They better figure it out soon because with some improved teams in the East this year, they don't want to fall too far behind.

Dallas Stars: So Brad Richards is winless with his new team while his old team, the Stars, are 4-1? That qualifies as a surprise to many.

Everybody wondered how Dallas would replace the loss of Richards. Signing Michael Ryder in the offseason didn't seem to be a void-filler. Maybe all they needed was another year for Jamie Benn, Mike Ribeiro, Brendan Morrow, Steve Ott and Loui Eriksson together. Oh, and a healthy Kari Lehtonen. Dallas is 4-0 when Lehtonen starts this season.

Then there is Sheldon Souray, who Edmonton couldn't get out of town fast enough. Dallas took a shot on the bought-out Oilers defenseman and so far it's looking like a good gamble. He has a goal and three assists as well as a plus-4 rating while averaging more than 20 minutes on ice per game.

Florida Panthers power play: Is this real life or is this just fantasy?

The Panthers had 35 power-play goals in 82 games last season. Let that sink in for a minute. As you would probably guess, that was the lowest in the NHL. Maybe it's the addition of Kevin Dineen and assistant Craig Ramsey, maybe it's the influx of new forwards, or, perhaps most likely, it's the arrival of Brian Campbell to run the show. Whatever the result, the Panthers have scored on eight of their 25 power-play attempts this season, including five in one game against the Lightning on Monday.

Heck, they even have a short-handed goal already, making them an even squad on the penalty kill.

No suspensions for hits: With how busy Brendan Shanahan was during the preseason, I was getting ready to request Shanny TV 24/7. It was like Hannukah, waking up every day for eight straight days to see the newest gift, or in this case video. But since the first puck was dropped in Toronto, the only suspension handed down was for the Wild's Marc-Pierre Bouchard and his high stick on the Blue Jackets' Matt Calvert.

But a funny thing happened when the season began, the suspensions stopped coming. That's because the head hits have stopped coming, which is exactly what everybody hoped to see in the first place, even the anti-Shanny crowd. I view it like Republicans and Democrats; everybody wants to get to the same prosperous place, they just don't agree on how to get there. This is the same. I have yet to hear one person say they want head shots to remain in hockey, just that they feel like Shanahan was going too far, or as Don Cherry and Mike Milbury put it, setting the bar too high.

The preseason over/under on the number of suspensions laid down by Shanahan was 40.5. That under is starting to look awfully tasty now.

But this could change later Tuesday after Kris Letang of the Penguins has his meeting with Shanahan.

Not surprising but still noteworthy

The Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings both remain perfect. But we wouldn't expect anything else from those two franchises these days. To the other hot starters like the Flyers and Ducks, consider it a compliment that your team isn't on here. They have rosters people thought were capable of doing just this.

Photos: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: April 9, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: April 9, 2011 2:22 am
 

Dallas Stars' keep (slim) playoff hopes going



Dallas Stars forward Mike Ribeiro's attempts to make it back to the bench as regulation ticked down spoke enough about the importance of Friday night's game. 

Ribeiro dropped to both knees with 19 seconds left to block a slap shot from the Colorado Avalanche forward Mark Olver. The shot caught him above the knee and after a couple attempts to make it to the bench, he lay face down on the ice as time expired in the Stars' 3-2 victory. 

It was a win the Stars needed to stay alive in their hunt for the playoffs -- and they had to do it in regulation or overtime since the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-2, earlier in the evening. That means the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference won't be settled until Sunday, the last day of the regular season.

“We have one game left,”  Ribeiro told reporters after the game. “We have to take care of what can control. We can't control what happens to the other games. . . . It's a good thing that we won. We keep the dream alive and keep believing we can still get in there.”

The Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks also won Friday to clinch playoff spots, leaving the path through the 'Hawks as the only one that will lead to the playoffs for the Stars. 

The Blackhawks still can lock down eighth seed and avoid becoming the second reigning Stanley Cup champ over the last 72 years to miss the playoffs by getting at least a point against the Detroit Red Wings. (The game will be on NBC at 12:30 p.m. ET) If the Blackhawks lose in regulation, the Stars then could get that last seed with a victory in regulation or overtime. Both would finish with the same amount of points (97) and they would also be equal in the first tiebreaker, regulation and overtime wins (38). The Stars, however, hold the second tiebreaker, a better head-to-head record. 

Ribeiro gave some flack to Steve Ott, who lost that last faceoff, but it doesn't sound like he could be kept out of Sunday's game. 

“For sure it's not a muscle because I don't have much of those,” smirked Ribeiro, who had a goal and an assist in the game. “I'm sure it going to be a bruise. For the last game, I'll play that one. If I can walk, I can skate.”

-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Associated Press
Posted on: March 2, 2011 3:22 am
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