On the one hand, you want to give Mike Ribeiro of the Washington Capitals some leeway when it comes to complaining about high sticks to the face.
On the other hand … complaining to the media that referees are stubborn elitists who ignore players’ concerns probably isn’t going to get him a high-sticking call in the future. Or many other calls.
Ribeiro was clipped twice in the face by Olli Jokinen’s stick during faceoffs of the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, in the Capitals’ 4-2 loss. One of the incidents left Ribeiro bleeding and angrily discussing the incident with the on-ice official, while Evander Kane of the Jets urged play to begin.
“I thought I got high-sticked close to my throat again,” said Ribeiro, who asked the referee for an explanation to no avail.
After the game, he vented to the press. Here’s a bit via Steve Whyno of the Washington Times, who also posted an audio file of Ribeiro’s postgame comments:
"You're not allowed to talk to them. It's like the first one, I get high-sticked on the draw and there's no rule saying that you're not allowed to be lower than three feet. There's no rule saying you're not allowed to be low. So I get high-sticked and I go see him between the whistles, I'm like, 'What's your take on the high stick on the draw? The puck's not even dropped.'
“He's like, 'Well, I don't want to talk to you.' So I'm trying to figure out [the non-call]. I kind of stopped, I looked around, like, 'No one called it?' I was like, 'OK, are you just allowed high-stick people before the puck's dropped?' So I went to ask him. He didn't answer me and that just got me frustrated a bit to not have an answer. Just tell me. I don't know, I guess he didn't know what to do.
"So the second time I got high-sticked close to my throat again, I looked around and he's staring at me. I'm like, 'Why are you not calling this one?' Well, I guess he wasn't happy about that. I guess I said stuff that my kids won't like too much, but I just feel like you're not allowed to talk to them anymore about situations that happens in a game. I believe they're, like, above us or like more power, they feel power, I don't know. I think I need to just stay focused on my game and let them ref the way they want to ref.”
Ribeiro’s frustrations boiled over at the end of the game, when the referees gave him a unsportsmanlike conduct minor and a game misconduct at 18:44 – right after he assisted on Troy Brouwer’s power-play goal.