It’s an interesting study, this Mike Ribeiro.
Let’s first start in the here and now, and work our way backwards.
In game two against Detroit, Ribeiro, the Dallas Stars offensive threat, while skating past the Wings’ net, received a butt-end from Detroit goalie Chris Osgood. Ribeiro then turned around and gave Osgood a two-hander across the chest of Osgood. It was, for lack of better words, selfish and stupid on Ribeiro’s part.
Now let’s back up a little. Ribeiro was an underacheiving forward for the Montreal Canadiens, and was sent packing to the Dallas Stars for defenceman Janne Niiniman and 5th round draft pick, and he blossomed into a big point-getter and an important piece of the puzzle in Dallas.
Habs critics had a field day with this. Gainey was an idiot, they cried. How could he make such a bad decision to practically give Ribeiro away and now the guy’s a star in Dallas? What a mistake Gainey had made, they decided.
But Gainey traded him for a reason. There was talk that he was a person who helped separate the dressing room into cliques. He was a yapper on the ice who never backed up his tough talk.
And the instance that showed me he was no Montreal Canadien came when they did a close up of him one night in a game against Pittsburgh, and the the Habs were losing by a goal late in the game. And was Ribeiro all business and focused on the task of tying the game up? No. Instead, he skated over to Sidney Crosby and asked him if he could have one of his sticks.
To me, this is no Montreal Canadien. The Rocket and Doug Harvey would be rolling over in their graves about this Crosby stick thing. Jean Beliveau, I’m sure, never asked Gordie Howe for his stick in a closely-fought battle. Toe Blake would’ve benched him for a month if he did.
I was glad when Ribeiro was traded. And I could care less how many goals he went on to score with Dallas. He was never going to be a Montreal Canadien, plain and simple.