November 19, 2010

The McRib and Mikey Ribs: One Disappears for Long Stretches at a Time, the Other is a Sandwich

"Yeah, I'm a bad-ass. A bad-ass in prison, but still a bad-ass."
Dallas Star Mike Ribeiro has come a long way since his days of being a slimy, immature, and egotistical hockey player that walked around with a sense of entitlement all proud-like, like it was a man-purse back in the 1980s. Sure, it's been just one month - when he got arrested for public intoxication - but people can change!

Proof of that fact came on Thursday night, when Ribeiro shed his early-season skin of being unable to score, potting not only the game-tying goal against the San Jose Sharks last night (the Stars' second goal in 29 seconds), but also the game-winning goal in overtime. He now is on pace for just nine this year (and 76 points overall, with his 14 assists thus far), which would be his lowest goal total since 2002-2003 when he had just five as the immature, physically undevelopped skeletal shell of the player he has become today: a still immature, slightly larger but still skinny-as-hell shell of a player in general.

The Dallas Stars have clearly won the trade that brought him to Texas four years ago. As a Star, he has 289 points in 322 games, including one really awesome year in which he averaged more than a point per game (2007-2008, 83 points in 76 games). In contrast, I'm sure defenseman Janne Niinimaa had at least one really awesome game with the Montreal Canadiens during those 41 games he played for them. I mean those three assists of his could easily have come all in one game, right? Right???

Still, Ribeiro's coming out as a legitimate top-six forward (he had a few decents seasons in Montreal, but none that came close to matching the success he's enjoyed in Dallas) is slightly irrelevant from the Habs' standpoint. If they could have kept the point producer, even taking his inconsistency as part of the package but leaving out all the drama, they would have, but reports were that he was a distraction in the lockerroom and he didn't have the sense of the class needed to deal with the team's more distinguished alumni and ambassadors. As such, he needed to go. 

I'm sure in retrospect, Bob Gainey would have liked to get more for him than a glorified pylon in the defensive zone with a fancy-sounding name, but that's in the past, as is his position as general manager of the Habs. Here's hoping Ribeiro takes a page out of his book, is able to keep the past in the past, and has finally grown up after all this time... since mid-October.

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