In 2006, the Montreal Canadiens traded center Mike Ribeiro to the Dallas Stars. On Tuesday night, he returned to Bell Centre for the first time in the regular season to face his boyhood idols.
At the time of the trade, he was a media whipping boy and had fans characterizing him as having a "poor performance and even worse attitude and work ethic." Five and a half years did little to take the edge off for Ribeiro, who was blunt with the media before the Stars/Canadiens game on Tuesday. Via Dallas Stars Blog:
Asked if he wanted to prove to the Candiens that they made a mistake when they traded him for defenseman Janne Niinimaa and a fifth round draft pick, Ribeiro replied somewhat matter-of-factly, "I'm sure they know they made a mistake."
Ribeiro took the opportunity to remind them. He scored a goal to give the Stars a two-goal lead in the third period, en route to a 3-0 Dallas victory. And he celebrated like this:
Upon being named the first star of the game, Ribeiro's enthusiasm — with the strong odor of sarcasm — was really on display.
Keep in mind that Montreal fans are the ones who vote on the three stars.
After the Stars' win, Ribeiro explained his choreography to ESPN Dallas:
"I don't celebrate like that usually. I was just excited. It took me a while to celebrate, to find out what to do. I just wanted to put my arms up. It was big goal for us and a big play by Trevor (Daley). Overall, it was a big game for us. We threw pucks at the net, kept the game simple, our PK did a great job and obviously our goaltender has to be there every night to give you chance to win."
Dave Stubbs of The Gazette called it a "Mickey Mouse act."
Of course, Ribeiro had his own opinion of the media earlier in the day, via Dallas Stars Blog:
"Media is media, and you have to do your job," he said. "I guess the only thing I would say is that maybe you could be more patient with the young guys, because a lot of time you get better as you grow. Montreal is `win now,' and a lot of times kids are not ready to win now. So then you get impatient and trade them, and sometimes they come back in my situation where maybe they were traded too quick."
Asked if he thought that his could be the trade the Canadiens regret most, he laughed and replied: "No, I think the Patrick Roy trade was much bigger and probably hurt them more."
Troll hard, Mr. Ribeiro.
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