Thursday, February 23, 2012
Ribeiro rubs it in
Mike Ribeiro's unapologetic display of self-satisfaction two nights ago at the Bell Center left a bad taste in a lot of mouths, but it was the taste of sour grapes.
As a Montreal native and a Canadiens castoff, Ribeiro had every reason to feel vindicated after leading the Dallas Stars past the listless Canadiens 3-0. Sure, he missed the exit to the high road, but Ribeiro's semi-sarcastic bow to the crowd after being named first star was a long time coming. It was his first regular season game at the Bell Center since being traded by the Canadiens in 2006, and there wasn't a honest Habs fan in the house Tuesday who wouldn't undo the deal that sent Ribeiro to Dallas for the eminently forgettable Janne Niinimaa, who at last report was leading the European Elite League in vowels.
There's no question that Ribeiro's work ethic was suspect and his priorities skewed when he played for the Canadiens, but he's far from being the first hockey player to literally jump on what Montreal has to offer before settling into his role as a hockey professional. With experience and maturity, he's gone on to become the consistently savvy playmaker and steady producer that the Canadiens thought they drafted in 1998, which is why anyone whose sentiments lie with the Habs has a lot more to worry about than whether Ribeiro's first star circus act was out of order. The more relevant concern is that he's yet another poster boy for the perils of giving up on a young player too soon.